Sunday, April 11, 2010

Warming the Cold Shoulder and Mending the Mass Media

To a degree, I have a cold shoulder towards a number of detective shows and the daily press, or, I could say, the "inflated" daily press. The reason is simple - they frequently portray quiet individuals as crime suspects, as though introversion is a negative connotation, the drive behind a sinister agenda. In an extroverted society, the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is that an introvert is often unconsciously deemed guilty until proven innocent. Not to ramble, but here is a word from Kierkegaard on the daily press, "On the whole the evil in the daily press consists in its being calculated to make, if possible, the passing moment a thousand or ten thousand times more inflated and important than it really is. But all moral elevation consists first and foremost in being weaned from the momentary. There has never been a power so diametrically opposed to Christianity as the daily press." My mind is more stimulated watching children's shows than political news. The former brings back all the basic, undeniable truths that may then be built upon; the latter is flooded with biased drivel thus giving me this strange feeling that I did my mind a huge disservice. While a person should most definitely feel free to indulge in such, as entertaining or important as it may be, as well as inevitable to assimilate in most cultures, one must maintain a sound foundation.

One must keep in mind that an over-indulgence of anything, even something as pure as water, can intoxicate, and in this case, in a way which develops unhealthy thinking habits since the mind seems to be only truly affected when slowly penetrated. Seemingly minor yet persistent things penetrate the mind over time making it difficult to ever realize the impact; hence, though quite unfortunate, the most dangerous forms of corruption are those that are subtle and below the radar. I find technology in general to be a strong force in this assertion. In the age of technology there is constant access to vast amounts of information. The basket overflows; people get overwhelmed; the eye of the storm is not so much what goes on in the world, it is the confusion of how to think, feel, digest, and react to what goes on.

To get to the central points, it is evident that normal introverts of today, who are genuinely virtuous yet show the affections in a different manner, cannot even take a dump without being accused of dropping a bomb (pun intended). It is paradoxical that, when confined to nothing more than human judgment, the majority of people fear and doubt the unknown, thereupon an emotion by way of ignorance. Now, I am aware that everything at some point has been declared the root of all evil. But if ignorance is not the root of all evil, as Plato is often credited for saying, then explicitly, it is very much so the water to the roots. Ephesians 4:18, "They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart." The result of ignorance is false and potentially malicious judgment. For instance, when it comes to judging individuals, I do not like remarks such as "too good to be true." They speak as though one is rewarding the nature of evil. Yet, ironically, we still wonder where all the good people have gone. Oftentimes such cognitive habits leave little beauty to be seen in the individual, therefore isolating his very essence: If a man cannot understand the beauty of life, it is probably because life never understood the beauty in him.

It seems as though some cultures have evolved in ways which convince one that he is mentally unstable if he is naturally more productive when flying alone. In turn, it steers him into a hole; he feels bullied for personality traits which are very difficult to steer. In result, he begins to feel and think as an enemy to other people; he is filled with a cultural guilt (which is not necessarily a moral guilt). This is why it is understandable that one can sympathize with villains and underdogs - they are obviously wrong, but it continues because, by the holiest standards, good people are not as good as they think they are. But, of course, giving or finding sympathy is not the answer - an obsession with sympathy expands, and I often say that, like crying wolf, if you keep looking for sympathy as a justification for your actions, you will someday be left standing alone when you really need help.

Now some of the most common arguments against this particular area of non-prejudgment may (inadvertently) influence a detachment - the greater solutions from the problems. You get hit the hardest when trying to run or hide from a problem. Like the defense on a football field, putting all focus on evading only one defender is asking to be blindsided. One's own functionality begins when pinpointing the lethargic solutions that influence him to remain lethargic, as these are the most brutal of human oppositions, for example, "That's the reality of it. Deal with it. Mysterious people are more likely to commit crimes." Yes, the assertion can be made, but assuredly, is not that way of thinking also what separates genius from mediocrity? As Einstein said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." In recent years, the problem is not so much the individuals behind the atrocities, those further made infamous in a stereotypical caricature, rather it is the reaction of the general public towards those being negatively caricatured. When it comes to world news, attitude is what marks the distinction between justice and vengeance. Justice is pure, but vengeance brings more ruin. In Mere Christianity (pg. 118), C.S. Lewis wrote: "The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything - God and our friends and ourselves included - as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred." Denying safety and precaution is asinine; albeit, such conceptions, in their rights, do not veritably come from man. In times of doubt, God should be sought when among the alleged perilous. If one is meant to know, as it is written, proper judgment will swiftly come and the true securities of the individual will be of solid assurance for having faith in God, James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

As a side note, the theistic philosopher has a tendency to devalue insufficient worldviews, ideologies, and quite often common sense for the greater good, and in such cases, one should not be discouraged when seen as a bad guy. When good people consider you the bad guy, you develop a heart to help the bad ones. You actually understand them. To some, this is a calling. Luke 6:26 says, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets." If he stresses over man's perception of a righteous heart, then he has given his heart to man. But know that, for positive results, if you have to say or do something controversial, aim so that people will hate that they love it and not love that they hate it. It is never ridicule, but a compliment, that knocks a philosopher off his feet. He is already positioned for every possible counter-attack, counter-argument, and retort...only to find a big bear hug coming his way. Many great and memorable philosophers, theologians, writers, poets, and even musicians were at odds with the majority during their times, but not simply because they wanted to be "rebels". Rather, they had gifted eyes and are now highly respected for them.

For instance, one of my great philosophical influences, Søren Kierkegaard, in some way related to such according to selected writings in his journal, "People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me." From personal experience, as a child, introversion is generally considered, as a natural trait, cute, but as one ages into young adulthood, the introversion starts to become a burden to the introvert. Others will at times judge him, label him incompetent or untrustworthy. In attaining job promotions, as well as finding a mate, a natural introvert must work twice as hard as a natural extrovert must work: In an extroverted society, most people seem to have empty restaurant syndrome, "There must be some kind of an issue there, so let's move on to the next one." In an extroverted society, one's outgoing tendencies are more desired than one's skills.

Albert Camus, yet another influential philosopher, similarly stated, "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." As an introvert, I am actually rather appreciative of this. At times, what I lacked socially, I would compensate for it by perfecting my talents. I like solitude. It is when you truly hear and speak your natural, unadulterated mind, and out comes your most stupid self as well as your most intelligent self. It is when you realize who you are and the extents of the good and the evils which you are capable of. Einstein puts into perspective an introvert's purpose in an extroverted society, "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." For some people, quite frankly, life is not always about trying to be different when understanding that that is actually a burden. Life can go from living to survival looking for where one belongs, therefore my dominant reminder in this case is that, as long as one allows them to, personal difficulties, in result, accentuate an individual's ingenuity; therefore, the weakness is the cause of the strength.