Up for Discussion

For many of us, the art of discussion, of debate and disagreement, exists no more. Done away with by the ongoing discourse of being offensive to somebody’s ears. In an age where we’ve made these efforts to protect disadvantaged members of society, we have in turn created a pseudo-culture where offense brings with it a full stop on your conversation.

In this bubble wrapped society, even the most insignificant choices of words are enough to be brandish offensive. Your image is now of someone who is out to negatively impact everyone else.

What we’ve done is warped an effort which was intently good, and created a weapon in the disarming of conversations we now choose to be a part of. So much of the conversation rests now on symantics, and we often overlook the content.

The reason this problem is so important to us, is because in a world where we are never sure which news sources are on the straight, whether we are being lied to, or even with suspicions that the masses are being mind numbed for suppression, discussion and disagreement are our way to activate the truth finding parts of our brain. It is the sharing or discussion of ideas in order to learn, to grow, and to change.

Instead, we’re now too busy being offended to have a discussion, to willingly closing our minds off for fear of being wrong. As a collective, we must stop our fixation on winning the argument, and open ourself up to what somebody else is actually saying.

Who knows, maybe I’m just rambling for the sake of rambling, maybe I’ve proven a home truth. Prove to me otherwise.

Guise.

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Small Talk

Something that I’m definitely not good at is small talk. It makes me uncomfortable, feel stupid, and offers a hollow feeling in pretending to connect with someone. It’s safe to say, I do not like small talk.

There is, however, a form of conversation that I enjoy even less than that, and that is gossip. As soon as my brain registers that we the conversation has transitioned to gossip, I’m checked out. My consciousness goes to a subconscious place, hiding itself from the incoming discord of rumour, innuendo, unsubstantiated assumptions, and biased conceptions of past experiences.

Quite simply, I’m aware of the benefits of this primal form of human collaboration. A primordial connection to others through the discussion of a third party and their habits and idiosyncrasies. I understand that everyone of us use it to build relationships, and that it is a safe ground away from the taboo topics of small talk, but I am curious where my instinctual aversion of the topic has developed.

And I wonder, knowing that this form of communication and social bonding is important to us, why do we spend so much more time on this, than we do on the discussion of ideas, thoughts, opinions and innovations. Why are we happy to accept that the dealings of the Kardashians can make the nightly news, reaching a mass audience in an instant, but in order to hear the discussion of real world people’s ideologies and challenges, we have to resort to the niche corners of Reddit and the rest of the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we have this ability to connect and share with other individuals in the same mindset as myself, but for how long. With the looming threat towards net neutrality in the United States, do not be fooled to think that won’t affect the rest of the globe.

So the question I leave you with today is, what have you done this week to discuss something bigger? What information have you absorbed from sources other than your mainstream news organisations, Facebook feeds, and radio advertisements.

If we hope for a population of individuals, thinking for themselves, challenging the decisions of our leaders constructively, and pressuring the major news articles to raise the quality of reporting and removal of bias, then that starts with each of us.

Guise.

Cynicism and Optimism

When did I become so cynical?

It’s something I’ve noticed recently, that amidst all the click bait, celebrity relationship drama, and “it’s just a prank bro” clips filling my Facebook feed, I have come to accept that I hate other people. It leaves me bewildered, searching for the answer to when I stopped seeing the best in people, basically, when I stopped giving as much of a shit as I used to.

As a teenager, I was wound more tightly than hospital sheets. I was anxious, nervous, and highly insecure… so pretty much like 80% of teenagers (I assume, anyway. Just go along with it for the sake of this piece).

And so, eventually I finished school, got a job, started studying, got a different job, got promoted, finished studying, got another job, and so on.  My job exposes me to the best and worst of people every day, but then again, whose job doesn’t? Somewhere along that way though, things changed. I was no longer who I used to be. I no longer had control over being the playful optimist I had once been, as life was now in the way.

But I guess that’s the beauty of optimism. It is inherently biased to highlight the points which you actually want to remember, beer helps with those other memories. Hidden in the opportunist concoction of hindsight and artistic licence is the reality of mediocrity and underwhelming chronicles. We too often remember fondly of our past, not always willing, or capable, of distinguishing the merit to our rosy re-creation.

This is where I am at now, trying to find the best of both of me, the real cynic, and the playful optimist. Seeking out how to balance the scales by recognising each side of me and adapting my style depending on the situation. Knowing when to be positive, and trust in optimistic power, but also when to bite the bullet and know that the cynic grounds my perceptions, and keeps me close to reality.

For the record, I don’t actually hate other people, it’s more a compelling frustration.

Guise

Do you have something to say about the roles of cynicism and optimism in your lives, contact @guiseside on Facebook or Twitter, or email at guiseside@gmail.com