Thursday, 15 November 2012

A more detailed look at intolerance

I used to hate Racism.  I don’t anymore because I understand it now.  I can see clearly that the conditions for Racism to flourish are very prevalent in our world and due to this I can no longer be so irrational about it.  Put simply it would not make any sense for me to go hating people who are actually victims of the world they live in. 

I know exactly how that sounds, it’s like I am excusing them isn’t it?  I am not excusing anything and to be honest if I witnessed Racism I would crack, I have before.  So what exactly am I saying here? I mean it all comes down to either or doesn’t it?  No it doesn’t, nothing is black and white, excuse the pun given the subject matter and context!  Think about how we view the world. When we look at any particular subject there is an automatic tendency to either support or oppose it, this principle is almost universal.  People are very quick to support or oppose things, too quick, often when sides are being taken there has not been a lot of thought about the matters at hand and they also often take sides without knowing a lot about the subjects being discussed. 

Racism is in its essence very negative and when you begin to look at and understand the principles surrounding negativity you will start seeing that when people act negatively towards a negative force all they are doing is perpetrating it.  No matter how much they justify it and no matter how well they mean, attacking something negative is nothing more than a reflection of it and therefore no good whatsoever can come from this counter action for it will only serve to eventually create more negativity.  When I began seeing these principles in action I started noticing them everywhere in our world and when I got speaking to people involved and also reviewed my own negative past it became obvious that people become so lost and embroiled in the acts themselves that being positive could not work in many cases, it is almost like putting two opposing magnets together, they repel one another.  People in a negative state of mind cannot see things any other way, unless they take steps to address the issues at hand and that process can take years.    

I see things very, very differently recently.  For the last three years, especially, I have been studying intensely and nothing will ever look the same again.  The main difference in my thinking has been the ability to take matters down to their lowest common denominators and see them from the point of view of the principles involved to do this a firm grasp of subjectivity and less reliance on emotion is essential.  When looking at matters such as Racism or any intolerance people use their emotions which only serves to distort the subject.  A heavy reliance on emotion often makes people completely overlook important issues surrounding context and can cause them to see things singularly.

For an example of this lets say that a person loses a close family member during the troubles in Northern Ireland.  Obviously they’re going to feel terrible so they begin harbouring hatred for the Terrorist organisation that carried out the murder.  Over time they begin to believe the community that the terrorists come from are sympathising with the terrorists so they now have anger towards a whole group of people, most of whom are innocent.  The circles they are mixing in have many people with similar views and they themselves end up becoming part of a terrorist organisation and carrying out acts of the same nature as that which happened to them.  The do not believe they are at fault because they have simply followed a natural succession of paths and conclusions.  The reason why people end up taking routes such as this is because of two things:

1.  They have no concept of how their own instincts are controlling them.

2.  They have a lack of empathy to be able to see that other people feel the same way they do and so will behave in a similar way given a similar set of circumstances.  

Note the very natural tendency toward negativity in the example, this is how it works in the real world.  If a person is wronged and they begin to feel like they are being victimised or treated unfairly all the subsequent paths they take will be of a negative nature and unless they take steps to address their anger and other emotional issues, they will simply become that which they despise.  Negativity begets negativity, so it is very clear that people involved in such scenarios who do not have a good knowledge of themselves or of the emotional principles guiding humanity will simply end up following equally negative mindsets as those which have started the chain of events which occurred.

If you study History you will see this happening over and over again, everywhere in the world with all types of people in spite of race, creed, politics etc These principles are Universal and none of us can escape that, it is FACT.

Racism and Sectarianism are virtually indistinguishable the difference obviously being that one is on race terms and the other on religious grounds.  The reason why I can see things how I do is because I have looked very closely at how and why people end up behaving in a certain way and I believe this is absolutely essential if we are to understand how these people come to have such extreme views.  It is fine to say that certain behaviours are wrong but simply doing so does not address the fact that human beings keep ending up with extreme views, we really need to start looking at how this is happening rather than trying to find ways to punish people for what they have done wrong there needs to be some open mindedness as to how it is occurring, generation after generation.

Rather than just categorising people the basics of psychology need to be taken into consideration to widen and better understand the principles and reasons for exactly how this keeps happening.  The reason why we keep making the same mistakes is because we’re constantly allowing our base instincts and emotions to lead our thinking instead of relying on rational and the basics of psychology to better understand one another.

