Archive for January, 2013

immigrants, women, and scouts

The Article

Humor seems to be the only device that makes current news of behind-the-times action palatable, and that’s why I bring this article, written on 01/30/13 by Reg Henry of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to your attention.  After noting the “Sporadic outbreaks of sanity and common sense” involved in the push for immigration reform, the revision of combat-restrictions for women, and the consideration of the Boy Scouts to drop a ban on gay scouts, he hares off on a delightful little description of his fake website, reg-mea-culpa.com (Latin for “my mistake”), that can be used by politicians to generate letters of apology to the citizens they’ve neglected and marginalized in the past—namely Hispanics, women in the military, and gay prospective (or current and closeted) Boy Scouts.

My favorite Reg-mea-culpa letter:

“Dear Hispanics of America,

It came to our attention during the presidential election that some of you would rather have voted for a cactus than a Republican candidate on the grounds that the cactus was less prickly to your sensitivities.

Apparently some of you have mistakenly gotten the impression that we in the GOP think you are all illegal criminals who have come here to take away jobs from those Americans who, just like you, are dying to make motel beds and pick lettuce when not on welfare. We regret this impression very much and we are mucho sorry, as you say in your language. Please vote for us next time because we now believe in immigration reform. Really.

Sincerely, the RNC”

Henry’s article is a muted celebration of progressive change and as such serves to leaven the arena of discussion surrounding these issues, and although he teases the opposition, he also judiciously points out that many are now deviating from the conservative bloc to participate in an “era of reasonableness.”

The Content

While I agree that the trends evidenced by these efforts and events are positive, I must also emphasize their corollary demands for attentiveness.  For if changes are enacted without due consideration of the people subject to the policy, then we will be in for a much longer and much more arduous process of change fraught with incidents, inefficiencies, and over-corrections that may obscure progress.  The adoption of a progressive and pragmatic mindset also requires the proliferation of comprehensive knowledge.

For instance:

It seems as though immigration reform has garnered bi-partisan support more for political reasons (substantiated by the fast-growing population of voting Hispanics with whom the immigration issue is a priority) than because of an honest desire to curb the deleterious effects of ignoring or otherwise addressing the issue via punishment—both ineffective and costly methods.  I hope that the new policies are tailored to facilitate immigrants and current illegal residents toward a conscious investment in our culture by sharing and integrating their own.  I suspect that with cohesive mechanisms in place, we can expect greater appreciation for American multiculturalism and a lessening of the xenophobic vestiges of racial and ethnic hate.

With respect to greater inclusion of women in combat positions, I hope that the military identifies and fosters an appreciation of the strengths and abilities that women can contribute to modern warfare.  By updating policy to reflect realities on the ground, the military has created an atmosphere of transparency that is essential to identifying, understanding, and addressing issues that arise.  In addition, I have an idea that begs vindication: it seems that women (on average—remember that all people are sexually diverse in body and mind) might be more effective in navigating front-line activities in which civilians are a battlefield complication.  I suggest this because women, who are generally more adept at communication because of a higher attentiveness to body language and vocal tone, seem predisposed to greatly contribute to the awareness and safety of soldiers operating in complex environments that belie traditional war-zone boundaries.

Lastly, I am encouraged by the actions of Boy Scouts of America to consider the repeal of an organizational ban on gays, but it is a hop when a Wiley Coyote sling-shot leap is needed.  The repeal of the national ban would simply pass the choice on to local chapters—a move that does nothing to thwart the hate perpetuated in an organization funded in large part by various religious institutions.  In fact, those institutions seem so threatened by this possibility of self-determination that effectively embraces a marginalized population (and the consequent questioning and erosion of dogma)  that they have suspended funding or diverted it to other boys organizations that purportedly still discriminate appropriately.  What the BSA ought to do is act at a national level by implementing a policy of openness, complete with education of boy scouts and leaders about the biological sex spectrum.  Such a move would inevitably shake up the financial supporters of the group, but I suspect that for every donor that abandons the youth, another will rise to the occasion in appreciation of a truly respectful organization.

what do you think?

