Politically Incorrect

The revolution against political correctness is coming.

You can feel it building, can’t you. Generations of humans who have grown up in a world where everything they say and everything they do is scrutinised and polished for fear offending someone. They’ve passed through some of life’s most fragile and uncertain phases always conscious of the eggshells they step upon.

What we can feel is that has become tired, and a generation so aware of the eggshells is starting to choose to ignore the sensitivity once thrust upon them.

If we look at how the PC revolution came about, we see a culture at an extreme to the one we currently reside. A world where racism was casual and common, indigenous Australians were statutely considered flora and fauna, women were out of the home only physically, and the physical assault of homosexuals was a social activity. This was a world filled with abused majorities, not just minorities. Where mental health was unheard of and “soft”, and asking for help was completely misunderstood.

Considering where we’ve come from, the last 30-40 years of the PC revolution has been monumental for our society and balancing the field, to some degree.

What I see, though, is that as this mindset has developed, it’s almost over-developed, and people are becoming tired of being told they are a bad person for the way their mind and belief system works. This is not to say that these people aren’t wrong, this is not a commentary of the merits of conservative, or even non-left wing views. No, rather this is commentary of the movement which will see us change the way we talk about sensitive societal and cultural issues.

Hopefully that change means we, as a society, are in a place where we can have proper discussions of issues, without branding the opponent as ignorant, or preaching about how offended you are.

Here’s to a world of discussion, not eggshells.

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.

Our Lives, they are’a Changin’

Even when it feels like our world is crashing down, we have a remarkable ability to persevere, to break through the barriers. We are but creatures of adaptation, but our ability to adjust is esoteric, it is a gift of the gods. 

I have a saying, and I’ve shared it with many people over the years and that is, “whether for the good or the bad, change is coming”. 

The reason this thought has stuck with me for so long, I think, is because it is realistic. It does not offer lofty promises of brighter times just around the corner, but it also does not dwell on the grim reality of an unfortunate or unpleasant situation. What it does do, is it acknowledges that like death and taxes, change is inevitable. 

Whether that change leads to better times, or whether it leads to worse, accepting that everything is temporary is cathartic. Whatever tomorrow brings, it will be different from today, and we will have different perceptions, different options, different solutions, and different risks. 

It is with this knowledge,  with this acceptance, that we can nurture our resilience. It teaches you to ride the good times high, and appreciate them when they are here. It teaches you to push, and to hold on when our experiences are low, when we are at our most tested. 

The contradiction in this thought is that sometimes though, we have to accept when we do not have the resilience to be resilient. This is not a shameful characteristic, nor one to hide away. It is these times that we find ourselves in our darkest holes, and we feel every grain of despair blow in our winds. These are the times to seek help. Take solace in knowing that change is inevitable. It’s just that sometimes we need to give that change a kick up backside. 

I wish you resilience and courage, from this day to the next. 

Guise. 

OMG! You’ve got OCD!

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Apparently, it’s the new black.

All the models in Milan are being sure not to step on any runway cracks.

The fashionistas are out in droves developing their own unique brands of obsessive.

For the first time in history, it’s cool to be out of the ordinary (sarcasm, for those that missed it…)

It might just be that I live in a microcosm, exponentially populated with a swarm of OCD sufferers. I use the term “suffer” very liberally. But before I’m tarred and feathered, I am quite fully aware of the serious nature of this disorder. I know that it consumes lives, and I empathise with anybody whose life is dominated by OCD.

But as society tends to do, people associate themselves with the first explanation they come across that possibly describes the way they feel. Sad and lonely? Well I guess five years ago that would have made you an Emo. You know how to do the running man dance? Oh that’s so 80’s, it’s called shuffling! In the same way, it feels like every second person you come across these days identifies themselves with the plight of the Obsessive Compulsive. Perhaps it’s the hypochondriac within us, but it is beyond coincidental.

It may just be me being pessimistic, but it almost feels unsavoury to be making a “mockery” of this disorder. Or am I looking at it the wrong way? Is it society’s means of raising awareness, so that synchronicity can align our subconscious what is really out there in the big world? Setting up pods for the epiphany of Baader-Meinhof proportions for some poor sap in about to realise he has a life altering condition.

Either way, trends come and go, and so the only way we’ll know how real these cases of OCD are, is to let time unfold all events. I’m pouring a Gin, getting comfy in a chair, and waiting it out. Gosh, I hope it’s not contagious!

Guise

For more on the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, have a crack at this article from 2006 on damninteresting.com
http://www.damninteresting.com/the-baader-meinhof-phenomenon/

Speak Up

When did society start breeding them? When did we decide it is okay to nurture a lack of social skills and inability to speak in front of even the smallest gatherings? I’m curious as to whether it’s a lack of confidence, fear of judgement or simply too many people taking the easy way out by reading unconsciously from a script of paper. Our politicians do it, so why shouldn’t we?

On first instinct, we look at the internet and the online presence of human beings as detracting from the primal skill of public speaking. An increased time spent engaging computer screens against that spent interacting with physical specimens has, by no doubt, affected the our social skills as humans. We lose the freedom of buying time in between responses, effectively diminishing our ability to think rapidly and spontaneously. Most of us with an inkling of common sense can see this, and yet we continue to dedicate greater lengths of time to our digital presence.

Our ability to write essays, blogs and share creative ideas have in no way been reduced because of the internet. If anything, creativity flows more fluidly for this reason. The lack of 25 sets of eyes no longer has to stand in the way of human expression. For this, many more ideas and thoughts are shared every day. But at what cost? How do we value our inherent ability to address the masses upon a stage? Where would culture and politics be if the great speakers in these fields had given into their fear of attention?

I see a trend, a negative spiral of acceptance for giving into ones fears. When society reinforces and allows for our youth to stand and fake their way through speeches and addresses, we are taking one giant cultural leap backwards. We are accepting mediocrity and encouraging social anxiety.

These words will not change our schools curriculum to promote better speaking skills. It will not encourage the masses to take on speaking coaches. No. All that these words can do is encourage. They can provide the encouragement to deny yourself from mediocrity, and look to address this issue in each of your lives. When we lose our ability to speak to one another, we are but bricks in a wall. Knowledge may be power, but language is mortality.

 

Guise