My way is better than your way.
If you distill everything that is wrong in the world today it all comes down to that expression and people’s reaction to it.
Every bit of conflict, each little tinge of anger, most feelings of hostility, they all stem from the inherent idea within ourselves that what we do or think is better than what somebody else does or thinks and it is our mission in life to tell them that they are wrong and we are right. That’s where it all breaks down and goes to pot.
During the production slump of the holidays I have been watching a lot of You Tube video for lack of anything else compelling to do. One of the people on there who I have been watching (seemingly to excess) is an NYC based film maker named Casey Neistat. Some of you may know his work, he’s something of a YouTube sensation and has millions of subscribers.
Anyway, without going into too much detail of what he is all about, something he did recently caused the neurons in my brain to react in a way that clarified my opinion mentioned above. It was almost like watching those science experiments in school where the teacher adds a few drops of something to another cloudy something and in an instant the new something is perfectly clear. Let me elaborate.
I was watching one of Casey’s more recent vlog entries (14 October 2016 “Make an electric skateboard for $100”) and at about 3 minutes in he starts referencing a “political” video he had uploaded the week before and how the YouTube user comments on that video upload relating to who he was endorsing for President of the USA completely blew his mind. He pretty much let his viewers know that the comments they had left upset him and that he had a right to express his own opinion without needing to apologise for it.
Then I watched the video he was talking about and it all kind of fell into place for me about what is wrong with our world today. In the video entitled “Who I’m voting for President” he starts immediately by saying “Hillary Clinton. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.” and he then goes on to explain why. In the process he utterly vilifies Donald Trump, using the typically bandied about descriptors like “tax evader”, “liar”, “misogynist”, “insane”, “megalomaniac”, etc, etc. Later in the video he calls on all the top YouTubers, who collectively garner something like 1 billion views a week, and implores them to use their power to tell others to vote for Hillary Clinton to ensure that Donald Trump doesn’t get into power because she’s “more intelligent” than he is.
And that’s when it clicked for me. My way is better than your way. You should follow my way. Your way sucks. It’s the bit at the end that is the trigger for the powder keg that usually explodes when you tell people they are wrong. Telling others that their ideas are wrong and that they need to repent from them because they are wrong is exactly where most problems with society originate.
You see, it doesn’t matter so much who is right or who is wrong. It’s our approach to the differences of our opinions that can either make us hate one another or love one another. If you go into a conflict by telling somebody that they are wrong (as Casey Neistat did in his political video) and that if they don’t change their view there will be trouble, you can bet your bottom Dollar that the response you are going to get, will for the most part be equally inflammatory. Usually to your detriment. This shouldn’t surprise you.
I’ve been making this mistake myself repeatedly since I first discovered the internet forums back in 1997, two decades ago. I guess that makes me either certifiably insane or incredibly stupid, but let me be the one to say it and not you, because if its you then that’s part of the problem I am discussing.
In my case because I talk a lot about photography and camera stuff online I often find myself rebuking the opinions of others simply because I believe, with all my heart, that I am right and they are wrong and I will go out of my way to make sure they know how wrong they are. Like, if you shoot with Nikon cameras instead of Olympus ones you are dumb and should be farted on. Obviously this is going to annoy people using Nikon cameras and in my case it certainly did. I had a thriving global Nikon community going when I was a big user of that brand and when I moved onto Olympus cameras I made a point of telling people who still used Nikon that they should change to what I was using because I was right and they were wrong. How stupid is that? Needless to say I am no longer the owner of that fine Nikon forum and my reputation as an impartial host of a forum is somewhat shot to hell.
I know exactly how Casey Neistat must feel. I don’t know if he ended his vlog because of the outcome of the election and people’s response to his political endorsement – the timing is sort of interesting – but I do know that he probably regrets making his choice to vilify Hillary Clinton’s opponent rather than perhaps making her seem more appealing to those who ended up voting for Trump. I think there are likely quite a few high profile people carrying similar regrets now that the election is over.
Anyway, there is my distilled view of why the world’s people are constantly at loggerheads with one another. It’s because my way is better than their way and doing things their way is dumb. You’ll probably notice that I have wisened up a bit since 1997 and have switched off the comments to all my blogs. See how smart I am? You should definitely follow my way.
Footnote: I wish I could properly credit whoever drew that cartoon used as the feature image for this post but I don’t know who they are. I recall seeing this many years ago and thinking to myself “Now that person has it all figured out!”.