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for writing.

lgbt student safety

The Article

Taryn Luna of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote an article on 01/21/13 about the efforts of three entities (the Persad Center, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, and the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in hosting a “Safe Schools Summit” to identify what mechanism is at play in the failure of Allegheny County school districts to explicitly condemn the bullying of LGBT students despite higher probabilities of this population being bullied than their heterosexual peers.

I explained in my i am a heterosexual male post that this marginalized population suffers mistreatment because of a general public ignorance.  It doesn’t help, then, that when the author sets the stage for the impetus of the summit, she uses phrases that misguide us.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents are more likely to become targets of bullying in school and attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.  /  But in 93 percent of anti-bullying policies in Allegheny County school districts, there is no mention of sexual orientation, gender identification or sexual preference.”

To begin, the author groups lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents together by putting them in a undifferentiated parallel list.  The trouble is that the first two groups of adolescents describe biological sexes and sexual orientations; the third group describes a nebulous biological sex and a sexual orientation that recognizes only the polar biological sexes; the last is not a biological sex or sexual orientation, but it is instead a gender role identification that happens to be contrary to one’s biological sex.  Now, the author can’t really be blamed—this term-cluster has been around for more than a decade, and so its inherent flaws are simply a reminder that the known reality of biological sexual difference as a clear concept among the public is as yet unrealized.

Given that unfortunate state of affairs, I would like to take a moment to hash out some new term categorizations that I think would help all relevant discussion:

Biological Sex Spectrum – the entire range of humanity as physically developed by varying amounts and balances of sexual hormones

Genitalia – male, female, intersex (ambiguous), hermaphrodite (both male and female), transsexual (sexual reassignment in accord with transgender identity resolution)

Brain (Identity, internal feelings) – cisgender (same as genitalia), androgynous/queer/polygender (ambiguous), transgender (opposite of genitalia)

Brain (Role, external expression/sexual orientation) – heterosexual/straight (corresponds to opposite genitalia), homosexual/gay (corresponds to male genitalia), homosexual/lesbian (corresponds to female genitalia)

*Also note that although I’ve distinguished genitalia from the brain in making these lists, they inform each other throughout development.

In addition, and evident after a consideration of the terms above, the author’s inclusion of “sexual preference” is doubly faulted.  First, it is a redundancy: sexual orientation describes sexual attraction, and so to include “sexual preference” is to posit it as a possible choice of terminology used by school districts in policies.  Second, such a terminology implies that sexual attraction is a choice; biological science explains that it is not.  To keep this myth alive is to keep alive the myth that such an attraction can be changed—a dangerous notion that negates our comprehension of reality and maims the victims to which it is applied.

Please enjoy this cartoon from the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So in which the concept of choice is invalidated:

If it seems to you that I’ve made an awfully big stink over a few mismatched terms, then consider this: the crucial distinctions I’ve just made are the foundations of a new structurally-complex way of considering biological sex as a spectrum of development, and such distinctions are necessary to encourage the public to comprehend this complicated reality.  If it seems to you that I unfairly cut-up the author’s work, then let me say that I absolve her from fault on the grounds that the article is subject to the constraints of the medium.

The Content

The summit, at which some 200 people gathered, is just the first of a three-part project that will identify the “lived experience” of LGBT students via survey and conclude with focus groups to “develop solutions and accountability measures to take to school districts for implementation.”  This approach seems like a sound attempt at comprehending and then addressing the issue.  But it also seems like a wasted effort, and this is why: The two researchers from Duquesne University conducting the project have previously “found that one reason adolescents continue to target LGBT students is because they don’t see it as bullying.”

You ought to be asking yourself what the hell that means.  I spent a day wrapping my head around it.  I’ll start by defining bullying as the malicious intimidation and violation of another person by verbal or physical means.   If the actor does not recognize the action of bullying for what it is, then what is it, precisely, that they do not recognize?  Surely, in saying that these adolescents don’t see LGBT victimization as bullying, they admit to knowing what bullying is.  That leaves just a single element unidentified—the person.  I suspect that these adolescents don’t see their acts as malicious intimidation and violation of another person because they do not see LGBT students as people, but instead must see them as freaks, as contemptible deviants.

