|I have two competing beliefs that cropped up in my mind, yesterday, and kept me awake late into the night.|
In the first, I feel that I've come to an impasse between my life goal of being the kind of good person who would be befriended by all due to my qualities and character, and the honest realization that I don't like everyone. Heck, I don't even think that I want to like everyone, especially when that individual possesses political, religious, or social beliefs that violate my fundamental quest for happiness.
I also believe that people don't always have to accept all people and overtures of friendship if their associations would violate my very right to exist in a free and happy life.
On another front, I worry about Free Will and exactly how I would violate it in those who disagree with me, if I had the power to do so. It would be seen as corruption -even by myself- and that concerns me.
Am I that much of a hypocrite that I -with one hand- hold up the highest values of Free Will while-in my darker moments, hold up with the other- the violation of that ability in order to promote my own beliefs?
There are two questions contained herein, for later reflection. These both relate to the personal level of my life and make me wonder about how well I'm living it.
These aren't "talking points" for massive pity, accusation, or acrimony, but they are intended to spawn discussion and debate ... mostly within my own mind.
I have made it a guiding objective of mine to befriend everyone in the Cosmos. It's pretty simple, really: I want to be the sort of person who has earned everyone's respect and friendship.
Do I know this is an impossible goal?
But the reason for my pursuit of it is not due to attainability, but -rather- that it both reflects my belief that there is too little time in this world to go about creating enemies or taking slights that can, unchecked, lead to acrimony, as well as being a goal that will encourage me to be a better person as I use it as my life's guidepost. On that latter point, if I steer my vessel towards being the sort of person that would earn everyone's respect and friendship, then I am shaping myself into being a better person.
However, recently I've run into a potential conflict with this goal.
As seen over in bradhicks' excellent LiveJournal, there has been a tangential discussion of friendship being capsized in a sea of political differences. I forget who asked, but that's hardly the point. The key to this discussion, and its side-effect of raising issues of friendship over political affiliation, is that the question was raised -almost defensively- "Why let political differences destroy a friendship?"
My immediate answer was that it is only a naive and hopelessly puppy-like individual who would yearn for friendship over the realities of profound, political differences. If a person belongs to a specific political body or movement, then the actions, beliefs, and rules of that group become willingly adopted by that individual through association.
Now, this is not always true, as we see with the Log Cabin Republicans, but it is largely a mechanism by which human beings have functioned since time immemorial.
We judge a person by their associations, and -to a certain extent- rightly so.
I do not, for example, wish to associate with a person who feels my love and relationships -past and present- are not worthy of the same status as their own. A person who feels that gay and lesbian people should not be allowed to marry is not a person I want to associate with in any way, shape, or form.
Similarly, I have often said that my mother is not the sort of person whom I would befriend after just meeting her. We travel in different social circles, have different interests, and argue about fine points of personal philosophy far more often than is healthy.
But here we run into the problem: my goal of reaching out and earning the friendship of the Universe is predicated upon a basic principle. However unrealistic the outcome, the fundamental basis of the philosophy is grounded in the desire to befriend everybody.
This includes those who would, otherwise, hate me or relegate me to a lesser status of human being.
So where does this leave me, Journal?
How does this contradiction in fundamental observation of human nature (my own, included) get resolved with my ideals and life philosophy?
There has been much said about the nature of fanboy relationships and the desire to live in a magical fantasy land of rainbows, unicorns, and that corner comic book shop that you and your friends own, which never closes and serves as the basis for your life until the end of time. I don't deny many of the criticisms of the ephemeral and childish nature of these Peter Pan fantasies, although I feel they tend to grow from a jaded cynicism that feels "because I can no longer shape my life around an ideal, maybe I should criticize those whose spirits haven't been beaten down, yet."
Heck, in the past, those who have looked only at the superficial statement of befriending everyone have accused me of exactly that level of superficiality.
While it's patently false, I do admit to a longing to resolve the conflicts between my friends and encourage more acceptance and mutual respect in all extended relationships ... even on the level of mere "acquaintances."
But how do I resolve that with those who disagree so bitterly with me, over issues so fundamental to my life and goals, that every conversation I have with that person becomes a heated debate or argument? I truly do not care about the opinion of those who hold beliefs so violently contrary to my own that they fly in the face of everything I do on a daily basis.
So, Journal, where is the reconciliation? Where is the solution that I can point to? How do I befriend a rabid, stereotypically gun-loving, marriage equality denying, death-penalty advocating, pro-life person? How do I resolve these differences when there can be no middle ground?
And how do I fold that in to my larger ideal that I want to make myself a better person by being the sort of man that anyone -that everyone- would want to respect and befriend?
That constitutes the first question.
It's a deep one, no doubt, and I don't know if it's solvable in long or short-term stages. It may be one of those contradictions that I just have to live with.
Only time will tell...
After work, yesterday, I wanted to hang out with foeclan and allow him to relax a bit and vent about the issues he's been facing at work. I was, by the end of the day, feeling a bit out of sorts, myself, having had to get used to a new environment and relationship with bosses who -up until now- had remained on a "case-by-case" basis.
