You Ain’t Got The Answers!
We bicker and argue constantly over Facebook. Our timelines flooded with pro-whatever group we associate ourselves with, ranting or complaining about our oppositions. Conservative vs liberal, gay vs straight, christian vs muslim, and so on.
We go on and on, attempting to convince one another. Feeling as if the side we are on is the “right” side, and how absurd it is for the other to preach those preposterous, fallacious beliefs!
Is their truly a “right side” ?
I bet you chose your own side — duh. No worries, I did as well.
We must halt our own biases when we attempt to enlighten, because it will only lead to enlightenment of the other, and not the more important factor — yourself.
We are obsessed with criticizing, mostly unconstructively, the absent minded fool or the non-woke. Bashing, yelling, and irrationally confronting these “bigots” with violent and appalled reactions. This leaves no space for growth.
But, we say things such as “ignorance is no excuse.” Why is this?
If you grow up in a soccer playing nation, is it no excuse to not know of the Cleveland Cavaliers championship this year? Why is this relevant to you on a micro scale? Is it realistic for you to care?
If you lived in a country side all your life, is it no excuse for you to know that trains and cars exist? Should you care if your life has been just fine without these?
One of my first interactions with my apparent fault of ignorance was with a police officer. I was in 8th grade coming home from a long day of playing baseball. I kept myself hydrated throughout the day drinking water. The walk home was long, and I had no money for the bus. It was around 8pm. The sun was gone. My bladder was full and I could not hold all the water I drank any longer, so I decided to find an empty area within a quiet street block to relieve myself. I was relieved, I could walk the rest of my way home in peace.
I heard sirens behind me as soon as I left the space. I was in trouble. I could only imagine what I’d done. I could see how taking a piss in public could be gross, but I was good and conscious about it. The officer told me it was illegal to urinate in public, and gave me a $100 ticket. I attempted to make my claim with the officer. Explaining that I was unaware this was an illegal act (truthfully), and that I really could not hold it for much longer. His response was “there’s no excuse for not knowing the law.”
At the time, sure maybe I should’ve known the law. I could taken my 13 year old self to the public library in my neighborhood, and failed at attempting to find books on the law, and attempting to interpret legal information in regard to possible offenses I may commit. Maybe I could’ve spent $2, traveled to a more decent library and found this book and educated myself, maybe even asked an adult to help me inform myself on legal offenses. Then maybe I would have known the law, and avoided this incident.
Is this realistic?
What kid in the 8th grade would actually do this? All I cared about was that my lunchbox had a cosmic brownie, trying to impressing my boo thang during recess with my shaky jump shot, and plot on saving up bread for my next new era fitted purchase to impress more possible boo thangs.
It is simply not realistic for people to spend time thinking or concerning themselves with things that don’t blatantly affect them. If one does not share a certain proximity to the specific topic at hand, then they will indeed be unlikely to willingly attempt to relate to the experience.
One may say, “It is your responsibility to educate yourself on things that affect you directly and indirectly, and to the things that affect people around you.” For this to happen this requires the person to value responsibility, compassion, sympathy, and selflessness which are not inherent within any of us.
So is ignorance no excuse?
The people that debate each other, back and fourth seem to have the most knowledge, yet the smallest understanding.
Do any of us truly wish to place malice upon one another? Or rather do we feel we have a better way of life, and wish to help each other, but in exchange we hurt our brothers and sisters.
When we spread our ideologies as the right way, we are only doing the equivalent of our neighbor, whether or not our ideas seem just. This, in principle is fostering the continuous culture of sameness. That there is some universal truth and right.
How comfortable are we with being questioned? Better yet, how can we make people more comfortable with accepting that their life may be a big fat x.
We need conflict of ideas, we need discussion, and we need arguments. How far will they get us if they are rooted in the principle of convincing and trumping the other parties ideas as a whole.
We become oppressive in this sense, as much as we may feel we are liberators, enforcing the apparent standard of good, we cannot be sure of what is in actuality, good.
We must be ready to accept that as a possibility our ways of life and our ideas may be wrong, and be self-aware about this notion. So self-aware that when someone else’s ways are wrong, that we handle these situations tactfully as this could actually be a mirrored situation of our current state.
To enlighten is not simply to spew our own ideas into someone else’s plate, rather to enlighten should be to allow others the mental passages to question all they have been told, and all that they know to be reality. With this we allow for a person’s unique agency and perspective to be maintained and reject notions of sameness among us all.
When we can help each other understand ourselves and the world versus enforce a certain perspective our trees give way to sweeter fruit. Giving way to our self awareness may allow us to make more friends than enemies through these political tug of wars. Understanding that grasping empathy of each others circumstances can bring all parties to a common ground of not tolerance, but acceptance.