The joy of remembering. We do things to feel something. To recreate something we remember liking. But what’s really of value, is that ability of ours. To like something. It’s in us.
Jail. Is the purpose to punish or protect? Do we believe in rehabilitation? Only sometimes? Or only when it’s cost-effective? What can be the purpose of punishment by itself? Is it to prevent further occurrences? I think it will cause more pain and suffering in the long run. Guilt is enough. But if somebody is dangerous, perhaps they should be locked up. But why don’t we try to learn from them? What happened? Who creates crime? When do we take time to analyse our society and how it really ticks? The best deeds go unrewarded. A crash happens and then there’s a lock-down on speeding. Too late! This is the greatest sign of ineptitude! George Bush’s administration finding “terrorists”, keeping them on their toes (lol) after 9/11. Hello! Things that could have been brought to our attention *yesterday*!
The death penalty. Is it too expensive to keep them alive? I guess they’ll learn their lesson alright. It’s completely ridiculous and inhumane. It’s murder. Why does the state have the right to kill? Don’t prisons make money from the work of inmates? How can you be proud of a society that values life so very dearly? That is built on fundamental contradictions?
Morality. Saving five people to kill one. Those puzzles where you’re given hypothetical quandaries to ponder over. You have to weigh up the options and decide. As if it has anything to do with ethics or morals. I’m sure it can be a good exercise. But the whole point is that it depends. It’s like improv. You start making up details as you go along. Try to take it in an interesting direction. Not one where everything is obvious. A different way each time. What are some possible circumstances where it is okay to kill? How can we put a slight twist on those to make it not okay again? And then back to okay once more? Maybe you’ll learn what’s really affecting your choices. What’s really important.
Knowledge. Wishing you hadn’t found something out. Can’t be undone. Lying to yourself to protect something else. In a good way or in a bad way. Telling children not to tell anyone about something because adults can’t handle dealing with it. Or choosing to take the hard road with something. Making a personal decision to let something slide. Of course you’ll wonder about whether you were right to do it. It can get confusing. Did anybody else know? Were they thinking the same thing as me?
Intelligence. Nobody seems to like it. Being capable of something. Or being controlled by others. People really do fear it. Why is he thinking about this so much? What sinister plan does he have in store for us? The misconceptions. That knowing a lot makes you intelligent. That smart people have some clever trick they use to memorise and learn about things. Some healthy juice or diet that keeps their brains in good condition. People choose to switch off. They hate those twenty seconds it takes to figure out 16 times 22. The excruciating five seconds spent figuring out 24 + 57. A groan accompanies the realisation of the work ahead of them.
And yet smart people aren’t that smart at all. They barely demonstrate the full potential of the human brain. As a culture, we actively discourage intelligence and then wonder with amazement how smart people do it. It’s simple. They didn’t inhibit themselves the way everyone else has. Their mind is free. Use what you have. Don’t stop every minute to say how much it hurts or how that’s good enough. We can do amazing things and shouldn’t keep restricting ourselves the way we are.
When a child makes an insightful observation, don’t chastise them and don’t humour/patronise them. Treat them with respect and honesty. There’s no need to start giving them emotional issues related to the way they think. Just let it be. Encourage them and be yourself. There is no such thing as a normal person. There are no rules. Just what you personally believe in. Don’t correct them into the proper way they should be behaving. Remember when you were a child and couldn’t believe the atrocious, hypocritical, arrogant attitudes of adults – to eachother but especially towards kids. Don’t become a part of the cycle. Children learn bad habits from the people in charge. They don’t want to judge. They just reflect. Bounce your own rules back at you. They try to do the right thing and only complain when there’s an inconsistency. So don’t have rules. Just be good.
What about those life lessons? Aren’t some kids selfish? Don’t they just need to learn how to share? Maybe. I’m not sure. I think it’s more a matter of learning to be selfish and then getting away with it for a while. Living like a king. And then it all comes crashing down and they cry. They were taught that it was okay by others around them. They indulged in an easier way of life – thinking only of yourself. Adults go through these phases as well. The crying is unnecessary. As long as the way you live is good from the beginning.
If the only mistakes we made were one-offs here and there, there would be practically no pain or confusion in the world. But we repeat the same ones every day, every hour and moment for years. We get messages from everywhere that maybe our system isn’t perfect. Half of them we actively dismiss, especially if they come from someone lower than us. The rest we keep a secret to ourselves. We struggle to change. It’s too hard. And the reason is because we make it hard for eachother. The first thing we do when we see someone trying is laugh at them. You’re only laughing at yourself. Completing the act of destroying yourself, destroying everything humanity could ever be. Someone else might have started it, but you took it to its completion. Embraced a world of hatred. Accepted that you didn’t have the guts to be better.