Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Why I Rattle the Cage

In thinking about this, I realized that this would provide a good opportunity to establish my artist's statement, or manifesto. If nothing else, this post is an explanation for why I do and say the things I do.

I like to stir ideological trouble. I don't do it all the time. Actually, relative to everything else I involve with my life, this is a minor occurence. I do this because I want people to think a little bit deeper about life, especially in a time of war. My "strategy of engagement" is to drop little ideological bombs. This is, after all, better than any kind of violence that our society latently supports. If I don't speak my mind, than my only other purpose on this blog would be to ramble on about the "finer" points of my life. That would be nice. I would probably line the edge of my blog with flowers, and every post would end with a smiley, but I digress. Ultimately, I believe in love... and I'm being serious here. I believe in tolerance, and peace. At some point, after embracing this, I realized that I often stood out from the crowd. Now, it is clear to me that I am a minority in a society where a president who claims that Jesus is his favorite philosopher also sends the whole country to two wars. On top of that most of the people around me supported it, despite their religious or American faith. I don't believe in violence, but I believe that a blind ideological faith promotes violence, hence, the "war on terrorism". The point is I say what I say because I feel it needs to be said. I take my own personal faith seriously, I don't wear it as a facade only to take it off when it becomes a burden. If this appears to be offensive to anyone, I aplogize. If it puts you on the defensive, don't let it. Think of a way to continue the dialogue with me, as opposed to ignoring my existence.

I'm sorry that people feel defensive. I never express it as much as I should, but I feel a lot of love for the people in my life. The thing about ideological differences is that they are purely conceptual. They shape our interpretation of reality. People tend to like other people who agree with them. Birds of a feather flock together. It just makes life easier. But often, ideologically separated communities bump in the night, and conflict arises. If it escalates without an agreed upon resolution, violence eventually erupts. People die... all because people see the world differently and fail to communicate sincerely. To make matters worse, we continue this process. Am I being insincere by putting people on the defensive? You can come up with your own answer, but I say if you're offended, chill out. They're just imaginary words. I say them,you apply the meaning. The point is, we're still alive, and that is a beautiful thing... one worth preserving for all humans... even our "enemies".

So, I am somewhat of an ideological "terrorist". But don't be defensive, ultimately I mean no harm. I tend to like everyone I meet, regardless of ideological differences. But, occasionally, those ideological differences get in the way for some people. It shouldn't. We all have so much in common. I'm happy with life, and I want to make the world a better place for my children (when I have them). But, there are ugly things in the world which threaten this existence, and most (if not all) of it stem from ideological short-sightedness. I believe in communication, and sometimes that means we need to see through our ideological walls to resolve conflict. Yes, I may get carried away with "rattling people's cages", but I say what I say because it means something to me, shapes me, and I want to know if anyone else feels this way. If someone gets offended, they should question this process. It is only a "virtual" offense, and it really doesn't require a defense... just a little thought.


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