Believing that the world is made up of good people and bad people is a completely outdated mode of thought which is doing nothing except keeping the world just as it is. Circumstance makes people what they are so if the conditions for EVERYONE were better people simply would not be so prone to follow such negative views.

Of course this is just my opinion isn’t it? Actually it is less about this being my opinion and more just about it being common sense.  There is this constant thing that people do which makes serious issues get over looked and that is the blatant overemphasis on WHO is making the statements rather than the truthful and methodical reliance on what is being said.  Peoples views are frequently ignored because of the personality of the individual and the very suspicious nature of how we look at one another in the modern age.

This is not about me, it’s about humanity.  I know many people think that the only way to defeat Racism is to oppose it but as I have outlined earlier all that is doing is feeding it, once you give credence to something like intolerance you are recognising it and that makes it relevant and it gives strength to those who support it.  The stronger your opposition the more energy you are giving to it and more importantly the more negative you will eventually become.  Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons is still, ultimately, doing the wrong thing.

The anti capitalist protests for instance.  The whole thing begins as a march about injustice and ends up in a riot.  Many of those rioting are of the opinion that they are doing something worthwhile as they smash up buses which are then obviously taken out of service.  So a group of people try to do something for the good of the community and they end up taking key services away from that community.  Does this make any sense?  Why does this happen?  It happens because the people go out being angry at something and so they allow their emotions to get out of control and end destroying the hopes of the very people they are supposed to be defending.

Although the views of two groups who oppose each other may be very different the manner in which they act can often be very similar because the psychological patterns required to be part of a group are universal.  You will often hear intolerant people who are defending their groups actions speaking as though they are themselves victims, indeed they may feel hard done by but a lot of this is just their perception.  People who feel like victims can often be very paranoid and so they will see injustice where none exists so the more you try to present them with positive alternatives the more suspicious they become.

The situation in Northern Ireland at present appears to be pretty good in terms of Sectarianism but the conditions for widespread intolerance still exist among the young folk here.  Just last week while I was on SOS duty a group of young catholic girls whose friend was very drunk couldn’t get a taxi home.  Now the reason why is because in Belfast city centre from about 1:30 am until about 3 am it is virtually impossible to get a taxi because absolutely everyone is phoning taxis and they’re flat out busy.  They told me that taxi drivers wouldn’t take them because they were Catholics.  We got them sorted eventually but an interesting thing happened about twenty minutes later the team leader came to me and said “Remember them young girls who couldn’t get a taxi because they were Catholics?” and I was like “Yeah!” he said “I just spoke to three young ones who couldn’t get a taxi because they were Protestants!”  So even almost a generation into supposed peace the young people are still growing up with this perception of sides, a perception that they are being singled out and treated unfairly because of where they come from and what they are.    

The reason why that the facts surrounding intolerance and therefore the reasons for it are overlooked is because those who are opposing it look at it in such a point blank way, ie it’s wrong and that’s that.  Opposing something so powerful and prevalent like this means that we never get to look at the ins and outs of it or to take into consideration why perfectly agreeable people can so readily begin to support such extremes.  Knowing how people work psychologically is also very important.  When a person takes a particular point of view they often consider it to be a stand of sorts and since people are very stubborn they can often defend even the most absurd theories just because.  Since very few people actually study the subjects they discuss in detail what you often hear from them are bullet points which are simply regurgitated sentences which they have heard elsewhere.

So I hear people ask do we just allow those who are being intolerant to do so?  To be honest I cannot see that opposing it will do any good.  Like so much else in this harsh world, shit happens and it’s not up to us to change the world, we couldn’t even if we wanted to.  So what then do we do?  Well I believe you have to let go of matters which you cannot control.  If Racist or Sectarian individuals carry out acts of that nature they will have to deal with the consequences but as I have outlined opposing it will only serve to cause the whole thing to get even more out of control and will indeed draw positive right thinking people to end up simply mirroring the actions of those they are supposed to be against.

I believe the only way to do things is to look elsewhere for a place that you do something for the greater good. Ultimately I also believe that reflection is essential and that only by looking at ourselves and overcoming our own emotional difficulties can we hope to spread the idea that anger and aggression only serve to create more anger and aggression.  This world is not going to change quickly, that hope is unrealistic, all we can do is begin with ourselves and allow things to develop from there.    

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