I can think of only two sources for this kind of mentality: religious dogma and an industry-perpetuated sexual binary.  In a practical address, I suggest two things: the promotion of a critical analysis regarding the day-to-day drivel we’re inundated with from the popular media (as I hope to have done here), and the early (before puberty) education of students with respect to the biological sex spectrum.

what do you think?

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for writing.

my creed

Knives like me,

You now know my location as well as how I comprehend the world from it.  Everything that I write from this point forward will most likely draw upon the same conclusions and values that I have already set forth.  We will observe the validity of my creed as it encounters life.

But before moving on, I would like to summarize the past three posts below:

Biological sex is something that isn’t our choice, but that does matter; it is our duty to comprehend the biological sex spectrum and to identify where we are on it so that we can both embrace others and our own dispositions.

Racial distinction is something that isn’t our choice and that doesn’t matter…except that we’ve made it matter by having subjugated and marginalized a people based upon race; it is our duty to recognize this paradox and address it as best we can.

Religious adherence (or lack thereof) is something that is our choice and that does matter; it is our duty to comprehend the context of other religions, and to deny them their practice when it inhibits education or threatens human dignity.

Each topic described a mechanism of expressing difference among humans for the sake of maintaining lesser communities than that to which I feel a part.  This is why I addressed each in turn: Humanity is my community.

I remember just two words from my greatest teacher: Slow down.  And that’s just what I intend to do here—slow down, observe, and share what I think with you.

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for writing.

i am an infidel

Why is a discussion of religion relevant?

The reason we must speak openly about our religious adherence (or lack thereof) is because it is so often the first line of support for any of our particular attitudes concerning what matters, a chosen segment—chosen deliberately because of our education—of our awareness, itself a result of our location.

identifying what matters to others (and why)

Attentiveness is biased by religion because religion claims to educate the individual—both in how things came to be and also in how the individual ought to behave given this description of reality.  Religion itself is informed by location—both in explanation of spatially different environments and also in response to temporally different circumstances.

When we recognize these factors that influence what we attend to and then how we attend to it, we can begin to comprehend the present-day stances of others—of adherents to those religions not our own—and how they came to have them.  It is important here to note that many of these stances are learned in isolation (it being common to be raised and exposed to a singular belief system, which often utilizes a self-preservative mechanism of positing others as different and dangerous).  It is also important to note that many of these stances are complex and rarely accepted by a consideration of their origins; rather, they are commonly accepted on authority alone and later validated through experience.*

 *This is an interesting mechanism of the mind, called confirmation bias, by which a belief is often only strengthened when it encounters validating circumstances, never minding invalidating circumstances (because we are deft at both ignoring contrary evidence and also at finding exceptions to the contradictions we cannot ignore).

If we fail to trace these stances back through history—if we fail to reconstruct the context of a particular attitude—then the stances often seem absurd, and to posit another’s views, from the start, as absurd is to commit an assault upon them that necessarily puts them on the defensive (a very stubborn status, and one that is unlikely to yield any of the synergistic energies we need for the mutual solutions that we seek when engaging in discussion).

In addition, validating the original reasoning behind a particular stance is important to deconstructing that stance in the present because by identifying the circumstances that make such reasoning substantial, you can—in the safe vacuum of discussion—illustrate the parallel circumstances in the present which make such reasoning unsubstantial (and thereby invalidate the stance).  By presenting information in this manner, the other (the stance holder) is not put on the defensive, but instead is forced to consider a changed environment, to admit new truths that were previously unknown, and to begin an appreciation of your perspective.

what i believe

All religions were designed by men; all are fabrications that have morphed with the fluctuations of public consciousness in order to help us live.  Historical manipulations aside, all have the same goal: to promote awareness of the human condition and attempt to teach us how to navigate this experience with confidence and peace.

By viewing religion in this way, I posit it as merely an institution that informs and guides behavior for the sake of harmony in the community.  My main contention against religion—why I abandoned the one under which I was raised—is because my concept of community is far greater than that of the religion.

