Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sudden Inspiration: Dissonance

I wrote a post a while back on this blog called "Virginity." That post nearly ended the journey that this blog has been since I started it almost a year ago. I was told to stop writing, that my philosophizing and thinking were dangerous, and some people decided to believe things about me that weren't true without asking me about them.

What's funny about this is how common it is to the human experience.

Some people are assuming things about Rob Bell's new book a month before it's even out, and they're hysterically proclaiming the same things they have been since his "Velvet Elvis" came out years ago. Some say he's a heretic, some say he's a universalist, some say he's a revolutionary. Regardless, people are reflecting who they are out into the world and awaiting a response.

They are proving they exist.

This blog is a method of proving that I exist, because I live in a world where comfort is valued over authenticity, loudness is valued over clarity, and speed is valued over truth. This may not be the case for the entirety of the world, but for my environment, it certainly is. So I feel out of step, and so I come here and I write. To express myself, to be authentic and say what I think is true as clearly as possible.

For a long time I wrote angrily and allowed my passions to guide my words. The problem with that was that I would come back to my posts 3 months later and want to wipe them off the internet, because I thought they were worthless. Furthermore, I didn't benefit anyone by doing that, I only created more of the wrong kind of dissonance, more of the chaos and the misunderstanding and the promotion of ignorance through emotion.

Some people are very liberal, some people are very conservative. Regardless, they all believe they are right, and they all are out to benefit the people they find to be worthy, and they are all trying to prove they exist. Their expression is their way of shining, of being alive, of being with people, of throwing themselves out there, saying "I'm here. I want to connect. Someone read. Someone respond. Someone pay attention, I have important things to say."

To express oneself well, to write or speak or create art so people will see and want to see more, one must rise above their own perspective. I am convinced, through my interactions with people, that some never will. This is not because they can not, but because they will not. Maybe they are too afraid, too broken, too angry, or maybe they just don't care. There is certainly no shortage of apathetic people anymore.

Being united by a common enemy is easy. It comes as naturally as breathing, because humans are meant to stand against something. We don't really know what, so we might try and figure out intellectually what is true and apply logic as our weapon, or we might simply react out of passion or whimsy to what we like and dislike. Maybe some are simply out for themselves, and it works for what they want to do. Maybe some hate themselves, and they've made that work, somehow. But regardless, we stand on something, even if it's in reaction.

The problem with declaring a person your enemy is that to truly oppose a person, you must make them a demon. They must no longer be human, but a force, a moustache twirling evilly intentioned monster out to do the world harm. To appear more reasonable, you can pay lip service and give the benefit of the doubt to them (and indeed, most charismatic leaders of militant forces do just that), but ultimately you oppose them because they are doing something evil.

So maybe some people are monsters. The problem is, to be human is to have some good and some evil in you at all times. To begin ignoring a person's intentions is to stop treating them like they're human, and it is ultimately a loss of perspective. No one is completely a monster, and no one is completely an angel.

I've kept writing here because I began the journey toward not allowing my personal feelings to dictate how and whether I write. I sat out on the driveway of my friends' house one day after realizing that my two biggest desires, marriage and writing, could not coexist, and I simply shut down. I swear to you, I was so overloaded with emotion and so unable to process what had happened that I simply left for a while.

Rebooted. Restarted myself. Dropped everything I could out of who I was and came back.

The spark was still there when I came back. I write because if I don't, I will lose myself. I try to gain perspective, listen to what people have to say, and write about universal human experiences because that is what matters. I admit to my faults at every turn because they are true, and no matter how frustrating they are, I cannot be who I am not.

The angry writers, the people with presuppositions that have no fact behind them, the people that use logic and faith and philosophy and a lot of other good things as weapons, those that can't stop fighting because they'll die without something to oppose, and everything else that gets in the way of perspective, of the truth that Is, regardless of anything else, are all a fact of life.

No one's got this game right, which is why criticism is at once so important and so completely irrelevant. One must walk the line between ego attack and ad hominem to be truly beneficial in the art of criticism, and unfortunately, everyone falls too far on one side or the other most of the time.

I am inspired by the right kind of dissonance, the kind that stands as a harmony with everyone that is yelling that they exist. The people that live this way do so out of choice, and their emotions and logic never quite align with the truth of the way they choose to live, because it's so contrary to our impulse to protect ourselves and to fight to survive. They are not threatened by criticism, by anger, by threats, or by death. They are who they are quietly, confidently, and their strength is usually not recognized because it's not obvious in any way. They find the truth in every person, in every philosophy, in every religion, in every position, because everyone's trying to make some sense out of life, and everyone has a piece of God in them.

This is such a weird way to live because it's upside down from the power seeking norm, and it can never fully align with any philosophy, any emotion, any lifestyle, because it's being in harmony with oneself, and what makes one human.

I am still a Christian because Christ is the only example I can find of a person that could have possibly done this perfectly, and I believe he did and still does, for completely unprovable reasons. The fusion of God with humanity saw completion in him, and in light of that, I simply cannot be the angry person I was anymore, nor can I sit around upset because of philosophies or theologians that spout rage and ignorance. I can no longer be completely offended by opposition and personal attack because I understand it, because it is unimportant in light of what is true about it, what I can learn, and mostly because I have lost the ability to care about it through many circumstances, which I am thankful for.

I am a poor example of the dissonant and objective person, as this post probably indicates, but it is what I aspire to be.

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