Twelve months ago I made the decision not to engage with Stoopids. For a period of six months. To let unfounded opinions fly. To accept the varying levels of educational deficiencies and life exposure, and not take on the frustration of seeing such saddening ignorance. The benefits were so life-changing, I gifted myself another six months. I am avoiding contact or interaction with The Ignorant. Or those with an inability to explore the multi-layers of any political or theological argument. I chose to step down off my soap-box and not Tall Poppy myself amidst the thousands of sheeples that on a dime, transform into abusive trolls. Be an examplar not an educator.
I have spent most of my adult life being a passionate and highly vocal advocate of human rights, anti-bigotry, and equality. A speaker-uperer of gender issues and animal welfare. I joined WWF (the animals, not the lycra-cladded) and BWC (Beauty Without Cruelty) when I was a young tween. I have been a disciplined recycler and conscious global citizen. As a kid, I suffered a myriad of detentions at school for questioning authority and pushing boundaries on behalf of others who had not found a voice yet; the value of certain school policies and curriculum. I was forced to apologise to the teachers I challenged when they concentrated on uniforms rather than our ability to read. Have championed proactively befriending the lonely and forgotten in our society. And I have done much of this with a voice. Not to proclaim any elite morals but in the hope that perhaps one person will hear my call for help, to join our very large group of like-minded people.
And until last year I was comfortable to use social media as a forum to quietly but confidently state my beliefs; debate, learn, exchange ideas, change my mind, continually be informed of, and by people with, differing views. Until I realised that even in a private and somewhat isolated place like my Facebook portal, I was communicating with people who were just plain, and steadfastly determined to remain, Ignorant.
I would physically feel the manifestation of the sadness and frustration and disbelief. I would shake, not with indignation, but a pent up need to find a way to somehow help those I was communicating with, to see a different perspective and be ok with its existence. For them to be inspired, to look at the world with an open mind. An open heart. To be kinder. To forgive. To be inclusive.
We know fear and the anxiety response to change, the unknown, can be incredbly debiliating, inhibiting. Segregating. We understand that cultures and society structures can make enemies of countrymen, of families. Exposed as an inheritance of hatred; we see the father’s eyes, in the son spouting indoctrinated vitriol. I acknowledge all the paths we have trodden as individuals, as communities. To get to this place.
And so over the last year I have found myself disentangling from heated conservation about politics or religion or immigration or racism. From grammar pedants, mysogynists, or tabloid soundbytes. Remaining passive. Not detailing media misrepresentation, or mass misinformation. Ignoring poorly qualified statements of truth. It has been bliss. A peaceful and secluded existence, with rarely an impulse to rush in, encouraging or facilitating. Leaving the people to abuse each other, to fight, or to perpetuate shockingly myopic beliefs. But my two times six months is over. I wonder what I will do?