The religion has a limited concept of community in part because religions are cultural artifacts.  So, despite no communication and a greatly variant experience, disparate people from all over the world established religions to explain their existence and guide their behavior.  As such local phenomena, they preserve the history of particular peoples and regions.

If my worldview is to embrace the entirety of humanity as my community, I simply cannot adhere to any one religion because to do so would preclude the rest—and all of their cultural baggage—from full appreciation, to do so would impose a hierarchy and otherwise bias my perspective and ruin my attempts at comprehension.  Because of this, I am most comfortable existing outside of religion, viewing it as an institution of lesser communities than that to which I feel a part.

so, what am i?

I am an infidel.

I reject the limitations of cloistered communities.  I reject the notion that any group of people is more special than any other.  I reject all belief systems that perpetuate ignorance.

I accept adherents to any religion so long as their beliefs do not inhibit or encroach upon those things I consider to be human rights.  I accept the practices and traditions of religious adherents that help them cope with the unknown so long as those practices and traditions do not subjugate or marginalize others.

In conclusion, I believe that religions are societal institutions originally formed to explain and navigate the human condition, that they then are subject to the knowledge and circumstance of their origin, and that the consequent teachings serve as an ultimately divisive mechanism in our global community.  By embracing current knowledge and abandoning the illusions of difference among humanity, religions are rendered obsolete; any continual appreciation of religious institutions insidiously divides humanity and encourages simplistic understandings of existence that are ultimately manifest in the mistreatment of others and the complication of human suffering.

 

what are you?  why?

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for writing.

i am white

Why is a discussion of race relevant?

The reason we must speak openly about our racial identity is because it is so often the first aspect of ourselves that others make immediate and subconscious judgments about, thus imposing upon us (before we even begin to communicate) an infinite set of assumptions—assumptions that we must address, or, in avoiding address, indirectly validate.

Race informs only our attentiveness; in the globalized world, it no longer has any relation to our location; it has never had any bearing on our awareness.

identifying the mechanism of racial distinction

Attentiveness is biased by racial distinction because racial distinction is itself an unsubstantiated fabrication, a warped lens through which our attention is distorted and misguided to the point of asserting an other—based upon superficial difference—as from a dissimilar and unapproachable location.

When we recognize the result of this mechanism—to posit others as different—we can begin to understand why it exists.  Much like the self-preservative mechanisms of religion, racial distinction seeks to divide humanity into disparate communities for the sake of intra-communal solidarity and harmony.  Racial others, as determined by distinguishing physical characteristics (mere vestiges of a different lineage’s  spatial trajectory through human history), are also assigned inferior or superior intellectual characteristics for the sake of establishing a hierarchy—most often to substantiate economic  disparities (and all of its corollary freedoms).  Racial distinction exists because it is a tool of economic subjugation and consequent political and social marginalization.

Knowing why racial distinction exists helps to explain how it exists—namely, because it is viciously reinforcing.  The economic, political, and social privilege of the self-proclaimed superior race ensures that said race operates only to maintain or strengthen the status quo.  In compliment, the economic, political, and social powerlessness of the subjugated race ensure a life trajectory of a poor education and consequent poor earnings, ad infinitum.  Those that the self-proclaimed superior race identifies as inferior are then subjected to a maddening paradox: not only is racial distinction a fabrication (and thus, originally, untrue), but its imposition as a truth—whether through manipulated and bastardized science or through inherently biased and botched statistics—effectively renders it a reality nonetheless.

If we fail to comprehend this mechanism and those subject to it (all people, for those of the self-proclaimed superior race are as intimately victimized in true comprehension of our reality—and how to navigate it appropriately—as are those who are subjugated), if we fail to comprehend the context of racial distinction, then we will inevitably bring assumptions to our interactions that inhibit an honest and open discussion.

