Look, there are two worlds as far as each of us is concerned: the world behind our eyes, and the world outside.
What I mean to say is this: you as a person feel, think and believe all sorts of things.
No one outside that space behind your eyes has to believe you.
I think I’m more attuned to this than anyone else, because the space behind my eyes contains multitudes, and the feelings/thoughts/feelings are often not exactly mine. (Recently while scouring the web for reviews of my work for an application, I came across people who consistently believed that a) my characters are me. b) the romance in the books is the romance I want.
First, people who could believe I’m both Athena and Dyce need their heads examined. Second, I’m well fixed for romance, thank you. Have been for 34 years. And my husband has not a vague resemblance to ANY of the guys in my books. Not even a little. Not even when I bring out A Fatal Paws, where the husband is a mathematician. The technical name for someone who confuses character and author is “idiot.”)
In fact, because human memory is fallible and what we notice of the world is so dependent on us being ill, or distracted, or whatever, it’s virtually impossible that the world inside your head matches what really happened and what didn’t (i.e. facts.)
If you’ve ever lived with someone else you know this. Dan and I are if not similar very congruent, in that we tend to take the same conclusions from things, even if we get there through different routes. BUT if you get us into what I call “old married couple bikering” over when how or whether something happened, it can go on for hours. “No, it was a Thursday.” “It was a Wednesday. I remember because the cat was ill.” Etc. It often turns out both of us are conflating different incidents with yet a third incident, because the image of the world inside our heads got confused (and these are usually minor things.)
Beyond that, particularly if you’ve been indoctrinated or are young and stupid enough to believe the media wholesale, you’ll put bizarre interpretations on things. Which is how we get someone being offended by a picture of coal miners and deciding this meant people of color weren’t welcome at the restaurant.
His initial mistake wasn’t awful. I mean it’s stupid to say you feel “threatened” by the picture. Insulted is not the same as threatened. I’m really tired of people saying that anything that offends them or insults them is “threatening.” No, you goofballs. Threatened is when someone says “Quitcher bellyaching or I’m going to give you what for.” That’s a threat. Whether it’s a credible threat depends on the size of the person saying it and whether they’re holding a weapon. If it’s a 90 lb woke woman saying this to a 300 lb man it will be treated as a joke, no matter how much she thinks she is “90 pounds of get back.” Which yes, is based on a real incident, and again goes back to how the world inside your head doesn’t match the outside. No matter how many movies you’ve seen where the amazing! Feminist! woman! just beats a 300 lb man with no effort, reality is likely not to match. And if, unlike that incident, the man is of a mean disposition and unchivalrous, the mismatch with reality is going to hurt a hell of a lot, even without his trying.
But if you’re a city-bred twat I can see looking at the picture with the minors WELL DRESSED (by our time’s standards) and in what appears to be black face and being offended. However, once someone explains the context to you, to double down is a thing of madness. It is in fact, bad crazy. I.e. an insistence that people cater to the world inside your particular head and not to reality.
You see, most babies realize there’s a difference between the world behind the eyes and the world outside by I think around six months. They see the difference between me-not me. I.e. you can move your foot, but you can’t move the mobile over the crib, unless you kick it with your foot.
But we have raised generations of kids by telling them their feelings are important, and yes, that disagreement or argument is “threatening.” So they’ve lost that distinction.
I can no longer find it, but one of the private conferences I frequent, had a video of a woman telling a guy wearing a MAGA hat is racist because she FEELS it is and feelings are real.
[Does sinal salute.] Of course feelings are real. A friend who is a psychiatrist keeps telling me I need to own and investigate my feelings, because they are real.
But they are real TO ME in the space behind my eyes. For instance, if I hear Green Acres I feel all unsettled. When Lisbon TV stations were taken over in a revolution (oh, you don’t want to know) or attempted coup, the Porto station got cut off. And all they could even play between occasional news updates were some old reels of Green Acres. Coming into the house at lunch time and hearing that music was a BAD sign.
Does that mean that Green Acres must mean revolution and unsettled times to anyone else? No. And yet my feeling is REAL. Sure it is, and the mature response to it is to go “Long ago and far away” and wander off while the kids watch it. Even if the conditioned feeling never fully goes away.
In the same way if you’ve been taught to be scared of MAGA hats, men with dirty faces, or for that matter “people who don’t look like you” the feeling is real. But before acting on it, or demanding others change to suit your “feelings” you need to step back and go “do I have any RATIONAL reason to feel this way?” And then in many cases you have to overcome those feelings, so you can live in civilized society.
Because here is the thing, if you have to listen to everyone’s “feelings” and every single person’s feelings are as real as facts, we will all need to isolate ourselves from everyone else. I mean, Vegans feel meat is murder. Are they entitled to execute everyone else? I feel very strongly that Marxism needs to be rooted out. I’m totes entitled to hold brain-washing sessions on everyone, and kill Occasional Cortex before she infects more people, right? And I feel loons who assume MAGA hats are really really racist (even though there’s no FACTS to back this up other than their feelings) need to shut their whiny mouths or be given whatfor. So, if I wear a MAGA hat, which of us wins? Care to place bets?
Feelings are real and you need to learn to deal with them. You can’t just deny them. But neither can you impose them on anyone else. Particularly when they PRESUME other people’s thoughts and feelings. Because, hey, guess what, you’re not psychic. Just because you FEEL someone is doing this or that because of “x” it doesn’t mean you’re right. And if you have no facts (and I mean facts, not, “but the media said”) outside your skull to back it up, your feelings are YOUR PROBLEM and no one else’s.
When you scream “you can’t deny my feelings” that’s besides the point. No one denies you feel the way you do. Well, not unless they’re playing psychic, themselves.
What people can and should do is challenge the mismatch between feelings and facts. Ones can’t be imposed on others, and the others impose themselves on all of us. Because reality is still what it is.
To think otherwise, to think that your feelings should dictate how everyone acts is a form of solipsism, where you think you’re the only real person ever. Because if that’s not true, you will be able to realize you’ll run into other’s feelings, that contradict yours.
What this stupid idea is, really, is bad-crazy. That which unmakes civilization.