If we can’t learn to work together on the things about which we are able to reach some agreement, we are fucked. That does seem more and more to be the case.
Despite that, I believe in compassion and doing what can be done to alleviate suffering, right here, right now. That’s why negative, non-constructive bullshit annoys me so much. It’s exactly the frame of mind that is going to destroy the human race. Don’t try, whine. It’s hopeless, don’t bother. That’s useless, don’t spend the money on it. They don’t deserve it, I do. I got mine, to hell with you. Roll over and play dead.
Oh, but look at those idiots! Look how fucked up they are! Boy, I’m glad I’m not like that. Let’s make fun of them (and maybe we’ll feel OK for a few minutes).
Apart from its inherent unattractiveness, the problem with that way of thinking is that it carries over to the issues we’re discussing. It breeds intolerance, and inability to see the good in people with whom we disagree. The habit of feeling superior can’t be turned on and off. It has to be unlearned. It can’t be unlearned without avoiding the kind of thinking that naturally leads to more of it.
That’s why I don’t look at sites like Walmart People, or tell or pass on ethnic jokes. Not because I worry that anyone will think I intend to be small-minded and mean, but because it is small-minded and mean, whether we want to think so or not. I spent roughly half a century thinking that way, then I realized that I didn’t like that person, so I’m trying to change. I try not to judge or make fun of individuals, I have too many issues of my own. As a society, however, we need a serious mental and emotional makeover.
It’s disheartening, and profoundly disappointing. But it’s no reason to stop trying.