By comprehending why racial distinction exists and how it is maintained, we can accurately address issues that plague the privileged and subjugated communities.  Part of that comprehension is identifying our own status—remembering first that we are all the same, and then that because of human manipulation we are also subject to an imposed fabrication-come-reality to which we must respond knowingly and appropriately.

what i believe

All humans are composites of their nature and nurturing; we all may fulfill our greatest potential only if we accurately comprehend each other, our needs, and our common desire for harmony.  Racial distinction is in direct conflict with this belief because it posits false differences and imposes inaccuracy for the sake of disparate gains.

By viewing racial distinction in this way, I relegate it to its proper place as a fabrication informed and substantiated by greed and perpetuated by ignorance.  I recognize it as a potent detrimental reality that requires outing as an economic ploy of dominance in order to garner an address appropriate to such a reality.

Racial distinction, then, must continue to necessarily exist in discussions of its own rectification as well as in discussions of the subcultures created in response to it.  Racial identity, then, can be a source of pride for the subjugated who have survived; it can not, however, be anything but shame for the oppressors—a constant reminder of the fragility of the human mind, of the inherent selfishness of humans that we must consciously turn to altruistic endeavor.

If my worldview is to embrace the entirety of humanity as my community, I simply cannot deny my racial identity and all of the privileges and detriments consequent of it because to do so would blind me from the true state of affairs in my environment, to do so would render me ineffective in being an active advocate for change, education, and appropriate attentiveness.  Because of this, I must do my best to identify my racial status and how such a consciousness informs my attentiveness so that I may better be an intellectually available member of my community.

so, what am i?

I am white.

I reject the notion that this fact endows me with any inherent value over any other race.  I reject the division of humanity on the grounds of perfectly normal and useful superficial differences.  I reject the belief that adopting a policy of color-blindness (which facilitates racial distinction as it becomes ever more insidiously ingrained in our culture)  or a policy of equality (which ignores the harm already inflicted upon the subjugated masses) adequately addresses the issue of racism.

I accept a policy of equity regarding racial distinction.  I accept that while race ought not to be an issue, it has become one, that it requires a multi-faceted address in the realms of education, healthcare, housing, and the workforce.

I must admit to being woefully overwhelmed by this topic.  I tell you that I am white so that you may begin to comprehend my location as a privileged person whose observations of discrimination at the personal level are scant and often muddled.  My location is isolated; my awareness limited; my attentiveness biased.  I can only wonder what reputation precedes me and paves my way.  I can only wonder what the slights and offenses against subjugated others must feel like, day after day.  I am never more ignorant than in this realm of consideration.  I am never more saddened than to consider the ruin caused by it.  But I persist in exploring this topic because  I am attempting to become an educator, and those who most need education are the poor, a populace disproportionately composed of the subjugated races.

In conclusion, I believe that racial distinction is merely a device of division and manipulation, that it was fabricated as a tool for the sake of greed, and that it relies on a woefully uneducated populace for acceptance and perpetuation.  The greater truth is that no human group as defined by spatial trajectory (and its consequent physical adaptations) has any distinct intellectual advantage over any other.  We now live in a global community; there is no excuse for hate, for it is truly only self-hate; we’re all in this life together; solutions to all of our problems require only the application of our minds in cooperation, not our might in opposition.

what are you?  what is it like?

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for writing.

i am a heterosexual male

Why is a discussion of biological sex relevant?

The reason we must speak openly about our biological sex is because it is intimately linked to the roles that we are adept at fulfilling as well as those roles that society—with seemingly infinite pressure and a total disregard for our variability—imposes upon us, and because both of these forces shape how we understand and interact with each other.

Biological sex informs our awareness and our attention; in order to obtain a more accurate description of our location (and to obtain a more accurate description of others’ locations) we must seek to comprehend the realities of biological sex.

identifying the realities of biological sex

Attentiveness is biased by society’s simplistic conceptualization of biological sex: that heterosexual males and heterosexual females are healthy developed humans, and that anything different—as evidenced by their body or by their mind—is wrong or somehow flawed.

