I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I have definitely noticed that conversation, especially on social media, if you can even call it conversation, is being forced against a binary view of the world. You’re good or you’re bad. You’re racist or you’re anti-racist. You’re woke or you’re ignorant. You’re privileged or you’re oppressed. You’re contributing or you're consuming. I think for the sake of ire and urgency, the binary model works. In fact, I’ve utilized it myself. But for nearly everything else, it’s insufficient.
For most of us, neither our followers nor our critics will be present in the moments that matter. They won’t be able to shine their light of critique or applause when we make the decisions that most impact our lives and the lives of others. For most of these moments that matter, we will have to rely on ourselves, or at the very least, default to what we know. Moments where we choose to speak up or not. Moments where we defy our instincts and risk ourselves for someone else. Moments in our mind, where we give the benefit of the doubt or we relent to our prejudice.
The binary doesn’t work to affect these moments. These moments don’t allow for your black and white modality of good or bad or Democrat or Republican or woke or ignorant and more importantly, the moments don’t care.
The moments will instead expose who you really are. What your values consist of. Your vision of your best self. Why you act the way you do. Why you harbor the suspicions and doubts that you do.
In a few weeks, months, years, your timelines will change, the most important thing of the day will change, but you’ll still have to deal with yourself.
Of all the shit happening right now, I’m extremely thankful that so many of us are being forced to answer to ourselves. Beyond feeling guilty for posting or not posting or being a liberal or a conservative, a lot people are having to ask themselves things like: “Do I fundamentally believe I am better than others?” “I’ve always considered myself a good and just person, but do any of my actions actually prove that?” “I thought I was thoughtful and discerning, but do I just believe whatever I see?” “Why do I have the belief systems I have? How did they even get there?”
This is what will change generations. This grappling - the war within. The most violent things need to be happening within you - fighting tooth and nail for truth and clarity. This war within will change what and how you teach your children. How you care about your neighbors. How you behave when your actions aren’t recorded and scrutinized. Fight the war within for the moments that matter.