What is Important?
By SGT Awesome
On the evening of October 9th I, like many of you were glued to the TV watching an historic presidential debate. Unfortunately it was not historic for any good reasons.
This entire political cycle has literally been historically bad.
Unless you live in an actual echo chamber, you certainly have heard the anger and divisiveness being wrought upon society by our duopoly.
It’s maddening. Literally. It doesn’t matter if you’re strongly left, strongly right, or strongly middle because there’s so much insanity going around it’s virtually impossible not to get emotionally involved.
If either political party nominated ANYONE else, they would have the presidency already locked up and the world would likely be a better place for it.
Yet… does it really matter?
Is it worth my anger, my time, my energy?
If you’ve been overseas you’ve seen tribal society drawn out in an often very bloody manner. If you’ve been on Twitter recently you’ve seen it less bloody but just as sad and disgusting.
Logic is irrelevant. Reason is meaningless. Drawing lines and hurling anger (or bullets) is all that matters.
I’ve never truly understood how this mentality can become so pervasive despite studying such phenomenon and often fighting for the role of reason to become more pervasive.
Yet I’ve recently been forced to accept that I am no different than anyone else. I am human.
You see on October 10th I learned that someone was dead.
Was it one of the many cancer deaths that happen constantly? I’ll throw some money your way, maybe a hashtag or two. But no, it wasn’t you.
How about the hurricane? That was in the news.
I shared some thoughts. Spread some news. Didn’t really care.
Terrorism! Terrorism always gets people angry.
That must be it! No. Despite successful attacks recently, it didn’t move me at all.
You see while I was rage-tweeting the debates Mike was lying dead in his bed.
Mike was important to me.
Mike was the person whom I chose to be the Best Man at my wedding. If you’re a member of most Western civilization, those words contain serious weight; now I suddenly cared about death… but you better believe I stopped caring about yours.
In an ironic twist my priorities switched polarity from rational to not remotely capable of reason in an instant.
I became the most extreme form of tribal for the most selfish of reasons… and I still don’t care.
I would jump on 1,000 grenades or stick my dick in 1,000 blenders to bring him back.
I’d also kill 1,000 of you in cold blood to do it too.
I am no different than anyone I’ve ever disparaged logically or ethically.
Yet this emotional overthrow of my entire brain does inform me of one thing: empathy.
I understand now why you can be so angry.
I understand now why you can be so irrational.
I understand now why you can care so little about others.
I’ve dealt with death on a comparatively minor scale before and have a couple particular triggers because of it, but now…
Mike loved Star Wars. He loved technology. He loved the entirety of geekdom; just like I do. Literally everything is a fucking trigger now.
I tried to watch the latest Big Bang Theory with my wife tonight to try and clear my mind but within 30 seconds I was fucking crying.
Emotions are the Patriots and reason is, well, damn near every other team: the Pats are going to win.
Yet this is despite the fact that reason always wins the long game. I know for a fact that a year from now I would not willingly kill 1,000 of you to bring my friend back. I know that I’ll probably be bitching on Twitter about whomever is president. I know that reason will once again rule me.
But for reason to rule, it must be more. It must do what only the Giants have done and defy all odds and win when they shouldn’t.
We have to figure out a way to care about others despite our in-group loyalty.
We have to remember that every single feeling we have towards our in-group, someone else has for the person America just dropped a bomb on. Or that was shot by the police. Or whatever angered someone in the out-group.
They are human just like us.
They feel pain just like us.
Emotion caused them to be irrational… just like us.
The majority of the 7+ billion people on this planet agree that we get one life (regardless of belief on afterwards).
Every second spent angry is a second we will never get back.
It’s a second we’ll never get the opportunity to spend smiling.
It’s a second one day someone will be willing to kill 1,000 people for.
Mike got 1,295,180,000ish seconds. The ones he spent around me he tried his best to always be smiling despite some really terrible circumstances.