The reality is that humans are the composite of an entire spectrum of sexed beings in body and in mind, dictated by the hormones of sexual difference.  These hormones, like all other life processes, are never dosed in perfect amounts or distributed in perfect balance throughout our development.  We, then, necessarily develop along a spectrum of biological sex—from…
feminine-primed bodies with feminine-primed brains to
feminine-primed bodies with masculine-primed brains to
feminine-and-masculine-primed bodies with feminine-primed brains to
feminine-and-masculine-primed bodies with masculine-primed brains to
masculine-primed bodies with feminine-primed brains to
masculine-primed bodies with masculine-primed brains.
This is the actual range of biological sex in humanity.  This explains the great variance of our sexed physical forms, of our sexual orientations, and of our mixed mental tendencies and abilities.

Modern society, in addition to recognizing only two variants of biological sexed development, has consequently  neglected to respect (by means of a healthy facilitation of) the very real predispositions of sexually different brains.  Therefore, when we complicate this by asserting that someone’s brain doesn’t necessarily reflect their biological sex as evidenced by their genitalia nor does it necessarily reflect a simple adherence to one biological sex or the other but rather an infinitely variable mix of the two, we encounter the great chasm of societal ignorance.

Why society is woefully uninformed about this reality is in part answered by the fact that the topic was rather nebulous until a quarter of a century ago.  Before this time, humanity was limited in its awareness by an absence of technology capable of definitively extending our reach into our own makeup and procreative process.

In addition, society seems slow to embrace and assimilate this knowledge because it threatens some of the long-standing tenets of societal institutions—namely religion and those other institutions to which it is tied—as well as some of the most profitable industries in our economy that prey upon the tendencies of our ancient minds.  By obscuring the reality of our biological sex spectrum, these institutions and industries ensure that the general public remains enslaved to the simplistic way of thinking that renders it most vulnerable.

Knowing why this simplistic conceptualization of biological sexual difference exists, we can also begin to comprehend how it continues to exist.  Those institutions and industries that derive power from our adherence have created a culture of ignorance by the very mechanisms of their operation: early admittance and ubiquitous marketing.  The industries would rather we satiate our desires than first seek to comprehend them on the off chance that our knowledge would undermine their sales; the institutions would rather we suppress our desires than seek to comprehend them on the off chance that our knowledge would undermine their teachings.  In either case, our knowledge engenders their power.

When we embrace the human mind for all of its flexibility, we can fully appreciate the intensive care it ought to receive with respect to how it develops and how it might best be facilitated in optimization.  This variability and flexibility is nature creating well-rounded individuals for a diverse and sophisticated population.  We have plenty of problems; we needn’t start calling something smart stupid.  Instead, our efforts ought to be to discern our own strengths, evaluate our possible predispositions, and determine appropriate avenues for their expression.

what i believe

All humans are subject to their environments, and so develop in great sexual variation.  No particular sexual development is greater or lesser than any other; we can exhibit great sexual difference in both physical and mental dispositions, yet remain human and deserving of a human’s dignity and opportunity.  The simplicity of biological sex as propagated in the general public is in conflict with this belief and causes undue hardship on all humans, particularly those who do not align with the overly-simplistic popularized polar categories of heterosexual male and heterosexual female.

By viewing human development with regard to an entire biological sex spectrum, I assert that sexual differences do not constitute unapproachable others.  The construct of distinct heterosexual sexes is a malicious mechanism for maintaining both a religious dogma and a senselessly inflated industry.

Comprehending human development as it truly is affords us the real template of human possibility and can be a boon toward greater knowledge about how variously-sex-developed brains best operate and how disparately developed people can better communicate with each other.

If my worldview is to embrace the entirety of humanity as my community, I simply cannot deny my biological sexual development and all of its technical implications because to do so would inhibit my knowledge of why and how I think and act, to do so would challenge my capacity for self control and my ability to reach out to others.  Because of this, I must identify with my predispositions, use their momentum, and navigate their pitfalls in my pursuit to communicate with others.

so, what am i?

I am a heterosexual male.

I reject the notion that my sexual preference is anything other than the result of a hormonal trigger.   I reject the division of humanity on the grounds of perfectly normal sexual preference differences.  I reject the notion that sexual preferences can be altered by social conditioning except in a detrimental way.

