I don't do this very often but this morning at some silly hour I awoke, and, after getting up and going to the bathroom I found that I had reached some clarity of thought in many things that had been bothering me. So, before I forget my important thoughts, I am going to share them and write them down for posterity. I don't pontificate very often, so just skip by this. There are no images, no funny things in this so be aware. i promise that I will post something more appropriate later in the day.
On the Quilt Art list, which is evidently a private list as you need to subscribe, there has been much discussion about what can be discussed and what should not be discussed.
What has our world come to? Someone brought up the fact that she had made an art piece that dealt with the reality of the cruelty of Darfur. There are many places in this world were there is wholesale violence against another group of people but I don't think anything has reached the savagery of Darfur. But, we don't pay much attention to it.
America has become a very opinionated, self-centered country with many people who have no idea of what is going on in their own country and many more who have no clue as to what is happening in the world. Everything is viewed from how it affects them. This is sad. Because we close ourselves off to learning about the world, our country, our state, our region, and stick only with what is comfortable and self-serving, we are ignorant, biased, bigoted, self-serving and not a very nice group of people. And we wonder why there are so many people in other countries who don't like us. We don't address our country's issues with honesty but with political self-serving. Politicians are more likely to go with the opinion polls rather than to stand up for what they really feel is right and to fight for it, even if it is not the most popular stand. We must be very careful in what we say as it might offend someone and yet our school children are able to tell others that they don't like someone else just because, and seriously hurt another child's feelings. As long as the talker does not mention race, sexual orientation, religion or any of the other taboos in our culture.
So, in order to be politically correct, we don't have discussions...not arguments...but discussions. An argument is a situation when one person is trying to convince another that they are wrong and the first person is right. If not taken seriously, this develops in to a name-calling, hurtful event. A discussion is a discourse between two people and they may have very differing opinions but they listen to each other, acknowledge where that person is coming from and then respond. One makes "I" statements rather that "you" statements It does not mean that one responds by putting the other down, telling them they don't know what they are talking about, or that they have no clue, etc.
Discussions in public always run the risk of "bothering" someone for some reason or other. So that brings me back to the Quilt Art list. There was mention of various people feeling upset, as, without having seen the work in question, they felt that the topic should not be discussed as they had been victims of abuse, etc and did not want to bring up painful memories. Then others jumped on the band wagon and started telling those people that they need to deal with their feelings, and, you get the idea, it just went on and on. Which then led to several people telling the rest of the group that these subjects should not be discussed as it might "bother" someone else. The issue of censorship and an argument ensued over what is censorship. Finally, some people intervened to discuss the fact that artists have a responsibility to hold up society for us to take a look at, the good, the bad, and the really ugly. Whether we chose to look and see is really up to us.
As a part of my career I worked at understanding the thought processes of those who felt justified in taking someone else's life just because they wanted their shoes. Or that adults had the right to "sexually educate" children by forcing them in to sexual acts. Or that adults feel they have the right to belittle,and abuse their children and others. Or that bullies walk our school grounds, or that men rape women to assert their power and to make themselves feel more power. Or that children can be slapped, punched, thrown against a wall, stomped on, etc all because they are making too much noise. Or that we can shoot someone we disagree with. Or, that it is okay to medicate one's self with alcohol and drugs in order to avoid the feelings that have been brought up by all of the things that have happened such as the above.
And many of us who have never gone through any of these things, seriously lack empathy, as we have become a nation who wants immediate gratification and pleasure, and to hell with everyone else.
So, we don't talk seriously about sexual issues with children because it might cause they to "have sex". We don't discuss someone's hurts because we don't want to take the time to feel the hurt with them. We shut things away because it is unpleasant. We pretend we don't see abuse happening because we don't think we should intervene.
Why? because we don't want to offend someone else? No, because we don't know how to have healthy discussions about something. I was once at my sister-in-laws home and a friend of theirs was there and we got into a lively discussion about the death penalty. We had differing views but we had quite a lively discussion. The others started getting uncomfortable, not because we were being unpleasant or rude or offending to each other, but because we had strongly voiced differences opinion and were willing to voice those, but most importantly, listen to the other side of the argument.
When I was in high school many years ago, we studied the fine art of debating and I was on the high school debating team. One had to always be ready to take either side of an issue in a matter, whether one believed in it or not and how well one presented their arguments and countered the other's arguments were how one was rated. Not whether one was right or wrong, but how well one presented the argument.
We listened carefully to what the other person had to say, and carefully considered it before responding. We responded with respect and did not lash out personally at the other side. This allowed for differing views with respect for the other side. In the end, one chose for themselves how they personally felt.
What is right for one of us is not always the right way for another. Some of us can become very active in working towards righting the wrongs of the world, others of us feel we need to start at home in our very own families. But, either way, it is a start.