I love a good discussion. Particularly those which focus on issues which are most likely to lead to an all out argument. When passion becomes wielded as a weapon. When common sense is replaced with hate. When your closest friends or colleagues become dangerous enemies. All because somebody said “I fucking hate immigrants.”
I was privileged to partake in one such discussion last night. It was most entertaining. I was given the opportunity to strike with my favourite passive arsenals. My ego was allowed to thrive in silent self proclaimed superiority. Go you immigrants!
After just ten minutes, the argument spiralled in to all out hate-labelling session. No doubt you’ve experienced them before. “You know who I hate more than immigrants? The Chinese!” This of course followed with a chorus “hurumph!”
I would have loved to stay on and bare witness to the ensuing hours of racist ramblings. Unfortunately, my patience was waning. I had hoped for some open-minded collaboration from my peers yet knew that time window had passed. For me it was time to dust off the hate and stroll the streets in search of a dessert to wash the sour taste form my mouth.
Upon awakening I felt compelled to reflect upon this fresh interaction. It was, objectively, a most fascinating display of the human condition. A private display of our own tools for vocal trade. Some loud and obnoxious, some waiting for queues to follow and myself, calmly and patiently highlighting hypocrisy.
One asset offered by such interaction is growth. I believe, if upon entering such conflict, an aspiration is held to challenge and be challenged, a great deal of learning is available. Unfortunately, in most of my personal experiences, this is certainly not the case. When overcome by emotions as powerful as rage, instincts to stand your ground and survive cast deep shadows over potential learnings.
It reminds me of a suggestion passed on by a uniquely intelligent friend several months ago. “If you’re looking to prosper in self, aim to be the dumbest person in the room.” Simple stuff. And I look forward to any opportunity where this is indeed possible. In the meantime…
Getting back to the poor old immigrants. An issue hot on the lips of many. I’m yet to get off the fence. With the ability to resource objective information which is free of agenda being near impossible, I choose to remain neutral. Enjoy the thrills of playing devils advocate against those whose passions condemn or those whose hearts bleed. Safely hidden behind my own fear: the ridicule for choosing the wrong team.