Post No.: 0383
In any kind of context, people tend to call any person whom they don’t quite understand or isn’t following the current social norm as ‘crazy’ or similar, even when a person isn’t genuinely causing any harm to others. Someone may be called a ‘psycho’ for merely collecting dolls, being fastidiously neat or even for being excessively hospitable, which are hackneyed clichés in fictional media, for instance. The solution is for these name-callers to get more education to understand different or divergent people better. Calling people by such names is just evidence of empathy-terminating laziness and naivety. And if one really thinks someone is mentally ill then the appropriate civilised response should be compassion rather than snobbery or the mocking of ‘easy targets’, which should really be seen as quite low.
If you judge someone as being mentally ‘insane’, ‘sick’, ‘mad’, ‘disturbed’ or has ‘got issues’ – just as one might judge someone as being physically disabled, incapacitated, injured, frail or vulnerable – then only empathy and compassion is ever logically morally appropriate. Or if you don’t really believe they’re ill because they’re just cruel ****s, selfish ****s or lazy ****holes then don’t conflate them with people who do have genuine mental health problems!
So we can point out with compassion or at least sympathy, rather than with smug judgement or spitefulness, that someone has ‘got issues’. If you think someone is ‘sick’ then the only moral way to express it is with compassion, and offer them support; otherwise it’d be like remarking that someone has got brittle bones in a haughty and nasty manner, then not helping them. Who would be the actual morally sick person if so(!)
If you think someone is not being very social or is boring because they don’t want to go to parties, or alternatively they’re very hysterical or hyper and want to go drinking at every single opportunity they can, there could be reasons for this that a socially-intelligent person would be able to uncover. To pick on someone for not being social is, well, to be the real antisocial one.
People can be blamed for doing stupid things if they don’t have a mental capacity issue, but if someone’s intelligence is affected by a learning or intellectual disability then one will logically be the stupid one for expecting them to know any better(!) If one knows that someone has a disability then what does one expect from them?! It’d be like shouting at a baby for not being able to read – who’d be the stupid one here?(!) Or if such plain logic isn’t what humans are good at then perhaps every human should be considered ‘stupid’?
Things, events or behaviours can be considered crazy, sick or so forth but not people, unless these people require our deepest empathy and compassion for being genuinely mentally ill. Or if someone is just different, or even possibly so much smarter than us that we don’t have enough intelligence to personally understand and appreciate them or what they say or do hence we end up accusing them of being ‘retarded’ then, again, we should stop calling them words related to being mentally ill or incapacitated when they’re not. Women talking sense but speaking against an establishment have, in history, been called ‘hysterical’ or ‘mental’ in attempts to discredit them.
You can tell someone who is daydreaming or momentarily distracted to ‘snap out of it’ but not someone with something deeper. ‘Different’, ‘weird’ or ‘strange’ could be ‘interesting’, ‘creative’ and ‘inventive’. Well people with mental health conditions can still be highly intelligent and are often more intelligent than average anyway because hardly all mental health conditions affect intelligence; if only everyone were intelligent enough to understand that. Although sometimes intelligence can be dangerous (e.g. when used to invent greater weapons that can kill more people and faster) – in the main, only unintelligent people fear the intelligent. But I suppose it’s not right to mock the unintelligent for lacking intelligence, whatever the cause of their low intelligence. In the end – although I don’t think we should stifle all mockery for the sake of being politically correct (as a fan of various four-letter words!) – I simultaneously cannot argue against the logical conclusion that it doesn’t seem right to mock anyone in such a way at all.
A (good) education reduces the fear of the unknown or different. What was ‘weird’ becomes more understandable. And it increases cognitive empathy, and maybe compassion, as a result too. A ‘strange’ person becomes less ‘uh creep, stay away’ and more ‘talk to me, you’re not alone’. There’s an open-minded curiosity to learn about them rather than a closed-minded fear to shun them into the margins. Something that’s ‘odd’ should actually inspire curiosity.
Even those who genuinely cause harm to others need to be treated with a level head rather than emotional reactions. Calling them ‘sickos’ achieves nothing. Ultimately, even though the law will need to intervene in these particular cases, they’ll have their backgrounds and stories too, and we won’t learn about them in the hope of preventing similar future cases if we just shun and ostracise them or make up assumptions about them. Erroneous stereotypes portrayed and perpetuated in the media will only make us look for the wrong danger signs in real life. And well, social ostracism itself can harm the mental health of individuals and cause people to do bad things to themselves or others.
In any tragedy, there are victims on both sides. If one thinks that someone ‘needs help’ then one should logically offer that help rather than banish them to make their situation even more desperate. Concerning any societal issue, we are each potentially a part of the solution or a part of the problem, for we are a part of the environmental factors for everyone else. Bullying can beget displaced bullying (victims taking their frustrations out on others) or revenge bullying (victims taking revenge on the generalised types of people who caused them hurt), hence bullying is a major risk factor in society, as is fearing, prejudicing and ostracising people for merely being different.
