I come to you today in the spirit of friendship to let you know you’re wrong and need to change immediately if you want to associate with me.
You don’t have to thank me. I consider it my duty as someone who has been to the mountaintop to bring back revelations about how the experience reformed and reshaped my misconceptions. I’m no better than you—just wiser, woker, and better.
I remember when I was like you, smug in the sort of self-satisfied privilege only last week can buy. I thought a person couldn’t get more woke than I was back then. How wrong I was, and you remain. I feel bad for both of us. Especially you. But only because you don’t know how bad you should feel for yourself.
I want you to take a long, hard look in the mirror, if you can bear it. I’ll be honest—it’s hard for me to look at someone who has clung to antiquated thinking all through the long weekend. Please don’t think I’m body-shaming—I’m referring to the ignorant, bilious poison fogging up your otherwise beautiful head, making you appear hateful to everyone you encounter as an outward manifestation of your simpleminded scorn for individual and social growth. #sorrynotsorry
It has to be hard to be this way and still call yourself a decent, enlightened person. Your Tuesday-based ideas make you seem quite the opposite. Angry. Backward. No offense, but you seem like the sort of awful scum who doesn’t care to improve themselves and thereby makes the world worse for your continued presence in it.
Whoa, whoa! I said seem. And did you somehow miss when I said No offense? That’s called being diplomatic. Sort of the opposite of your kneejerk fascism, if that helps. Like a little cheat sheet! You’re welcome.
I, too, arrogantly thought I had it all figured out. But isn’t that when we really know the least? How much can any of us really know? We don’t even know what we don’t know. I know this now. This should humble us. Well you, actually.
I’m not trying to cancel you. I promise I’m not. I see you like a child who missed school last Thursday and fell behind the other children, but was raised by monsters and doesn’t quite “get” that it takes a village to reach my level.
That may not be the most helpful analogy. A little insulting. I’ll own that and try again. Have you heard of Plato? Philosophy? Don’t fear-bite, I’ll explain:
Plato was a classical Greek philosopher who probably appropriated this parable (a “parable” is a kind of short, fictitious (that means “not true”) story that illustrates a point) called The Allegory of the Cave. In the allegory, Plato has Socrates—his make-believe chickenhawk—tell a story about a number of prisoners who were chained together in a cave, probably for peacefully protesting too close to the Parthenon. There’s a fire behind the prisoners and between the fire and the prisoners, people carry objects. The flames cast shadows on the walls in front of the prisoners who think that the shadows are real. One day, one of the prisoners escapes, sees the fire, and realizes that what he thought was real was only shadows.
The escaped prisoner goes outside of the cave and explores the world for the first time. He thinks, “Hey, this is pretty great! I should go back into the cave and tell the other prisoners about reality and set them free so they can experience this for themselves!” He graciously goes back into the cave to make the other prisoners see the light, but none of them believe him. They refuse to listen to what the escaped prisoner has to say because they’re comfortable with the status quo. Socrates says that, if the prisoners had been freed, they probably would have killed the original prisoner for releasing them.
Do I really need to say who is whom in this analogy?
Now don’t go into a blackout rage! I’m here to help you! I realize there’s only so much time for me to pierce your defenses before our languages naturally diverge. I don’t want to be accused of you-face for trying to communicate through hoots and grunts, and I don’t want you furrowing your brow in a vain attempt to make sense of the words coming out of my mouth (or in this case out of my ethically-sourced BlueTooth® keyboard).
We’re fundamentally different, you and I, but our differences aren’t irreconcilable. We’re siblings in our struggle. I struggle to be patient with your toxic, retrograde notions. You struggle to overcome an extra week-long history of hatred for humanity.
We’re the same, you and I. Two odd, lonely children, reaching for eternity…
Let’s do the sensible thing: Block each other on social media and never speak of this again.
We’ll be better people because of it.
Well, I will be.
But then, I have a head start.