With this post, I will be talking about how people respond to seeing bad things happen, in any situation. If you stumbled across this post thinking I’m a girl talking about how ’empowered’ I am, you’ll be disappointed. I’m a guy.
For those who read my articles a lot, there is a theme of the fact I believe in peace and doing the right thing, strongly. So, if I’m such a believer in peace, in everybody getting along, and the like, then why am I not a more submissive person? Why do I tend to resist rather than let things be? This is something that I forget the answer to myself from time to time, particularly if current events are weighing me down.
When I was in middle school, there was a kid in my class who claimed to be Buddhist. He wasn’t Asian, and whether he was actually Buddhist or was just trying to seem sophisticated, I’m still not sure. But, one day, he and I got into an argument about what to do if one’s country is invaded. He said – no, he insisted – that the right thing to do is to just stand there and let it happen. He was pacifistic to a rather extreme degree. Granted, this was 15ish years ago, so maybe his views have drastically changed. I know my own views have. Well, my argument against that opinion hasn’t changed.
I think that scenario explains pretty much the whole point I want to make. When you just stand around and let people do shitty things, it doesn’t stop them from doing it.
I’ve talked about my first love, Lisa, several times in recent posts. In one of those posts, I mentioned one particular thing she did in passing, and never elaborated or brought it up again. I said that Lisa treated me like shit. And oh did she! I’ll take the opportunity to elaborate on that now.
I was blindly loyal to Lisa. When I claim that she and I never got into arguments, I should say that with an asterisk, because the only reason we never got into arguments was because I allowed her to do whatever the hell she pleased, and never complained. It’s not that I never had a problem with what she was doing, I just didn’t want there to be strife between us. On several occasions, she talked about how good a liar she is and even how she wanted to be a ‘professional liar’ when she grew up. On several occasions, she flirted with boys to get something from them, like money, and sometimes it was just for the hell of it. On several occasions, Lisa outright kicked me out of her life for no reason, only to take me back a couple of months later. On several occasions, she flaked on plans we made, or outright degraded me. She was never helpful, she was never sympathetic, and she was never generous. And of course, there is what everybody already knows: She cheated on me.
This is an example of a time in my life – a whole time period, actually – when I freely allowed something to be, even though I knew it was wrong. It’s how I was as a child, and I was this way with everybody when I was a child. I met Lisa when we were kids, so it makes sense this is how I was with her. It didn’t make Lisa a better person, nor me. More than anything, it enabled her behavior. So, even though I admired Lisa’s intelligence, even though I admired her ability to be selectively moral toward homeless people (and that’s pretty much it)…, this is why I still don’t miss her. She was a garbage human being. She was the most beautiful girl I’ve ever been with, the most intelligent by far, and I had more years with her – formative years – than anyone else I’ve been with, but her abysmal moral code negated all of that.
Back to my original example, if your country is being invaded, do you think standing there and allowing it will bring peace? Will that stop your enemy from slaughtering your people? Will that stop your enemy from invading at all? Look at the current situation in Venezuela. Is the fact that the people are starving, their currency has been inflated out of any value, or the infrastructure completely failing, stopping Maduro from stepping down from his position as dictator? Not even a little. Stalin, Mao, and every leader of North Korea have faced similar situations, and none of them stepped down.
Does allowing your child to bully other kids make them stop? Does allowing your child to eat whatever they want make them healthy? Does allowing your child to get poor grades in school somehow motivate them to study?
To sort of speak in Christian terms, evil must be rebuked. It doesn’t mean get forceful from the beginning, it doesn’t mean you have to yell, or even get angry, or go to any lengths necessary to stop what is happening (depending on the situation), but it does mean take a stand.
This is part of the reason I do what I do here on this blog. Sometimes in life, all you can do about something is just voice your opinion on it. As human beings, no matter how rich or poor, tall or short, male or female, famous or obscure, all we can do sometimes is just say what we feel needs to be said.
About two years ago, my friend Tyler and I had a discussion about the falling out we had over an anti-male image he posted on Facebook. At one point in that discussion, he said, “For as long as I’ve known you, it’s never been easy to change your mind about anything. You’ve always been very stubborn.” Tyler is by far not the only person to say this to me. In this particular case, though, it didn’t phase me at all, because we were debating whether or not it’s okay to hate an entire group of people. So, no, I wasn’t going to be okay with that, when he, my own friend, is promulgating it. In that situation, I didn’t care if Tyler found me stubborn, because nothing he said was going to make me think, Oh yeah, we should totally let people demonize an entire group of people.
I’ve said this before: Most people who get annoyed that you’re not changing your mind to agree with them are only concerned with being agreed with. They don’t care if their arguments are sound, they only want you to sacrifice your opinion on the altar of their opinion, right or wrong. A little word to the immature, bratty, whiny portion of our population: Just because someone disagrees with you, and they’re not afraid to voice it, that doesn’t mean they are stubborn, or selfish, or arrogant. Your opinion is not sacred just because it’s your opinion.
By the way, nobody abandons their religion and then becomes severely depressed because of it, feeling their life no longer has meaning, if they are incapable of changing their mind. Nobody, who longs to see their mother again after 20 years, loses that longing entirely because they realize their mother is actually the one who unapologetically caused everything to fall apart, if they are incapable of changing their mind. You want to change my mind about something? Then stop whining and sit down and talk to me and give me some actual good arguments, and I’ll change my mind no problem.
Discussion is the #1 way to resolve any problems. Exchanging ideas, and being willing to change your mind if you are wrong… Sometimes, like if your country is being invaded, people aren’t willing to come to the table, and thus being forceful is necessary, but it should always be a last resort. But when it comes to domestic matters, I strongly advocate for mature discussion.
This is the main thing that ruined my marriage. Well, the lack thereof is what ruined it. The whole downward spiral started when my wife just didn’t want to talk about something, just like the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, and the goddamn time before that. She thought a relationship can last if you never talk about anything, to the degree that she saw it as a problem if you do try to discuss anything. Additionally, she thought that never changing your mind about anything was also logical. Even now, when it comes to the subject of splitting parenting duties for our daughter, she full-heartedly believes the right thing to do is for me to just give her everything she wants, and that I’m a bad person if I don’t give her everything she wants. How does someone think not discussing things is the best way to solve problems? How does someone think not changing your mind, when necessary, is the best way to solve problems? Seriously, the whole time we were married, I sometimes thought, Did anyone actually raise you? How do you not understand these basic, basic lessons about life? Then, I’d remember the maturity level of the people who raised her.
The world doesn’t become a better place when good people do nothing. Inactivity, or even worse, apathy, doesn’t stop selfish or evil people. It’s tempting for sure, because people who want peace, well, don’t want turmoil, obviously. It’s tempting to think that if bad things are happening ‘over there,’ but over in your corner things are fine, it’s best to do nothing because at least there is some peace somewhere.
America was founded on principles, freedom being the main thing. We didn’t get our freedom by simply requesting it from George III. That would have been preferred, but England didn’t want us to be free. We didn’t want anything nefarious, we just wanted to be free. The right thing to do was not to accept it when George III refused us. It was necessary to resist, and so we did. Allowing oppression was not better than breaking free. Same goes with slavery. Half the country wanted to keep blacks in chains. The moral thing to do was doing something about that.
In conclusion, this is why I’m not a pushover … anymore. This is why I’m not submissive to the whims and irrational feelings of others. This is why I speak up when I see things that, in my view, are wrong. I won’t apologize for it. Cowardice does not make the world a better place. Holding people, and ourselves, to certain standards does.