Frequently, someone has an unusual hobby or quirk but isn’t actually hurting anyone with it, but they’ll get hurt (i.e. bullied) for it instead. Children will even get bullied for the way they look, if their parents are poor or disabled, or for other things they cannot control. People who covertly discriminate are essentially on the side of the bullies too. People who harm or prejudice those who aren’t doing any harm to them or others are therefore, perhaps, the ones who should really be shunned from society, if anyone is to be. But then it could be the case that some of these bullies fall on the higher end of being psychologically neurotic, paranoid and suspicious and therefore fearful of lots of things? Those who fear and react excessively towards the abnormal but harmless could therefore be considered abnormal and irrational? And maybe people who are uncompassionate have sociopathic personality problems too?
Is this going too far or the way it is under critical thinking? Well even if this discrimination is a symptom of fear (i.e. ‘I’m staying away from her/him because she/he looks different or I don’t understand her/him’) then it shows how fear is a problem in society, and is often a problem of the scared rather than the alleged sources of fear, particularly when those alleged sources of fear aren’t actually causing anyone harm just for being different. If only people were braver, more open and liberal, they wouldn’t feel the need to push people who seem different away and society would be more peaceful and harmonious. People with far-rightwing socio-political stances are such scared people who want to be insular and shun foreigners and other diverse people away. Some may even be willing to shoot and kill to ‘protect’ themselves from whom they’re scared of – ‘defending’ themselves from whom they don’t really need defending from. Fear is also highly stressful and, when chronic, is linked with many health and social problems, including having less empathy for others.
There have been many dark episodes in history, and currently, where people have wished to exclude or exterminate those whom they fear, because of a fear of ‘genetic contamination’, a fear of religious corruption, a fear they’ll take ‘our’ jobs, ruin ‘our’ culture or even take ‘our’ women. So I personally wish people with far-rightwing beliefs had more courage to be more relaxed and calmer people – they epitomise the phrase ‘at the root of all fear is aggression’.
We can all become personally educated enough to not fear something as much. We can still respect that something could harm us but not fear it. With respect we are calm and measured, whereas with fear we may resort to overt aggression (e.g. physical violence against such ‘weirdo’ individuals or minorities) or passive or covert aggression (e.g. being evasive, implicit biases, discrimination). With overt aggression, the problems are obvious, and with passive or covert aggression, we’ll be a part of the problem too for trying to marginalise and push such people into the shadows, where we’ll fear them even more because we’re vilifying them or forming crude stereotypes about them rather than truly learning about them. (By the way – to positively discriminate one group is to negatively discriminate all other groups.)
It’s like qualified electricians working with electricity – they aren’t shivering with fear or alternatively rash in the face of being around electricity. They’re not angry about electricity and they don’t want to get rid of it. They’ve bothered to directly learn about flowing electrons. They still respect that electricity can kill them but they can manage being around it in a calm manner because they understand more finely when a circuit is dangerous and when it’s not. Meow.
So the least educated can frequently be the most harshly judgemental of all because they are the most fearful. Therefore learn about what’s truly contagious, and how if something is, and what’s not. Act on knowledge and evidence rather than emotions like fear. Courage is enhanced with a refined education while fear comes from an insufficiency of it – just like learning which exact spiders are harmful and which aren’t, rather than generalising ‘all spiders are creepy and dangerous’. And even when learning that a particular species is potentially dangerous – we can learn that it won’t attack us unless we disturb it.
I believe that the desire to be educated, then putting the effort in to be educated, rather than lazily relying on stereotypes and assumptions (some of which are perpetuated by fictional media, which use over-dramatised caricatures for the purpose of, well, drama) will solve a lot of fears and in turn solve a lot of different aggressions and discriminations in society.
Sometimes we need to learn about and be accepting of other people’s neurodiversity, and sometimes we need to be accepting of ourselves too rather than think that if we’re different then we should strive to fit in and be ‘normal’ if we’re not actually hurting anyone else. (Post No.: 0287 explored the acceptance of neurodiversity and creating a world where disability is rendered meaningless.) It’s like all bald men should arguably embrace the fact they’re bald rather than do all they can to try to (re)grow their hair. It’s overall neither here-or-there to be bald (if it was so bad then it wouldn’t be so common) but if one makes it seem undesirable then what are others to think about it? Of course, you could totally accept yourself and still be discriminated by others – but then they/society would need to change rather than you.
Meow. We cannot always blame the uneducated though because – although some won’t learn despite their opportunities – educational opportunities aren’t equal for everyone in the world and there’s a lot of misleading and divisive **** online, thus all that needs to be critically addressed…