Finding Balance in the Era After Parkland
A Call for Civility in a Seemingly Only Increasingly Uncivil World
3/29/18, 8:26 pm EDT
By John Corry, photo from MarketWatch
By now, we’ve heard about the horrific shooting in Parkland, FL, on February 14th, 2018, in which seventeen people were killed, and after which a national debate on guns, brewing for at least decades but most likely centuries, was ushered into a new era. What used to be a relevantly peaceful debate on guns and government (‘relevant’ being the key word there (and one meant to admit the obvious gradual increase of passion regarding that debate since the columbine in 1997)) has now turned into an all-out ideological brawl with no sense of compromise, or, maybe more importantly, sympathy in sight. It used to be civil, albeit barely (most likely, depending on who you were). Now, in the words of someone of whom I’m sure, regardless of political affiliation, you would likely agree with me on when I say that he hasn’t exactly been the best when it comes to calming people down, or gearing away from division: it’s SAD!
But that’s the thing, there, isn’t it? ‘Civil’, ‘Sympathy’, ‘Sad’…
After 20+ years of ‘massacres’, ‘domestic terrorists’ and who knows how many years regarding all the potential influencers of those things (economics, racism, in general a wild misunderstanding of basic human psychology in my opinion, etc.), people in America are now tired. Say the reasons (literally, for research purposes): ‘America’s been being taken advantage of by the rest of the world since WWII and needs to figure its own shit out right now’, ‘the country has an inherent befuddlement of a deep, subconscious racism running not only through its core but through the core of ‘capitalism’ as an ideology, which can’t it can’t be considered as if that ‘ideology’ is inherently economical (time and fact-based (based: key word))’, people’s stupid and they needs to fuckin’ read more–doesn’t matter when we’re talking about passions and how facts should, do, or can, influence, interfere, or be interfered with, or influenced by, emotions or passions - and that’s what’s we’re talking about when emotions are running so high in so many public spaces as they are now following the Parkland shooting. It’s too heated; there are too many people whose opinions seem only to get stronger and more ‘relevant’ – factually speaking, but emotionally thought.
‘Factually-speaking’ (and this will come back in a moment): I’ve come to conclusion recently that humans perceive emotions in the same way we perceive facts, not to detract from what the obvious difference between those two things are (emotion and fact (application, origination, and practicality)). If I’m grief stricken right now, or if I’m happy or depressed or angry or stressed out over work, that feeling is as much a fact to my perceiving-mind than the fact that 2+2=4, the only difference being that my 'feeling' (or: emotion) has no other criteria for being a 'fact' than my conscious perception of it as something I am feeling right now, versus a ‘fact’s necessary agreeableness amongst Society as a whole and objectively, emotion being in the same sense subjective, almost entirely outside of myself.
I may be wrong in my thinking on this (please let me know what your thoughts are if you have any), but it sums up my main point here: things are getting to the point, for a lot of people, where it’s very hard for us to feel comfortable expressing our voices – and more importantly knowing what they are – but this is not necessarily only because of ‘PC culture’, or because of assholes trying to tell me what I can and can’t laugh at (I’ll make fun of Christians as much as I want, Father), perhaps even least so. It goes deeper, and to the core of one the primary problems currently facing the human intellect: time.
Human beings in general (as opposed to the politicians vying for power) have always considered the universe fairly simply: the earth goes round, there is night and day, and there are certain criteria we have for understanding those things, and for understanding what happens to us in them, two of the biggest ones of course being facts and emotions.
I know this may controversial (INSANELY controversial!!!), but: however much we may wish we didn’t have emotions - we do - though some of us may be more naturally prone to be better at taming them, and that it is far better to accept that and to learn to deal with them in all cases, especially in an argument in which the other side is being overwhelmed by emotion, the same way that there are cold hard facts to deal with, the understanding of which follows that same process: either objection or subjection, perception, and the opposite to that first objection or subjection.
That aforementioned ‘understanding of the criteria we need to understand the world’ has shifted dramatically over the past 100 years, and for several reasons, which it doesn’t much to see: our perception of those things which help us to perceive the world as a whole has been added a wild number of facts and experiences which we’re–each of us–are still trying as hard as we can to catch up on (most of us at least). These would include, amongst more: our knowledge of the capability of human emotion and ingenuity after two world wars, the implications of strong political or philosophical ideologies or the attachment to such ideologies or processes following Marx’s (justified or not is irrelevant here (like: it happened)) critique of capitalism and the creation of such a ‘rival’ ‘system’ as communism, and the implications of those processes of perceiving the world following the industrial revolution of the early 1900s and Darwin’s theory of evolution (not to mention physics), as well as, of course, for the hundredth time: the creation of the internet (which isn’t to mention Ozzy Osbourne or The Matrix).
These have had a huge impacts on every person who’s lived since the start of this ’modern’ world (which I would argue started its current phase with Nietzsche, but obviously probably originated with the Enlightenment), let alone those of us who are alive now. We’ve never had this wealth of information available to us – which of course includes the opportunity to hear other people’s mere opinions in a pseudo-private (it’s actually public) way on institutions like TV and social media – and it’s tough to adjust, especially considering the quickly adjusting technology on all of those things mentioned above.
And we are all dealing with this; we all live in-time. I don’t care how smart someone is, or how well they may come off at dealing with it: this is a human problem, and we all have a stake in it, as well as a responsibility to at least attempt to see any other perceived ‘side’, and to care about it.
This is where I get back to Parkland. The debate over guns is as old as the invention of the gun itself (by which I mean that people have always argued over whether or not Intellectual Man is inherently violent, or if there is any logical reason for violence), or at least as old as the second amendment of the U.S. constitution. I don’t want to get into what I actually think regarding this whole ‘gun debate’ thing (because that would really be what I feel, which I think is out of place here (though, looking back, I guess maybe it’s not)), but I do think that, for better or worse, the founding fathers were deep thinkers and that they and their crazy invention (‘practisized philosophy’ (America)) are worth thinking about and delving into, but: why would they put that in there (the second amendment in the constitution) if they didn’t to a certain extent see all this coming? The founding fathers did have an opinion on this, and it’s pretty clear in the constitution what that opinion is, and their reasoning for it–essentially, indeed, the ‘right to bear arms against a tyrannical government’ one we hear every day.
Whether or not things change over time, is a different argument, but also one I find must still take the form of a rational debate in order to come to functional fruition (I personally do not want anything other than rational and well-thought reason when it comes to political ideology/practical politics (otherwise you end up with exactly what we have now–division)), and that’s just my point: I know things are hard, and I know it seems like nothing will ever get any better, but just because someone disagrees with you over something as important and factually/emotionally relevant as guns doesn’t mean that that person is any less capable of love than you are.
Love’s complicated; that’s why it’s ‘love’, and not ‘childish bliss’–
Think about the flow of that paragraph for a second; what is Love 'in-time'? What is reason 'in-love'? Why am I putting these stupid hyphens in between these words and essentially making them unnecessarily confusing for no other reason than to sound smart? (Being 'in-time' or 'in-love', truly, cannot be put into timely words (or: they transcend time? (check out Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations or Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason)).)
’The world is what we make it.’ –Paraphrased All of Philosophy Ever (and by this I mean it may mean many different things…)
So begins another action-packed episode of ‘What Does This Actually Mean???’ And ‘Who Am I?’ And ‘What is the Relation?' The POLITICAL AFFILIATION??’ What is this? What is That?