More thoughts, not necessarily conclusions, in no particular order:
Things I think are not rude:
– doing things you want to.
– not doing things you don’t want to.
– asking when you don’t know.
– telling people how you feel.
Things I think are rude:
– pressuring people not to do things they want to, or to do things they don’t want to.
– doing things you don’t want to and telling others you wanted to do them.
– expecting others to explain things to you when you have the resources and opportunities to learn them for yourself.
– saying how you feel in order to pressure others into doing things, feeling things, saying things they don’t want to.
Bottom line is, here’s what sucks: trying to control others/letting them control you if you have any option not to.
Doing what I tell you to does not mean I control you if it’s what you genuinely want to do. Me telling you what to do only means I’m not trying to control you when I’ve gone the extra step to make sure you don’t feel obligated. At some point, your feeling of obligation isn’t my problem anymore, and in a perfect world where we could all live completely freely and honestly it never would be. But at every point before that, it still might be my problem. I’m not sure when that point is, or how often it changes or by how much.
It’s why I’m trying to blog at people more and talk at people less. You really, really don’t have to listen to me. You can if you want to.
It’s like how BDSM has safe words. Part of it is for the sub/bottom, so that they don’t experience anything they don’t consent to. Part of it is for the dom/top, so they don’t experience anything they don’t consent to, like becoming an aggressor without meaning to.
Consent is EVERYTHING. Honesty + Communication + Respect + Only seeking to control yourself and no one else. Consent means no coercion either way. It means you can change your mind at any time for any reason, and you respect it when others do the same. It means you can ask why, and others can ask you why. It means you don’t have to answer and neither do they, and you STILL respect their consent.
It means you don’t try to control the other person. Period. That what you want from me is only my business for as long as I choose it is. Whatever we’re in, we’re in it only as long as we both consent to be there. That we set the rules, and if we mutually agree to set rules for each other, we damn well better honestly communicate about them and respect them and communicate when we change them.
The problem with a social contract expressed as law is that law has more power to coerce than the average individual. When you give an expression of consent any violent coercive power and a massive power inequality, it stops being a social contract. It stops being consent.
The fundamental tenet of the Hippocratic oath is, “First, do no harm.”
The fundamental creed of Wicca is, “If it harms none, do as you will.”
But the catch is – what do you do when someone else breaks the creed? When someone else hasn’t read the first part and just does whatever they will and it harms you or others? When compliance is complicity in violence and noncompliance may necessitate violence?
Andrea Gibson said, “I believe there is such a thing as a nonviolent fist.”
To what extent do the ends justify the means? When we aim to throw off brutality, how brutal can we get? If the goal is a world of love, what does living with love mean each day?
If the ends and means aren’t different. If living with love, in harmony, in oneness means whatever it means in each moment. How do we know we’re doing it? At what point does a nonviolent fist become violent? Is it always violent? Is there violence from a place of love?
If I am me and you are you and we are one. If us being one does not mean I’m not me and you’re not you. If nondualism contains dualism. If two contradictory truths can both be true.
If trying to control others is a form of violence, but letting others be violent is also violence. And others letting you be violent is also violence.
If I as a woman consent to marry a woman, disallowing me to is violence against me and society and the righteous social order. But to someone else, maybe, me doing so is violence against them and society and the righteous social order too.
I think my worldview is right. I’m living it as best I can. Some things I think are right are illegal. Some things I think are right, others think are harmful. Some things I think are harmful, others think are right and they have the weight of the law behind them.
The law in a democracy is meant to be utilitarian. To idea is to give the most people the most freedom possible, and that includes freedom from harm, and limiting freedoms that harm others. But not everyone’s idea of harm is the same. Not everyone wants the same freedoms. I don’t give a shit if I can own a gun, but I care if I can speak and worship and love however the fuck I want to.
How do we solve the inevitable hypocrisy of doing no harm? How do we build a world of oneness, of peace and love, of harmony?
I’m trying to simplify my life, take things one step at a time. Start with how living in harmony feels in my bones. Figure out my needs in each moment. Break through the lenses that cloud my needs, separate what I think I ought to need from what I actually need, and do away with what doesn’t serve my needs. I’m trying to speak honestly, take time to ensure no one feels obligated to me, and then trust that whoever is there is there by choice.
I’m trying to stop doing things or avoiding things out of fear, but also know that sometimes I do need to be afraid. To not do things out of habit, but also know that some habits serve my needs.
I’m thinking about revolution. About how peace and love is the goal, but in the face of violence and oppression and brutality, peace and love alone might not get us where we need to be.
That when a pendulum has been held off to one side for far too long, in order to reach equilibrium, it has to swing the other way first.
If you’ve given into other people’s judgements all your life and found it hasn’t served you, the first step is to say Fuck other people. And only once you’ve done that can you know when to listen.
If I’ve lived my life in fear and habit, I have to actively be fearless and conscious. To know something is right, I have to do the opposite first to be certain I can not do it, that I have to be able to not do it for doing it to be a choice.
That my goal here is freedom and agency, and interactions based on mutual, personal consent and nothing more. That freedom is the root of love. That chains need to be broken before we can be free of them.
I think that rebellion is the first step to enlightenment. That the personal is political, the political is personal. That the social is spiritual, the human is divine.
Blind acceptance comes first, then confusion at the world not matching up to what you thought it was, then questioning your sanity.
Then you realize you’re the sane one, it’s the world that’s nuts.
Then comes the anger.
But there is something after anger: it’s living your utopia now as best you can. Figuring out what that means, what it looks like, how it feels in your bones, where others and society are limiting your ability to, where you’re limiting yourself.
Then you come back for everyone else, maybe. I don’t know, I’m not there yet.
I am white and rich and cis and a woman and queer and American and lots of things. There are things I have learned and things I have yet to, about privilege and oppression, about living with love. Some other rich white people with as much or more privilege than me haven’t had the experiences and conversations I’ve had, and the world still works for them. But not realizing the world is fucked up is still your fault. You can do something harmful without meaning to do it. And it’s not like safe words, because the world has been yelling back at you that you’re fucking up again and again. And choosing not to listen is not the same thing as never being told.
Intention means a lot, but ignorance is not the same as good intentions.
I have come a long way and I have a long way left to go, and I don’t think I’ll ever be done growing.
I am trying, and I am not perfect. Not being perfect doesn’t mean I’m not trying. Trying doesn’t mean I am perfect.
Doing my best does not mean I’m doing enough, but it is the best I can do. I am choosing to push myself, but be patient and kind. I am simplifying. I am starting with me, but keeping the rest of the world in mind. I am finding the people who affirm me to give me the strength to keep going in the face of the ones who don’t. I’m not bothering with the ones who don’t just now, not when I don’t absolutely have to.
I am going down the rabbit hole as far as I need to. I will come back when I’m ready.