Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To stand for something

...can be a lonely task, I think. To make a decision about how you live your life, and try to live that life to the best of your ability. To develop a set of ideals that you strive to uphold, a way of life that can withstand scrutiny. To live by your word.

The problem with all that, I think, is that everyone has their own idea of how things should be. There isn't a universal truth. Or is there?

I grew up in a household that had a pretty set idea of life. It was easy to do growing up, because we were pretty isolated... by virtue of culture, geography. We read the Bible--the old Testament--every Saturday. We read the Ten Commandments and the Virtuous Woman so often that I can recite most of those passages by heart, even though it's been years since I read it every Saturday. We also read a lot of Mao Zedong, in addition to the biographies of those who stood for change... those things made me learn to question the world around me, to develop ideas about what's right or wrong. It was easy to live by... no one was around.

So here I am back in the big city. Sort of full circle in myself. It used to be that I tried to make the world around me see what I saw. It would distress me that they didn't. More importantly it would distress me when people didn't try to live life according to a principle. I said the other day that I had gotten to a point where they way other people live life doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't affect me.

And that's pretty much true.

But in a way, everything we do or say affects someone else. We are all linked together. It used to be that people tried to look out for each other; had some sense of a community. There was a time, it seems, if something was wrong or someone was hurt, people stepped in. We corrected each other's children. But I don't see that too much anymore. What I DO see though, is an awful lot of folk who speak about what they would do... pretty vehemently. But they won't act actually DO anything.

A discussion of sorts came up on today and it added to my inner debate. A pregnant lady was spotted smoking... and the remark was made that the person who spotted her really wanted to walk up and smack some sense into her. Someone else chimed in that they should have.

But here's the thing. You know damn well you're not REALLY going to walk up and smack anybody. You're just not, unless you're unbalanced. A.) it's assault. B.) there's no telling what the other person would do. But on the real... if you saw a pregnant woman smoking... what WOULD you do? What SHOULD you do?

The thing that distresses me is... 90% of the time, no body's really going to do anything. 5% of the time, people will shoot dirty looks. 3% of the time, someone will shout something nasty, usually from a moving vehicle or in passing. Maybe 1% of the time someone will say or do something constructive, and the other 1% are unbalanced enough to actually do something physical.

And I think you SHOULD say something... but the question is.. what and how?

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