I’ve been thinking about what I wrote yesterday, my being afraid to say what I think. I’m not sure it’s fear, like hiding-under-the-bed fear, that keeps me from talking about the things that worry me. It’s a healthy sense of self-preservation, but even more than that, it’s that I don’t think it matters what I think. It is interesting to talk to people, to get other points of view, to broaden one’s outlook, but when such a discourse is not available, when all people want is to propound their own point of view (emphasis on “pound”), talking doesn’t advance any cause. (Nor does burning buildings, or even oneself, but that’s a discussion for a more benign and less uncivil era.)
In a gale force wind, a puff of breath is not noticed, and certainly won’t help to calm the forces creating the wind. In a ship violently crashing from side to side because of insanely high waves, nothing one can say will rock the boat any further, and certainly won’t help to steady the craft or the people in it.
If what I said (or wrote) really mattered, I might be courageous enough to tell my truth, but when so many people have already made up their minds, locked their mental door behind them, and pulled up the drawbridge against critical thought, a single word or a thousand will not batter down those fortifications.
A greater problem than closed minds is that people hear what they want to hear, filtered through their own value system. They hear a slogan, process what it means to them, and then head out to defend that slogan without ever finding out what that slogan means to the people who wrote it and what their agenda really is. Which means sometimes well-intentioned people fight against their own interests without knowing it.
This is a relatively short blog. I’d written a lot more, even going so far, despite my reservations, as to talk about many of the issues at stake, but in the end, I deleted all that because I realized it truly doesn’t matter what I think. I’m not sure it even matters to me. Nothing I think will change anything. Nothing I say will change anyone’s actions, so is there any point in even thinking about the current situation? It’s not as if I’m young and still have a whole lot of ideological formation ahead of me. I’m pretty much a done deal. I’ve mostly lived my life in my own head, and a lifetime of thinking and reading and researching and studying and writing and being can’t be undone by new/old emotionally-charged slogans or radical groupthink.
Besides, nothing in this new world is more redundant than an old woman, no matter how perspicacious her thoughts might be.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator