Don’t Hide Your Light Under a Bushel
In this age of political correctness, racial profiling, special investigations, public assassinations and homogenized intellect- uality, is it any wonder that we have such difficulty talking intelligently with anyone without having to identify which side of the trending news or social gossip we align ourselves with? It seems that we must we pledge allegiance to a particular party, team, special interest group or underdog minority before anyone will consent to have a honest conversation with us. Now that we are just beginning to realize our privacy has essentially been obliterated, do we really believe that the Thought Police are listening? Does the Ministry of Peace have spies in our neighborhood groups? Is Winston Smith no longer the only one who must admit that two plus two now equals five? There seems to be a trending unconscious paranoia and public obsession with maintaining safety in anonymity while appearing to be in alliance with the socially perceived “winning” side. Why?
We seem to have become overly concerned with how others see us. The perception of our public image has become a very powerful focus. This has been strongly driven home by our witnessing the media unearthing every little thing that anyone of any notoriety has ever done. Everyone and everything is being investigated for some form of corruption. As a result we have become blame and prosecution crazy. Why and how has this become the dominating American focus of our time? I believe that this stems back to a “systemic” halted growth in our process of maturity and emotional development. How has this happened?
As we grow as children, we are trained to regard our parents as the authority for what we can and can’t do in our daily lives. For the things we want to do but are forbidden by them, we tend to do them anyway and then remain on the lookout for our being discovered by them. This trains us to pay more attention to what our parents perceive and believe is important than what we believe is right or appropriate for ourselves. As we get older and as our parents are either unable or unwilling to relinquish control over our lives and all along preventing us from maturing past them, we cut loose from them by transferring this feeling of authority to the outside world. Now the police, government, our bosses, our psychologists, our contemporary thinkers, our religious leaders take the place of our parents dictating what we can or can’t do in our daily activities. Over recent years, the media, with all its pundits, experts, priests, pastors, officials, social “elders” and investors seems to have been substituted for this parental authority.
This has augmented a tremendous undercurrent of paranoia in the average person. Most everyone seems to be petrified of being exposed for some social or legal infraction causing them to say and reveal little about themselves and what they’ve done or not that might seem to compromise their social standing. This has radically changed how we deal with the public. How does this progress?
These days it is commonly accepted that to converse with a stranger we must wade through conventional greetings that don’t really connect to the other person but only get their attention. This encourages us to believe that our safety with them can be assured and a comfortable format for interchange can be established. Saying “How are you doing?” doesn’t really want to know how they are doing but “tests the water” for our interpersonal comfort with them. Conventionally and with no connection other than this superfluous formality, it’s easy then just to move on if the comfort level doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. But these days this protective superficiality has extended well past initiating a connection deeply into the continuation of our conversations with them to test where the other person’s values rest. We now feel that we must ascertain who and what they align themselves with and what kind of authority or investigative media they might conform to. Even our educational system seems to have also been radically affected in that virtually no balance between progressive or conservative speakers has been allowed in college settings. Diversity of culture has become a sweeping demand effectively censoring individual opinion if it differs with the prevailing tendency toward deference in favor of socially acceptable views. Minority and special interest groups have made us feel that to express an opinion differing from their interests qualifies us as being racist and warrants admonishment or prosecution of some sort.
In our contemporary landscape social bonding has been evolving into a required alignment with others who express social dissatisfaction with any entity that expresses views that threaten their emotional security or exposes individual preferences to social scrutiny. Bonding with others through pain or dissidence is and has been an unhealthy way to approach the world. It does not allow free expression under the threat of banishment in the face of keeping up our public image.
On the surface the pendulum of free expression has reached an extreme in the suppression of allowing individual preferences to even reach the light of day under the threat of exposure, negative labeling, banishment or even persecution and prosecution.
Have we taken the requirement to align with diversity too far? Are we really threatened or offended by any opinion that even hints at diminishing or limiting any minority group’s advantage? How much handicap parking must we endure? How many languages must our official documents be translated into? How much lower must we reduce educational and skilled job requirements so we’re not seen as racist or discriminating? How much Affirmative Action must be allowed to penetrate our standards? How much must we restrict the expression or exposure of our accomplishments so those who are either challenged too lazy to work don’t feel less about themselves?
Are you offended? Yes? Well then, good! Now, get over it! You may now drink from the water trough of accountability that my offensively perceived questions have led you to. It will encourage you to dilute the indignation you’ve garnered against those who have not changed their behavior and not allowed you to project your own guilt, frailties and prejudices on them. This awareness makes it possible for you to not only recognize but to deal with your issues yourself instead of projecting them on others thereby becoming part of your shadow. Contrarily, are you not offended? Great! You are obviously not projecting anything on anyone and feel comfortable being accountable for whatever you are experiencing with me or anyone else.
As a contemporary culture we have taken the requirement for deference to the socially decreed underdog and self-censoring much too far. It’s time to allow exceptional effort and accomplishment to have full expression and exposure. It’s time to allow ourselves to express our pride and preferences to our peers and the public about who we are, what we’ve done and can do and what we like and don’t like without social emotional extortion threatening us with banishment, labeling, ostracization and persecution simply for being different from the prevailing group. Our current socially demanded and excessive expectation of modesty has become a lethal poison to our creativity. Becoming our brother’s keeper and provider has become a sanctioned monkey on our back. The concept of being of service to those “less fortunate” and in need has metastasized way out of proportion relative to the balanced importance it should have in our daily lives. It’s time to bring back the acceptance of some selfishness. It’s time to not feel blackballed or neglectful of others when we simply think for ourselves, especially, when it runs contrary to the paranoia contained in contemporary popular opinion. The age of political correctness has reached and passed its peak. We must catalyze its decline if we are to regain our self-respect and humanity…for ourselves.