When I was in my 20s, I used to criticize people who would get, what I deemed, unreasonably offended at hearing a swear word. I resented the fact that movies and TV were censored for dirty language, that a person could get fired for accidentally cussing in front of another full grown adult. This resentment came out of the ignorant belief that, as far as I could tell, there was no logical reason to be offended by swear words. It’s true that the very idea of swear words is an abstract concept that we, as a society, just kind of made up. We pretend there’s some inherent evil within these words even though they cause no apparent physical or mental harm, not even to children. And that’s how I justified my smug indignation: If there was no scientific or logical basis to take offense at swear words, then, clearly, taking offense at swear words was unscientific and illogical, and a society can’t function properly when we treat unscientific and illogical opinions with the same level of importance as opinions based in objective reality, and therefore we should not humor people who believe in stupid things. Continue reading “Oh for F&@k’s Sake: Swear Words and the Blinding Fog of Self-Righteousness”
No angst to report, readers. I was wrong about pretty much everything. There was so little to criticize and I felt so little inclination to do so. I just couldn’t get past the love: it enveloped me and I was happy and everything was good.
It was all a beautiful mess, a modernist composition: not discordant, but unpredictable and unique. We managed to miss the rally — not because we were late, but because my group somehow concluded that it was not happening where it was obviously happening. That was more than fine, really. I’d rather be walking than standing, and we consequently weren’t crushed for more than five minutes the whole seven hours we were on The Mall. (And the speeches are on YouTube.) We marched in a march that wasn’t the actual march, then caught the real thing after we thought events were wrapping up. We all teared up multiple times. There were artistic and inspiring and clever signs. I met lots of great women (most of whom were from Kentucky — should I be living in Kentucky?). The collective event was greater than the sum of its parts, but even the parts were beautiful. Here is my personal scrapbook:
OOOOH!!! LOOK AT ME! I did 165 hours of silent meditation last year! Aren’t I spiritual?
And this is the first time I’ve shown this to anyone. Isn’t that humble? And this screenshot was from over a month ago, when I had many fewer hours logged. Isn’t that modest? And I’m clearly making fun of myself now. Isn’t that self-effacing?
I don’t tell you about all the hours I volunteer and all the money I donate not because I’m such a spiritual person, but because I’m not – because I think that withholding that information makes me a better person. Have you ever read The Fall by Camus? The opening monologue yanked out my precious soul and ground it into the cheap meat I always knew it was.
Am I being too hard on myself? Probably. Am I utterly devoid of pure, loving motivation? No, not utterly. But my cup runneth over with spiritual materialism. This isn’t novice meditator stuff & I promise I’ll explain more later, but I’m behind on work and living out of a bag this weekend and I just wanted to say hi and lay this on you. Dig it, man.