I remember – ever so vaguely – from high school or maybe junior high, the lessons about socialism and communism. I remember Thomas More and his Utopia – which I have never read, but actually am right now putting on my reading list – and Marx and Owen etc. Well, okay, I don’t remember other names for I am bad with names, but you get the picture. What stuck with me most, though, was one of these utopian communities, can’t remember which one the teacher used as the ultimate example, but it left an impression on me. Not really because of the actual philosophy of the society but because it failed, like they all did in the end.
[Utopian socialism according to Wikipedia, with a list of these utopian societies]
My take on human nature is that we are evil, controlling, rotten, selfish, jealous and greedy (money, power, whatnot). Of course that is a very sqewed picture and there is a lot of good in the human population too, but the longer I live, the stronger I feel about the basic rottenness of people. We are not improving by the degeneration, we are degrading. New technology gives new ways to control others, to gain power over others and spread it more widely. On the surface we are humanitarian and out societies (in the Western Wolrd) are good and caring and rich and whatnot. Under the surface the game is the same, always.
Lately, I have been watching the tv series Gilmore Girls from Netflix, maybe diving in a bit too deep and letting it under my skin. At the age of ten or eleven or so, that happened to me with this Australian series Skyways and I vowed then that I wouldn’t let that happen anymore. Well, you know how those things go. Anyway, watching this series that is only a notch above your regular soap opera and reading the news about Burkina Bans and whatnots, and having heated discussions with my highly judgemental husband about burkinas and transgenderisms and all sorts of controversial things, I have come to feel my depression of the world and the utopistic nature of my idealism very keenly again.
My idealism goes in the lines of live and let live. I believe that the world could be a wonderful place if people just let go of their need to control others and instead embrace our difference, meet people as they are instead of trying to streotype them or fit them into some predefined box. Back when we had just started dating, my husband tried to figure out my core personality. I was in a turbulence back then, my core personality was veiled by the flippancy of my core personality deficiency and the shadow personality that had emerged during the horrid years of my marital crisis and divorce. He eventually gave up trying to box me, when he started to know me good enough that that was not necessary anymore.
The point here is simply that I understand the human nature. I understand the need to organize the world and understand it and eliminate the threat of the unknown. For some people it is more important than for others. The more judgemental people – like my husband and my grandma (rest in peace) both of whom I love immensely – have a bigger need to control the environment than the less judgemental, the perceiving people, like myself. Priviledged people tend to be more controlling because they believe they have something to lose if others are allowed to run wild. The non-priviledged couldn’t give a rat’s ass about how the neighbor conducts his or her business, as long as the neighbors don’t interfere with them either.
I think it’s extremely sad that people cannot just live and let live. What is it to you if someone was born a girl but figures out later that they actually are a boy? What is it to you if someone wears a full body swimsuit to the beach if they are happy? And what is it to you if someone doesn’t want to eat meat for ethical reasons or the other way round, enjoys meat? What is it to you if your neighbor wants to dance naked in the living room with a pineapple hat on his head? I just want to live in peace without my neighbors yelling me to stop smoking or shut the dog up or telling me when to grill and when to sit outside and when not to. And I believe in returning that courtesy.
Live and let live, as long as you don’t hurt others. Sure, if my dog barks too much or my music is too loud and disturbes, the neighbor has the right to ask me to do something about it and vice versa. That’s why I’d actually like to live the hell out there, where the nearest neighbor is like a kilometer away. I have no right to do hurtful things – but living my life the way I want to is not being hurful. If I was gay, I am the only one that concerns. If I like to eat in bed and sleep in crumbs I am the only one it concerns. But as soon as my deeds have consequences on other people, we need a consensus od what is ok and what is not.
That is what society is all about. The mutual courtesy rules. It’s just that I believe in a minimal amount of rules and that if everyone lived according to the golden rule of “do as you would be done by” or as my mom taught me: “don’t do as you would not want to be done by”, we could live in harmony. No unnecessary bitching and controlling and bickering and pushing for one’s own interest, for everyone would simply mind their own business and be mindful of others around them.
One of the most misused phrases is “I am not responsible for your feelings”. It is the truth, in it’s core sense, but it does not mean that it’s ok to do whatever and be inconsiderate to others. The only way to determine where the line between the correct and incorrect understanding of this consept goes, is to go by the golden rule. Especially in a relationship but really in all life, in all relationships. Live and let live. Do as you would be done by. Keep your nose in your own business. Stop trying to mold other people to your own ideology.
And here I am, doing exactly that, justifying it by the idea that if everyone just lived like I believe is right, the world would be a better place. Isn’t that the exact thing everyone believes and the exact thing I am critizising here? Trying to push my own ideas to others? I watch Gilmore Girls, and while understanding that it is just a tv soap I can’t stop thinking how stupid those people are with their drama and not talking and mothers and fathers trying to push their offspring to live the way THEY want them to live and stopping to talk to each other when they don’t see eye to eye. The sad thing is, I know this is the reality for so many. My own mother was doing a whole lot of the same too.
Last night we got into a debate with my husband, over the issue of pushing one’s own agenda forcefully on others. The example was homosexuality and the rights of gays. I said that if nobody would have set a rule and try to control people’s sexual tendencies and behavior in the first place, there would be no need to push the issue. Take the ancient world before Christianity. It was a norm, not an issue. My husband said, “but the rule exists, so why can’t they just live and not make noise?” We got into a cycle where I was talking about a utopia, a society that does not exist, where there are no predefined this is rights and that is wrongs and people just live and let live and no one needs to make a fuss over anything. Everyone is equal in their rights. My husband was talking about this society here.
I realize the reality. People are greedy and controlling and even the best efforts in building a society like I dream of have failed, always. I am an idealist and occasionally I feel very depressed because of the understanding of this. Wetlschmertz. World-weariness. Couldn’t we at least try? Let the muslim women swim in their burkinas, it doesn’t make them terrorists. Let the transgender people have their non-offensive pronouns. Let the neighbor have their big grill and BMW. It’s not away from you. Live and let live. Mind your own business.