Hi! Happy Wednesday!
Your daily hug is at the bottom of the page. This may be a lengthy post so take the time, get your hug, and come back to the top.
Originally I thought about entitling this blog "Empathy for All" and not "Irreni". Empathy for all is how one thinks in scale of a planet of seven billion people. There is no us versus them: just us. On this planet. Us on this planet. Us on this planet we call Earth. And wait for it...! I will get to the Data Center on The Moon by the end of this post.
When I was growing up I ran into a narrative that I could not empathize with. I was raised to be Christian. I was raised that in order to be moral and do good one needed to be a Christian. The only problem with that narrative is that it did not fit with my reality. As a child I had already met many non-Christians, non-religious and none of the non-Christians were axe wielding murderers. In fact I could not distinguish between a Christian and a non-Christian just based on how "good" someone was. Then I saw a movie with Spencer Tracy called, "Boy's Town". In that movie there is a sign that states, "There is no such thing as a bad boy." That I could relate too. I latched onto that world view and made it my own. I held that so tight. I later revised that narrative to "there is not such thing as a bad person" and so became my own person, Mybrid, and aligned with my empathy.
I want to keep things interesting by talking about Michael Brown's killing in Ferguson. There is a gangster narrative that goes like this. I took this from the web at random and this is meant to be illustrative and not personal about the person who wrote it:
After rewatching the video of Mike in the convenience store pushing the
passive store around and listening to Wilson's interview; I have to say I
believe Wilson. Mike Brown was displaying aggressive and violent
behavior in the store with a passive store clerk. His aggressive and
violent behavior in the store carried over onto the the street and Mike
basically ended his own life by his violent behavior. Even though the
police are wrong in many cases I believe that Wilson was justified in
what he did and he was simply doing his job. If someone wants to act
like a gangster; there is frequently a price to be paid; Mike was not an
The narrative here is "gangster". I have an alternate narrative equally likely. Darren Wilson claims his decision to fatally shoot Michael was premised on Michael reaching into his waistband. Assuming Darren is telling the truth then Michael could very well have been committing suicide by cop. In fact, just two days after Michael was killed a suicide by cop took place in St. Louis, Missouri close to Ferguson. This has not made the news. Why? Because the whole thing was caught on video. The cops pulled up and 20 seconds later a man was dead, a black man rushed the cops with a knife and was shot dead. Was that black man a gangster or a suicide sadness?
Did Michael Brown commit suicide by cop? I have no idea. However, he was not gangster. Michael had no prior arrests and no gang affiliation. On the other hand, teenage suicide is not uncommon and suicide by cop is on the rise.
The reason I bring this up is to illustrate how to think in scale using empathy for all. Describing
people as gangster, as innocent or evil as if there is some magical property that
flips from childhood to adult is the scalable problem. People are just
people. I have no idea if Michael was committing suicide by cop. But if he was then that changes the narrative from monster gangster to lost teenager, a teenager committing suicide. I just wander if those people who see Michael Brown as a bad person would still see him as a bad person if he chose to commit suicide by cop and simply botched the job until he reached for a non-existent gun. It would explain why Michael brought a fist to a gun fight.
As an atheist I do not believe in magic, spirits or the supernatural. There is just us. People have brains wired differently. How tragic it is that some brains tend towards hurting and destruction. I'm glad I was not born with that kind of brain. In fact, I was born quite the opposite, with empathy for all including Michael Brown.
Children are not born angry or killers. They become that way. In some respects the process is akin to evolution. Evolution is a gradual process that ultimately ends up with major changes over time. We can't see the changes and ascribe magic instead. Therein is the problem. Children start out as powerless and when they come into power and become destructive it is because of changes over time and not magic. Evil is not a spirit. Evil is just a synonym for harmful. Evil is not a magical constant state of being. Similarly, innocent is not a spirit it is a statement of fact about what happened. Describing people as innocent or evil as if there is some magical state property that flips from childhood to adult is the scalable problem. People are just people.
That is how we scale. Us versus them with seven billion people creates a lot of us's and them's forever fighting. As we scale even bigger even more so. Empathy for all is the solution.
How to realize it? Glad you asked. For now we just keep doing what we are doing. In the future we move towards the Data Center on the Moon!
What? Ok, we've all heard it lamented at some point in our lives, "Why don't children come with manuals! Manuals!" Ha! Manuals is how we realize empathy for all. Manuals of human behavior we put on the moon. Man[uals] on the Moon!
Here is a question for you: if, if children were to come with manuals then at what age does the manual stop? 18? 30? 70?
Now I can bring home how I view "Boy's Town" and "there is no such thing as a bad person". Everyone should have a manual helping them, and us, to understand their brain and that manual should cover their entire lifespan. If we had manuals describing Michael Brown and Darren Wilson we would know who they were.
Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown, was interviewed on camera today. Darren stated on camera he has a 100% clear conscience. People are creating a narrative about him, that Wilson has no remorse and is a social path or psychopath thus making him a monster. I resist. If one is born missing empathy in the brain doesn't one equally deserve to live life? Why is one automatically a monster by a simple accident of birth?
If everyone had a manual describing their brain, their behavior, and the management of both then the magic narrative goes away. Gangster goes away. We are all just people with manuals of information to understand each other and how to manage harmful tendencies. Like over eating. I need that manual. Muh ha ha!
And the Data Center on the Moon? Well, the Data Center on the Moon narrative is meant to be a cautionary tale, a manual of manuals if you will. Information is power and the ultimate power will be decoding human behavior. That kind of information needs to be in the hands of all of us and not just the few. If we put the manuals of human behavior on the Moon, we declare the moon property of all then the objectives of freedom and liberty are best served with respect to the power of understanding and manipulating human behavior.
Well come! and Well met!