It's not bad, really; it's fairly normal that emotions can be a bit jangled during acclimation to a new job.
But as I said to foeclan on our way to get KFC and watch the first two episodes of "LOST," "Y'know, at times I'm just glad that I don't have God-like, infinite power."
Why did I say this?
I know the temptation, Journal. I know the temptation to simply -if I had the ability- wave my hand and "make it all right."
- I'm writing a letter to my family
- I've had disagreements about my approach to the Death Penalty
- I value free will, but am tempted to violate it when my most closely held, cherished ideals are threatened.
But such would be the action of Dr. Doom or any, comic book super-villain intent upon world domination.
Remember, I do believe that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely" but with the caveat that "corruption" is in the eye of the beholder and is often applied to anyone who has even a moderately greater degree of influencer, power, or ability than the observer. Therefore, all of us are corrupt, depending on who is doing the judging, and all of us are absolutely corrupt, depending on the range of absolutism from the viewer's personal beliefs.
But there is a range of corruption that seems enveloped by most philosophies. My own darker desires seem to -frighteningly- run right in the middle of that range.
Free will is a sacrosanct prospect that no one should toy with. Anyone who would try, via propaganda, coercion, or outright, science fiction "Mind Control" is a bad guy.
Additionally, death seems pretty bad, too, in the light of most world belief systems.
Sadly, I've realized -when I'm in my darkest moods- I would either kill those who oppose me so greatly or mentally muck with their minds to produce a better result.
All tremble before Dave: the Super-Villain!
Ok, it's a bit of an exaggeration. It's only when I'm very tired or in a really rare, exceptionally bad mood that I descend to such Lex Luther fantasies, but the fact that they're present in my psyche at all, that I entertain them for even a few hours on rare occasions, is cause for alarm.
What brought this up to my thinking was, initially, my proto-letter that I'm composing to family members (most of whom are Republican) asking them not to vote for George W. Bush this November. I admit it: this election has me very worried and I'm offended -rightly so- that the current man occupying the White House has (unsuccessfully) encouraged military leaders to no longer provide recognition or support to Wiccan troops, has said -on the record- that he does not believe Wicca is a "real religion," and that -most recently- has embarked on a preemptive campaign of divisiveness to deprive Queer people of the right to marry like any other citizen.
This is important to me on many levels and the Human Rights Campaign is correct: we GLBT folk need to let our family members, neighbors, and coworkers understand our political needs. We need to step over that line of "unspeakable" topics and address the dreaded subject known as "politics."
I do need to let them know, because waving signs and chanting doesn't really help.
The best way to really make a change is to let your family see your needs, hear about your concerns, and feel your pain. If these people can see the larger GLBT community as having a human face, it will become harder to discriminate against it.
And, so, I'm writing my letter.
I drafted version one without much concern for feelings or being subtle. It just was a way to touch on the points that were bubbling inside me. It was harsh, blunt, and in-your-face. Step two will be to refine it and make it not only more diplomatic, but less threatening.
The problem is, in the end, how does this make me different from any propagandist in history? Am I not endeavoring to circumvent Free Will by trying to influence the thinking patterns of my relatives? Am I not taking advantage of my familial connections to them in an effort to sway a political election?
It's similar to a discussion I had with a friend about the Death Penalty.
I don't support killing people; certainly not those who have been arrested and taken off the streets.
I prefer a sentencing system where those convicted are sent away to a reform facility until such a time as a group of isolated, independent psychologists determine that the individual is "all better." The convict would lose freedom and be incarcerated, working to make amends to their victims, while undergoing extensive reform and evaluation.
Some would never get out.
But my friend, upon hearing this suggestion, likened it to mind control. By putting people away until they agreed with a certain philosophy ("Thou Shalt Not Kill" being the most obvious; "Don't Engage in Insider Trading" would be another), is tantamount to using their incarceration as a tool to brainwash that individual.
Hence, another assault on Free Will.
Is this where I am? Do I have hypocritical views because I, with one breath, say I respect and hold high the value of Free Will and Choice, while -when it becomes inconvenient or a threat to me- I desire to bend it to my own interpretation of what would be best?
If I had absolute power, I fear what I would do.
To some, I already have it and I scare them. Others, in my eyes, have it as well, and they frighten me.
In the end, it boils down to fear causing me to act this way. If that's the case, how enlightened can I truly claim to be?
Yes, I've been told that I'm Ok and that my exceptions to the rules of Free Will are not only rare, but motivated by self-defense and building a better world.
But how different is that from the justifications that Hitler used in his "Master Race" programs?
I have to wonder, Journal, how much of a hypocrite am I and is this really any different from anyone else? If not, what does that make me?
There we go, an essay on two points that I'm pondering, today.
I don't have answers for these, but I hope that -over time- I'll come to a greater understanding of how I form these philosophies and beliefs.