How could you be happy when we produce 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year?
Give me something raw and repulsive. Give me something that can keep me in a state of rage for a bare minimum of three days. Give this to me in the name of higher-order truth, by which I mean, Twitter. Give me…vegan food.
No. I want something a little less radical.
Humans—the thing we refer to when we say “us”—are dividing faster than a bacteria colony in the shit of a cow going through bovine viral diarrhea.
Divisions are a sign of progress. They are a corollary of both curiosity and character.
We used to be shaped broadly by beliefs. We didn’t have a choice. It’s why our divisions early on were batshit. They were questions of honor. Your head could be scooped off for talking to a chick who somewhere in her lineage, had people that went off to war while yours went to a book club instead. Basic bitch is what the caste system calls fascism.
Enter social media, the broken condom of the human race.
What getting to know each other through brain farts brought to the top was not how divided we were, but our copious capacity for hate. Our divisions, when exposed, had little to do with our beliefs and everything to do with our doubts.
And with the freedom to doubt we began right at the top. With God. We began to detest the stupidity of not just the believers, but people who believed differently from you, without realizing neither of us had the answers. You had questions, and they, answers that didn’t work. But doubt looked way cooler and so began humanity’s run to find more and more things to doubt and disagree; more things to differentiate one another from.
So, now, it’s doubts that beat us into special snowflakes. And so we become materials malleable in our capacity to doubt others, but brittle in doubting ourselves. Kinda like cheap plastic.
Elon Musk, between his quest to shag ET, now wants to turn Twitter into a Townsquare. You know the place where massacres and executions are scheduled. We don’t need a rebranding of our divisions. What we need is a place where we can disagree and not hate. A place where we get together not to discuss politics and religion and Johnny Depp—while taking a shit, but a place where we can discuss art and beauty and books and make silly jokes and tell exaggerated stories—you know the fucking things friends do. What we need is a place to rediscover our capacity for love and friendship.
And once we do that, we sure should talk politics and religion and plastic. Because these things matter. They trend for life. They help us question our beliefs, lead to new answers. But most of all, they help us accept.
Polarization is a function of democracy. It’s groups disagreeing about who can do the most good for the world. And if one group wins, the other groups rally behind the winner to make sure they succeed. But polarization now is not so much a function of democracy and its inevitable divisions, as it is of demonization and its hyperbolic hate. Now, the group that can foment hate best is the group that wins. Your vote’s gone from a thoughtful, peaceable agreement with yourself to a rage-filled, feces fling at someone you disagree with.
We need more divisions. We need way more religions. True belief is the belief in contractions. True religion is recognizing divinity can take multiple forms. But true love is a tautology. We don’t need more love. We just need to rid ourselves of the false hate we have accumulated in order to show we are different.
Learning to disagree is not learning to hate. It’s quite the opposite. It’s beginning to love.