Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Multitude of Thoughts

 June came and went, and with it a great many thoughts I've been trying to distill so I can understand them. I just don't understand people sometimes. I understand motivations based on love, greed, compassion, bias, bigotry, moral standards, the need to be right, etc, but I don't understand how motivations translate to hurtful behavior that is considered acceptable. Isn't there a filter somewhere in there that says, "This behavior will yield this result or this result".

I know I'm being vague. Let me find some specifics for you.

In the geek community, there has been a torrent of women crying foul about how they are treated in sci-fi and gaming communities. (This article links to a few of the other articles, but it's just a drop in the bucket.) The number of voices saying, "There is something wrong" is a pretty big sign that, hey, THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG. And I'm trying to wrap my mind around the backlash and threats they receive for speaking up. If the norm isn't ok, why defend it and stoop to name-calling and degradation? It validates the point these women are making. 

Why do people do this to each other? Yeah, people don't like to be told that they're wrong, but people are wrong all the time. Everyone makes mistakes. Pointing out mistakes is like pointing out a way to grow in a way that maybe they hadn't considered before.

I dunno. There are right ways and wrong ways to say things, but when it boils down, criticism is hard for anyone to take, period. Some people have better skills for listening to it than others. But that still doesn't mean that the person crying foul is wrong for saying it. Or yelling it, if no one's listening.

In our religious community... oh, dear. Ugh, I hate talking about religion in a public forum. You get the close-minded people on ALL fronts sure that their view is the only right view. Whether it's those sure the religious people are delusional crazy-hats or the fever-pitched faithful who are sure that anyone who believes different than they do are sinners and are going to hell. I hate the bickering and fighting that ensues on this front.

It carries over into everything. Blame it on the believers! Blame it on the disbelievers! Everyone's pointing fingers at everyone else, because so'n'so has done something that makes them uncomfortable (like, gasp, get a nose pierced) or said something that goes against how they think (Wait, you believe GOD is in control? How laughable).

Right. I forgot that's how it works. If someone's got a piercing on their face, obviously the devout worshiper sitting next to them won't be able to commune with the spirit because they're so distracted by the demons of hell swirling around those bits of metal, glass, and plastic. And if the believer says something about faith, obviously the agnostic's world is so very delicate it will go all 'splodey-sploosh if someone dares to believes in an unseen force, or ghosts, or magic.

(If you can't hear the sarcasm dripping from every word here, I feel sorry for you.)

Sometimes the rantypants makes more sense than calm and clear statements. As is the nature of humanity, though, there will be people who misunderstand everything, sometimes on purpose. And I am sure there are people out there who will be offended by this.

This makes me so tired. I mean, really. There's this article on Space.com saying that there's the possibility of 60 Billion planets that *could* support life. And people are arguing in the comments. Some are saying that's magical thinking because there's no proof while others are shouting how can you crazy nut-jobs think we're the only planet with life on it???

People!!!  AAAAAARGH!! I KNOW there are people out there who love other people no matter what, I just wish the voices of sanity were the ones loud and clear instead of the the fervored pitch of the extremists.

If person A thinks we're the only sentient life in the universe, LET THEM THINK THAT. If person B thinks aliens are among us, guess what? THAT'S OK TOO!!! Neither viewpoint does much for the advancement of science and technology, because they already know their answers and aren't asking any new questions. (Why they even read the Space.com articles and FB page is beyond me. But still, they are allowed their opinions.) The various camps yelling at each other and trying to beat each other over the head with their whiffle-bats of opinion are counter-productive to any dialogue that is interesting.

I guess what I want to say is this:

We don't know what we don't know. And the only way to learn new things is to be teachable. So, if there's life out there, the more we search and discover, the more we'll learn about the nature of the universe.

Likewise, If a guy doesn't know he's being an ass-hat because he was taught and raised to be an ass-hat, then pointing out to him ass-hat behavior vs. normal human behavior gives him the chance to reform misogyny. A chance, mind you. It doesn't mean he will change, nor that he will want to, but neither does it mean he won't. 

People cannot learn unless confronted with a new idea that conflicts with their current world view.

Does this mean I'm not opinionated? Oh hell no. I'm as opinionated as anyone. I think close-minded people are some of the hardest people on the planet to get along with. In spite of them, I continue to draw tattoos on my kids with sharpies when they want them -- whether these onlookers think its right or wrong or evil or poisonous or just teaching them bad habits. I don't care, I like to doodle, especially when I think it will offend someone's self-righteous world view. Because those need to be upset now and then.

Myself and my kids are going to continue to make and be friends with people from all walks of life, because contrary to popular belief, NO ONE is holier than thou, especially not me. I am one of the crazy faithful who happens to try to accept and include people the way I find them. I don't expect anyone else to believe the way I do, but I do feel everyone deserves to feel loved and accepted, even if they look and act different than me.

I TRY to respect others opinions just as much as I expect my own opinions to be valued and accepted. That doesn't mean other opinions don't piss me off. It just means I try to accept that they feel that way, discuss things and try to understand where they're coming from, and then learn from them.

That's a real chore in this world.


  1. As always, Chris, love you bunches! *hugs*

  2. I'd try to argue with you, but unfortunately I agree with everything you. So much that all I can think of to say is ^THIS!!!^ Sorry for not confronting you with new ideas that conflict with your world view :)

  3. Unfortunately the new "troll" past time of purposely disagreeing just to get a rage response is definitely a pet peeve of mine. Which very well may be a large percentage of the arguments you see online. The other party doesn't actually care about their position only the response they can coax from the person sharing an opinion. (excuse my grammar)

  4. Lovely :)

    I don't understand the response of the science fiction community to women pointing out sexism; I don't understand the response of the gaming community to Anita Sarkeesian's documentation of sexism; I don't understand the response of my (our?) religious community to women pointing out systemic inequality. It is very frustrating and yes, makes me feel like I don't even want to engage with people, though I know I have to.

    It also makes me wonder what I need to do to raise my kids to not be sexist (or at least not as sexist). Will letting my son run around in his big sister's clothes do anything other than generate a number of embarrassing photos? Will it teach him and his sister that girl things are okay too? Or are my own biases against girly things going to leach into them anyway?

  5. Peggy: Love you too :)

    Angela: haha! I'll expect world-changing information the next time I see you! Get on that!

    Mack: I agree, and I do NOT understand the mindset behind trolling. I just don't get it. Are people that bored?

    Kristine: You ask some good questions about your son here, and I'll be honest, I ask myself the same questions about mine. He's currently convinced Pink is the best color ever because his older sister loves pink. Will that make him somehow weak or strange? Or will it make him more understanding of girls when he eventually has a daughter? I don't know, but I kinda like this little boy, so I'm just watching how he's interacting with things. I happen to think parental bias gets into the kids for good or bad, but since it's impossible to not have biases, I think the best thing we can do is to teach kids to have open minds. Explore the unknown, to stand up for themselves, but also respect others. Annnnd, I'll shut up now. But YES. :)