Hurt

It is my experience that when someone tries to hurt you it is generally because they have already been hurt themselves. Sometimes by you, more often by someone else, sometimes by many others. Sometimes this hurt is the result of deliberate, abusive behaviour. Sometimes it is the result of well-intentioned, behaviour that is based on a misunderstanding of what is helpful, or good for, that person.

Understanding that there is an original hurt does not excuse the behaviour, but does make sense of the incomprehensible.

It has recently come to my attention that several years ago someone was bad mouthing me behind my back. When I was told what was said I laughed, because the slander/libel was so unbelievable… to me. I’ve been turning over in my mind the fact that it may not be so unbelievable to people who do not know me.

This is how such abuses work. The defamation of someone’s good name is a serious legal issue. After all, who will deal with someone they believe to be bad. Unfortunately, most people who commit this offence do so in such a way that legally challenging it only increases the number of people who get to hear the lie. And they make sure that the lie is one that would be very difficult to refute, and the more the defamed party protests their innocence, the more desperate they seem and the less credible they appear.

It is often a mystery to the victims of such defamation why they have been targeted for such abuse. Jealousy if often part of the trigger, but it is seldom jealousy based on the reality that the victim (for want of a better word) experiences, but a jealousy of a fantasy created in the mind of the perpetrator.

It is very sad that the internet can now be used to spread such lies, usually to a large audience who have no personal knowledge of either protagonist, and usually without the awareness of the “mark”. Such lies can be spread by other people in all innocence. Having no first-hand knowledge of the liar or their target, why should they disbelieve what they have been told?

The additional problems are, firstly, that mud sticks. People find it very hard to believe that they have been lied to, especially if they think the liar is their friend. We all like to think that we can tell when we’re being lied to, but some kinds of liars convince themselves first and because they believe it (well nearly) they are very plausible.

The second problem is that once it is on the internet it is always on the internet. I’m sure you can see why that may be a problem.

I’m not setting myself up as any kind of saint. I’ve done some things that I’m really not proud of. But I’d rather be hanged for the sheep I did steal than the ones that someone created out of thin air.

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Tradition

Tradition is a good place to start. There is a reason why something has been done by more than one generation, it works, at least a little bit, for some of the people. Is that a good enough reason to keep doing whatever it is? Well, no. Definitely not. Every tradition has it’s day, and then it should be evaluated to see if it really is a good way of doing (or thing to be done)

Many cultures through history have had slavery. I can see no moral, or practical, justification for slavery. I don’t think slavery ever was, and never should be, justified. That it’s not good for the slaves, should be able to go without saying. But neither is it good for the slavers or slave owners. When you brutalise or dehumanise another human being, you also brutalise and dehumanise yourself.

We are all connected, what you do to others you also do to yourself. People who are judgemental, judge themselves first. The sad thing is they are always far harder on themselves than they are on anyone else, and anyone else is on them. People who treat other people as if they aren’t real, do so because they are afraid they aren’t real.

You cannot treat another human being badly without it having a harmful effect on you. And to close your eyes to people being hurt around you is nearly as bad, sometimes worse. When we take responsibility for our own actions, it does not mean that we can them close our eyes to what is going on around us.

It means we have to respect other people’s right to make their own mistakes and find their own answers, but we still have a responsibility to try to get other people to understand what we believe. So that they have that information to evaluate too.

Tradition sometimes lasts because it is a good way of doing things, sometimes it lasts because no one realises it isn’t a good way of doing things, sometimes it lasts because people are afraid of change. Why are people afraid of change? They are afraid because they haven’t practised stepping out side of their comfort zone and have not discovered the rewards of trying out their “stretch zone”.

In permaculture there is frequent reference to the value of edges, the edge of your comfort zone is a great place to be. It’s often both frightening and exhilarating, to dip ones toes into new water, to try out a different behaviour, can be quite wonderful. It can also be quite awful, but even that teaches us something new and good about ourselves.

Personally, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of tradition. I don’t like lazy ways of making decisions about people’s lives, our how our society should be run. There is often insufficient flexibility to cater for everyone’s personality or needs.

All women are not the same, neither are all men. Why should they be lumped into one category? That’s lazy stereotyping, it also means that some people never get to find their particular aptitude, because they are told (at a very young age) that they “can’t” do that because they belong to the “wrong” group for that particular activity.

What is particularly worrying at the moment is the disconnect between what is happening in British society (and other societies too) and what the media is claiming is happening. So many people still cannot believe that the mainstream media would lie to them because “someone would stop them if they told lies”. Why they believe this, is a mystery to me.

Our culture has changed rapidly and in an unhealthy direction in the last few decades. We have moved away from the traditional lifestyles that were rooted in a certain common sense, to a society that has little real security or resilience. This Britain could not survive the depredations that were visited upon it during the second world war. This Britain will be lucky if it survives the next ten years.

We need to revisit some of the traditions that our parents and grand parents knew, and see if they might not be more healthy for us to re-embrace now.