"All men plume on the advancement of society, and no man improves"
This will probably be a post about racism and sexism. There is all this talk about racism and sexism today, all this discontent. It has led to the discovery of the micro aggressions and the micro annoyances. I look ahead and i'm annoyed at what I think will be lost in the search of these gains.
"Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts."
- Emerson (I'm reading a lot of Emerson these days if you couldn't tell)
I expect the discovery of more and more micro aggressions and annoyances as time goes on. That as we rid ourselves of these micro's (Im calling it that from now on) we will reach a new equilibrium and it will be expected to not see/act in these micro ways. Once that happens society will discover even more subtle micros, repeat this cycle ad infinitum.
You see the same phenomenon in innovation. 1) Create the plane, 2) Yay! 3) New equilibrium i.e planes are expected and not super cool anymore 4) Complain about delays, the seats, the lines, how your ears hurt a little. The same will/is happening with WiFi on planes, eventually we'll complain about the slow speeds.
Gratitude isn't something that lasts for long. Eventually, it becomes expected and then we want it to be better. It seems like as things improve our discontent increases as well. We no longer feel awe when flying on planes or anything positive really. When you ask someone how was their flight you either hear a long complaint or they will say it's good because X,Y,Z didn't happen.
There are extremely high level of discontent in the areas of racism and sexism even though things are objectively better than they've ever been. This isn't to say there still isn't issues or that I think these topics should be ignored. Focusing on the micros while there is huge fundamental problems is like complaining about how uncomfortable planes are (micro) when they're crashing at an insane rate (this is obv not the case, it's a hypothetical situation). Is there even a good definition of racist and sexist anymore? Is it possible to say something that is completely not racist or sexist?
As you get into micros you get into smaller and smaller offenses and the lines become less clear. The ability to decipher what's sexist and what's racist will be blurred, especially when you don't have a strong definition for these words. You need to know for example if something that positively benefits a person can be sexist. For example if I give someone a job because she's attractive. Can something be true and be sexist? For example, if I bring up the higher levels of testosterone and the ramifications of that. If we are fundamentally different should we act as if we're the same? How does intention play a role? If I make a joke with the sole intention of making you laugh can it be deemed sexist? Of course that leads to the impossible game of trying to prove ones intention.
My issue is that with these higher levels of monitoring of our conversations in the search of a racist or sexist or even politically incorrect remark that it'll lead to this dullness of conversation. Where you can't talk about any of these issues without fear of being vilified or called out.It's like in teaching, if your student is afraid to give the wrong answer, or say something stupid a lot is lost in the process.
Conversations are essential. They're essential to innovation, happiness, love, understanding and peace (if there is such a thing). All great inventions wouldn't exist without them (hyperbole).
Take away our ability to converse freely and a lot will be lost and I'm not sure if it's worth the small gains. There are much bigger issues on these subjects than the censorship of conversations IMO. With a little bit of effort (or perhaps not much at all) you can find something "racist" and "sexist" in this post on a micro level. I couldn't help worry while writing this about potential backlash. I'm not sure if it's possible or reasonable to eliminate all micros from a conversation on the subject. All of us have committed some micro sexist/racist remark, it's almost impossible not to if you get micro enough.I believe in being able to converse freely and if you do make a mistake to be corrected (and be open to being corrected) rather than called out/vilified. As it stands now we're too worried about hurting someones feelings and sensibilities to say what we truly think.
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