Friday, January 20th is the release of Ashes to Sunrise. Yet another charity anthology arranged by talented, crafty Mia Darien. All the stories have a sci-fi or fantasy feel. My short story in the collection is called The Victors. All author profits will benefit The American Civil Liberties Union. An organisation designed to help people who feel they lack a voice in mainstream society. People who, on more than one occasion, have been told to shut up and accept their lot in life.
With a certain event that is happening on Friday, I think it’s important to remember that a lot of people are feeling a lot of very different things. There will be an abundance of emotions swarming around. Some joy, some relief, some sorrow. Some anger.
Anger is the one that concerns me most. I may have written a short story with sci-fi and fantasy elements. However, I am not shouting about how we now live in a dystopian, apocalyptic madhouse and ‘those people’ are responsible. There are no ‘those people’. Please let’s stop doing that.
I don’t believe in immediately dismissing anyone’s views based on their lifestyle, career, faith, gender, orientation or ethnicity. I believe in the right to disagree as much as I believe in being a reasonable, kind person.
I also don’t believe in telling infuriated people that they are stupid and wrong. That generally causes less reason and more anger. Then where are we? Well…
I felt that on this, the eve of this…of this….I wanted to examine anger, the right to disagree and ….beliefs.
There is nothing wrong with being angry. You are not a bad person for experiencing a sense of injustice. You have a right to disagree with others.
It is impossible in this world to agree on everything. We cannot all become clones, not even with and perhaps especially due to our information overload, computerised, era.
Our very human, very personal frailties and passions are bound to be ignited by the words and images that call out to us every day.
And we are not robots who see the same thing.
The things we see, touch, hear and do every day vary even within the same household. Let alone the differences between towns, regions and countries. It’s no great shock that we, as human beings seek out common bonds.
It’s also no shock that we reject those common bonds, fearful that we might understand someone who is drastically different from us. Horrified that we might actually understand someone who made us so angry.
Information can be manipulated, in order to suit the desires of angry people. It is possible to conveniently ignore proven facts. Lies are ever available. Truth is subjective.
Angry people are often those who feel they have been left out by the rest of the world. That, the rest of the population is uncaring and arrogant.
Anger should never be dismissed as an absurd thing. Telling an angry person that they are stupid and wrong is unwise. Unless of course the desired result, of informing the angry one of their stupidity, is a fight. Some folks simply enjoy a good fight. Wisdom and reason have nothing to do with it.
One thing most of us could agree on is that it isn’t pleasant to feel mocked, neglected or ignored. As though you are ridiculous and you don’t matter.
Even well-adjusted, privileged members of society struggle with those feelings.
Even well-adjusted, privileged members of society do not like being labelled.
To swallow a label, rashly thrown at you by a stranger is a bitter experience. It could cause the more temperamental or sensitive individual to behave foolishly.
It could cause a powerful individual to use their position to punish those who would disagree with them. To punish anyone who made them feel angry.
Our somewhat elite yet very mortal realm of rulers and world leaders is and has always been an often flawed and disappointing place.
Now, on the brink of a new beginning, I feel it’s important to remind myself of a few things:
That standing up for what is right, without expectation of glory or gain whether in this life or the next, is a sign of enlightenment.
That standing up for what is right, despite fear of punishment whether in this life or the next, is a sign of enlightenment.
That the powers that be above and below know this.
That I have a long way to go before enlightenment.
That the downfall of others should never be a source of joy.
That it is wrong to manipulate people into believing exactly as I do.
That it is wrong to harshly judge others unless I have had the personal experience of living their day to day life in all its varying eras, ages, ups and downs.
That love is better than hate.
That kindness is better than cruelty.
That these rules do not only apply to the people I disagree with.