Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Everybody Be Cool


That's the problem.

Fear of the known.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of being different.
Fear of being the same.
Fear of God.
Fear of no God.
Fear of death.
Fear of life.
Fear of each other.
Fear of ourselves.
Fear of things we don't want to talk about.
Fear of things we shout about.
Fear of being called out.
Fear of being found out.
Fear of being judged.
Fear of being ignored.
Fear of losing power.
Fear of the dark.
Fear of the light.

We're not evil, we're scared. We're tiny, barely evolved creatures who haven't existed on this planet long enough to have any idea what we are doing. We're frightened of our own shadows. And as a result, we take it out on each other. Daily. Every time we look around, someone has let fear get the better of them again,. The fear has made them lash out with primitive violence, like a cornered animal. We like to think that just because we have computers in our pockets and footprints on the moon that we're smarter than we really are. The truth is, we don't have the answers and it petrifies us. To the point where we become capable of perpetrating unspeakable violence and horror on each other. When people let fear dictate their actions, things like the Holocaust, 9/11, Columbine, Ferguson, San Bernardino, and Orlando happen. And fear of the "next time it happens" will only cause us to mistrust and misunderstand the person next to us even more, which will only make us more afraid of each other, and the cycle of violence will start all over again. We have so far to go as a species, with so much potential, but the only way we are going to survive is to realize that we are all a part of something bigger, and we are all a part of it together. More guns won't fix our problems any more than less guns will. Stock up on assault rifles and armor piercing rounds if you want, or round them all up and melt them all down into paperweights, the outcome will still be the same. Guns or no guns, as long as we let fear rule our lives, we will continue to find new and creative ways to kill each other.

The only way any of this will go away is to stop being afraid.

People will say I'm naive for believing this, that human nature will never overcome our neanderthal-like desire to attack the things that terrify us. No, we can do it. We just choose not to. Instead of choosing to accept a different point of view, we massacre people in Paris. Instead of choosing to be tolerant of a different system of belief, we round people up into camps and exterminate them. Instead of accepting people who love who they love, we slaughter them inside a night club. Instead of sharing, we hoard. Instead of inviting, we shun. Instead of listening, we refuse to hear. We are all to blame for perpetuating systems of fear that spew rhetoric claiming one side is better than the other, that only people of this particular skin color or that particular view of the universe are valid. We're doing it wrong. All of us. And we need to stop. We need to take advantage of the gift of self-awareness that we've all been granted and stop acting like animals.

We need to stop killing each other and start acting like human beings.

It's not going to be easy. It's not going to happen overnight. It may not happen in our lifetimes. We are fighting against thousands of years of tradition, myth, dogma, and rhetoric. We live in a time when the best leaders we can find only care about telling us who and what to be afraid of. We live in an age of online screaming matches and an "us vs. them" mentality that has seeped into every corner of our lives. But it can't be allowed to continue. If it does, we are doomed as a species. The Fermi Paradox will be proven correct and we will become the cause of our own Great Filter.