Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Off Sides

In reading another blog today I suddenly became very weary. I am tired of exposing myself to hate. I typically try to be tolerant of experiences I don't understand and preserve the space necessary for those whose ideas disagree with mine, even if they do so violently. But I am so very tired of experiencing others' hate. What touched me off today was a post that referenced several studies in the psychological community focusing on trauma and/or adoption. This particular post was vehemently against the language used in the abstracts of these studies and dissertations. Unfortunately the studies hadn't actually been read by the author so full critique was unavailable. However, when the phrase "wet our appetite" came up I realized my patience was about to run out.

That phrase has very specific connotations. To wet one's appetite is to prepare for a meal. A meal implies nourishment. In the context of this article the appetite to be sated was outrage. The implication that rage is nourishing is troubling but points a finger at a very unsettling truth.

Rage is pleasant.

Hate is satisfying.

The emotional catharsis they provide assuages the difficulty of the normal daily grind. It's pure Aristotle. I just wish more people were willing to look the horror in the eye and admit that the person they loathe and fear the most is very much like them. It saddens and frustrates me to see how closed people are to one another. Do we really believe ourselves to be opaque? Can I honestly believe that I have nothing in common with the person who calls me evil?

No. I don't believe we are so far removed as that. I am not inscrutable. America's obsession with "reality television" is proof of our desire to be known and understood. It is also proof of our desire to place barriers between ourselves and "the spectacle" that allows us to experience fear, loathing, and righteousness in a confined context without repercussions.

I am weary. Humanity has the chance to be amazing and beautiful. Yet so often that is disfigured.