I accept a policy of equality regarding the recognition of homosexual couples as well as anti-discrimination policies concerning homosexuals and transsexuals.  I accept the adoption of an equitable policy concerning education in addressing the physically different compositions (and inherent tendencies) of different sexual brain types.

I tell you that I am a heterosexual man so that you might better comprehend the force with which I address this issue; it is entirely outside myself, yet is so pervasively evidenced in our culture that it, like a brick to my face, insults my intellect and, like a firebrand to my heart, harms those I value as responsible and loving friends.

In conclusion, I believe that the gross ignorance of the human condition with respect to its entire biological sex spectrum is perpetuated by industry and dogma for the purpose of financial gain and political control.  In addition to stigmatizing and marginalizing a significant portion of our population, it inhibits the proper recognition of self and the chance at properly identifying appropriate behaviors for all.

what are you?  what is it like?

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for writing.

a call to action

If we could only comprehend each other…
…then we might stop killing each other.

Stop killing each other.  I know it seems the most expedient way to get what you want, but there is another, more optimal way: start talking with each other.  Through discussion and cooperation, we can revise and resolve all of our issues without violation and violence.

WITH

is a meaningful word.  It encompasses the communal aspect of talk, the sharing that is necessary for comprehension.

What we share is our understanding—merely a reality described by our perception.  We must, however, recognize that our perception is limited by our sensory awareness and then by our sensory attentiveness.  When we admit these limits, we assert that our understanding is simply our best description of our location, and as such is not necessarily a true description of reality.

What we gather by sharing is comprehension.  In order to form a greater knowledge of our actual environment, we can construct a composite reality by embracing all other encountered locations.

LOCATION

is the root difference between us all.

We seem to balk at this—especially us of the digital age—because it describes a limit to our lives, an impossibility of true empathy with others.  Such a notion, however, is unfounded; it neglects a greater truth: that those classifications do nothing to limit the infinite variation of humanity.

So, even though we all have a particular origin, a particular bloodline, and a particular niche at the present—we all also have an independent mind, just as subject to “mutant” thoughts (read: imagination) as our bodies are to producing mutant cells.  Such an occurrence facilitates adaptation, ensuring our continued survival in an ever-changing environment.  Such an occurrence facilitates true empathy even when our locations and consequent perspectives are wildly disparate.

One of the methods we have for expanding our own location is through the augmentation of the capacities of our bodies and thoughts with tools that expand our sensory awareness.  Yet greater exposure is nothing without contemplation.  We seem to claim that exposure is like a light bulb—you are in the dark, you flick a switch, and all is made visible.  But even when all is visible, all is not seen.  Exposure is only the beginning; it is mere awareness, and what matters next in our journey to comprehension—where we most often fail—is attentiveness.

ATTENTIVENESS

describes what aspects of awareness we consider before acting.

Our attentiveness is, unlike our awareness, under our direct control.  Awareness is an imperfect perceptual imposition; only through scientific application and focus can we reliably augment it.  Attentiveness, however, is our constant choice: identifying what matters so that we might conduct ourselves accordingly.

As a matter of choice, attentiveness demands education.  Uninformed decisions equate to ignorance, and it is the duty of this generation to use what is at our disposal to learn about our world comprehensively.  We have the opportunity to be wiser than our ancestors.  We are no more intelligent than any human in recorded history, but we have greater access to the truth of things than ever before.

a call to action

Study yourself; study the world.  To make no attempt at comprehending our world is to kill another; to make no attempt at comprehending yourself is to consign yourself to a life of confusion and needless torture.

I am not spouting hyperbolic drivel.  I have hurt others with my ignorance—physically and mentally; I have killed another—maybe scores of others—by simply doing nothing, by living a “normal” life in America.  This recognition is necessary to motivate my change as a person, as an individual in this great collective of humanity.

So, please reply in kind when I talk with you, when I share my location, and when I guide your attention to what I think matters.  Our conversation is the cooperative pursuit of comprehension.

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for writing.

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