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The Solution for Being Offended (by everything)

“If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation.”

–Epictetus

The quote above is 1,900 years old. Proof that even then we felt that it was easier to police the outside than examine our inside.

The real and fair solution is less politically correct but effective. It’s to stop trying to protect people’s feelings. Your feelings are your problem, not mine – and vice versa.

Real empowerment and respect is to see our fellow citizens – victims and privileged, religious and agnostic, conservative and liberal – as adults. Human beings are not automatons – ruled by drives and triggers they cannot control. On the contrary, we have the ability to decide not to be offended. We have the ability to discern intent. We have the ability to separate someone else’s actions or provocation or ignorance from our own. This is the great evolution of consciousness – it’s what separates us from the animals.

What also separates us is our capacity for empathy. Yet how empathetic the speech we decide to use is choice for each one of us to make. Some of us are crass, some of us are considerate. Some of us find humor in everything, some of us do not. Those of us that believe it and live our lives by a certain sensitivity cannot bully other people into doing so too. That sort of defeats the purpose.

Control and discipline of one’s own reactions make for a successful person and a functioning society. I don’t think you want to live in a world where that isn’t the expectation of each of us. I don’t think you want to see the things that will need to happen when the burden of making sure everyone is happy and not offended is put on the government or worse, a corrupt and bitter media system.

That media system – by the way – is paid by the page view. Thus motivated with real financial incentives to find things to be offended about. Because offense and outrage are traffic triggers. Some call them Social Justice Warriors, who, despite their sincerity of belief, also build huge platforms by inventing issues and conflicts which they then ride to prominence and influence.

This is called a Rage Profiteer. From the President down to the last kneeling football player. They get us riled up, they appeal to our notions of fairness and empathy (because who likes to see someone else’s feelings hurt?) without any regard for what the consequences are.

I’ll end with what I started with. Stop trying to protect people’s feelings. Your feelings are your problem, not mine – and vice versa.

Published inDaily Writing

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