February 1st, 2021
“To fight the empire is to be infected by its derangement . . . Whoever defeats part of the empire becomes the empire; it proliferates like a virus . . . Thereby it becomes its enemies.” – Phillip K. Dick
I didn’t know how it phrase it as eloquently as Dick, but this is what happened to me.
This is what has happened to a lot of us. This is what has been happening to humankind since it could throw its first stone.
After the election four years ago, I was a lot of things. Angry, I would say, especially. It was reflected in my words, in my actions, in my posts.
Supposing I had the moral authority and ethical high ground, I felt it a duty to point out the many wrongs of the individual, the group, and the overall state of things.
And I saw the world expressing itself just as I was, in equal and opposite reaction.
It was ugly.
And it wasn’t until I took an examining look in the mirror that I realized I was taking on the traits of the “enemy” I was adamantly trying to vanquish.
It took years, but that realization took me down a more rewarding path.
I started using my voice and my words differently. Instead of over-sharing the same news articles or videos, I started to more fully understand the brilliance of subtlety and metaphor. Instead of seeking to strike down anyone who I saw as an opponent of truth or kindness, I strove to try to lift them up to a place of understanding (to various levels of success and failure).
Most duly: I decided that if I came from a place of decency, empathy and compassion, and I was able to admit when I was wrong or saw something in a new way, then I would always be successful as a writer and, more importantly, as a person.
Again, I failed. A lot. I got into passionate discussions and shouting matches. Feelings were hurt on all sides.
But every time, I had my North Star. I had that place in the sky to turn to when I lost my way.
And I just wanted to thank you for helping me find it.
Some of you have been patient with me, and surprisingly supportive; even, and especially, when I didn’t deserve it. I’ve been engaged in so many conversations that have helped me be a better dude in general.
So thank you.
And I hope we can become like one another, in a better way, once again.