There are ones amongst mankind that enjoy rebelling, reacting and retaining some semblance of balance to social norms. As a teen I coloured my hair all the colours you can think of because could and because i watched my brother do similar, and I assume I just wanted to be different. To react to normalcy. As an adult I have regularly played the part of devils advocate because thats a big way I learn about issues, by arguing both sides. By finding the tense mid point. But a lot of the time I have found, in myself and in others, that we don’t strive for the mid point. We strive for the polar opposite, to grasp at holiness. A holiness that is set apart from “the other”. We label “the other” for many reasons and then we attempt camping on the other side of the river from them, sometimes building a wall or a screen so that we can not see them.
Musically, rock was too soft, so, we started playing faster and screaming and singing about the tough parts of life. Electronic music was too fast, so we slowed the music to a slight drone. When the music was too much about performance, we turned our backs on the audience, and when it was too much about the music we set fire to everything we could on stage.
Economically, capitalism turned humanity into money making drones so we smashed the state in an attempt for self ownership but as we did we imprisoned more people to less productive outcomes, so then we warred against a different state and ended up with similarly wide divisions of wealth, but labelled it something else. and painted each side of the river lepers. not to be even spoken about.
Religiously we grew up taking a lot of drugs, met a belief system that made some sense and threw out our amazing record collection and never drank again. So our children either mimicked us perfectly and had existential crisis decades later, or they protested the long skirt wearing conservatism by stripping to put themselves through college. Or, as the waters of conviction are sullied, some strap bombs to their backs as a last ditch effort to purify what was once a powerful and beautiful religious empire.
And politically as the left and the right get more extreme, in competition, the tense middle ground is forgotten about because the war needs more soldiers on the frontiers.
The more I converse with people I inherently disagree with, the more I am convinced that people are wonderful. People are creative and valuable. And the more of us that figure out the language of disagreement in dialogue, the richer and more beautiful this world will become.
This last trip to Australia had me sit on picnic tables hearing some of the most conservative and liberal ideologies that I have ever heard coming form the mouths of friends and strangers, and it was good for my brain, my heart and my empathy to hear all of these things. Some were new to me, and others were very old, but the tense middle grounds we were able to find to agree on, or the moments of sitting there openly disagreeing but still seeing how the other came to their conclusion was life giving.
May more of our dialogues this year be drenched in honour and a championing of the value inherently breathed into each one of us.