Most of us, I am fairly sure, have heard the expression that deals with wearing “rose-colored glasses.” In essence, the expression deals not with optimism or those people who are optimistic, but with excessive or unrealistic optimism. (Kind of like the difference between giving people the benefit of the doubt and the old joke about seeing the priest/pastor/rabbi coming out of the brothel and someone saying, “Ahh, one of the poor ladies must be dying.”) The comic that follows this one originally came from a collection that was created to show the shortcomings of modern “feminism.” However, when I read it, I realized that the same image could be used to illustrate something much more profound, if you will; namely the joy-sapping burden that so many carry with them every day that causes them to be perpetually angry and unhappy with how they perceive (operative word – perceive) the world. I’ll post the comic below, then follow up with my comments on it.
As I read it, I realized that you could take that same comic and insert any of the outrage du jour “causes” that are around today, and have them apply just as well.
- Racism? To the person who chooses to see racism in everything, it would have things like: “White guys enjoying what they got on the backs of black people” (Guy with the phone); “Why is the darker colored guy the only one working?” (Guy putting up the poster)
- LGBT Activism? For those activists, it would be things like: “Denying her true feelings to ‘fit in'” (Woman with baby); “Straight couples obviously ignoring the gay man and excluding him” (the couple, talking, with the third guy sitting alone, looking at his phone)
- Extreme, judgemental “religious-ness” (and I’m a professing Christian, so believe me, I’ve seen it.)? To the person who sees everything in terms of morals and self-righteous judgement of others, it would have things like: “Obviously either a whore or gave up on her marriage” (Woman with baby); “Shameful the way they’re flirting and trying to hook up in public” (man and woman talking on bench); “Disgusting poster, and that man putting it up so others can ogle it;” (man hanging poster)
And on, and on, and on…..
I think you get the point I’m trying to make. You may be saying, “Ok, then what’s the point? Where’s the encouragement? Where’s the Boot of Truth?” It’s right here. In each and every one of the examples given, the viewpoint taken is not only unrealistic, but it’s a choice. You can just as easily choose to NOT see the world that way as you can choose TO see it that way. IS there racism in the world? Of course there is. Unfortunate as it is, it’s a part of humanity, and it’s one that deserves to be fought. Does that mean that everything that happens to one group of people is a RESULT of racism? No, it does not. IS there misogyny in the world, and are there women who are treated unfairly? You’re damned RIGHT there is. (It’s a pity that so many of the self-proclaimed feminists are so vocal about how “horrible” it is here in the USA, and yet so dead silent on how women are treated in Muslim countries, and others, but that’s another post.) Does that make men universally evil, universally the enemy, and every bad thing that happens to a woman the result of misogyny? No, it does not. In each of those examples, an extreme stance has been taken – one that makes everything that happens a result of whatever it is you say you’re “fighting against.” It literally consumes you and alters your perception of the world and the people around you.
Friends, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There ARE legitimate causes in this world. There are legitimate injustices and evils to fight against. Each of us has a limited time on this earth, and we need to be careful and cautious about what “cause” we choose to give our time to. We also need to keep one of Nietzsche’s most famous statements in the forefront of our minds while we do:
“He who fights monsters should see to it that he, himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”
Whatever cause you fight for – whatever evils you stand against – don’t let that make you see them everywhere you look. Don’t become that extremist. Don’t let yourself be swept along by those who want to hijack a good, valid cause, and turn it into a hammer while anyone who doesn’t agree with them is turned into a nail.
Have the courage to stand and say “No. The ends don’t justify the means, and this is going too far.”
God bless, my friends!