My post from earlier this week was difficult. I’ve had so many thoughts running through my head in the past few days that I find myself not knowing where to start, what to include, or the best way to conclude. On top of that, everything has run through my brain so many times that I have to keep telling myself that it’s all been in my head, and that it still needs to be written down. There is also the small matter of specifics. Sometimes it’s just easier to write generically, rather than calling into play specific feelings and taking the time to explain and justify what I’m saying and how I’m trying to say it. Explanations are important, eventually.
Emotions are still running high. This trip has done nothing to calm the vibrant nerves of the presidential election results, and I’m glad of that. Our visit with Bob and Rachel created some great conversations from across different sides of the table. Neither of them voted for Trump, but they do have pretty Republican oriented views and end up voting Republican pretty consistently as a result. This vacation has been a success in that way alone, having the opportunity to share thoughts with those whom I love and whose opinions matter immeasurably. I don’t believe that either of them has been converted more towards the way that I view the world, but I do think that each of us has a better grasp on how we feel and why it is we feel the way that we feel.
Sharing opinions(beliefs) with people who do not live inside your life and experiences can be a tricky business. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s next to impossible to directly change how someone views a particular topic unless they are already coming to that same or similar conclusion on their own; this is probably why cross-table talks are difficult at times. It gets to the point where we feel the conversation isn’t worth our time, because “you’re going to walk away thinking the same things you thought before and I’m going to walk away thinking the same things that I’ve thought before as well.” This conundrum is largely, I think, an Americanized problem. We don’t want to wait for the webpage to load, we want results at the tap of a finger, click of the mouse. The conversion of opinions(beliefs) is a far subtler business, more like nursing a pineapple into maturity.
It surprises me that it’s taken so many years to make this connection, but all of this opinion(belief) changing talk reminds me of the movie Inception. You can’t just walk into a room and expect to permanently alter the core of someone’s being, who the fuck do you think you are? You have to put in the time and find the roots of their belief systems, use your linguisticly intuitive fingers and try your best to understand where they are coming from; even then, there is no guarantee your idea will grasp hold of anything permanent. As in Inception, most of our belief roots start with our parents, our childhoods, our experiences, events that are so unique and special to who we are that it’s hard for us to think anyone could possibly relate or even begin to understand what makes us, us. The goal must not be to change opinions(beliefs), the goal should be to get people thinking, so that they can come to new conclusions on their own. There is a lesson here, and it’s not deep.
I’ve learned that there is a big change that needs to be made inside of me if I truly desire to be a part of these thought provoking conversations; the changing of my opinions(beliefs). Well, not really, more like the changing of how I present them to others. As I fall further down the rabbit hole of disillusionment, disestablishment, and disappointment, I’ve noticed that my views of the world have skewed sharply to the left. I am in large part ok with this shift because of how well they match with my roots, but I’ve also noticed that people, even friends, have a tendency to shut your words out at the door, keep the core of what you are trying to talk with them about at arm’s length, if that. It’s frustrating at times, but it is the way the world works, the way the game is played. A dispassionate or moderate person is likely to tune out anything that feels like extremism, and extremists tune out fucking everything that doesn’t match directly with their credo. So, I do not want to be tuned out, nor do I want others to think that I am tuning them out. The truth is, I want to both make people think and let them help me do the same.
Change is hard. Setbacks are frustrating. Environmentally speaking, we need change now, but that isn’t how the world works. We do need to prepare ourselves for more than just thought provoking conversations, and that includes everyone sitting at the table(Earth). Let’s talk more soon.