I have managed to find something in this world that actually offends me.
Twice in two weeks I felt this feeling, and both times when I tried to determine the words to describe it I found I was offended. And since I don’t remember ever really getting “offended” I tried to determine each time what it was that had upset me. And each time it basically came down to the same thing.
What offends me, the only thing so far that I am aware of, is when people’s unreasonable, irrational beliefs have (or could result in) an active, negative impact on other people’s lives. Especially where people’s beliefs are irrational in non-universal ways that unreasonably effect some people and do not effect others.
ie: people who believe that if person A does thing X he deserves result Y, but if person B does the exact same thing X, they deserve a more punitive result 10 times Y, or if the original Y was not punitive, then Y plus 10 times Z (where Z is a reasonable punitive result).
I don’t get it.
Where do people get these positions? How can they be this way? How do they justify it in their own minds and hearts?
It really upsets me. The idea of it – it doesn’t seem to be the action, the punitive result, as much as the idea that people can actually believe/think this way – genuinely offends me. And causes me unbelievable stress.
I wonder if it is because in this society, in this social structure, people’s irrational beliefs could be used against me personally and there is nothing that I could do about it. The people in power could be these irrational people. If it came to a jury trial about something I was involved in, people’s unreasonable, irrational, insane ability to believe these sorts of things could result in my own experiencing an unreasonable result. If it came to a meeting with my managers, who knows if they would be fair or not, if something I had done to which a reasonable reaction would be one thing and this strange, inflated reaction could be termination or worse? And if this irrational behaviour cannot be countered, on any rational footing?
Then no matter what my behaviour is, I cannot expect a reasonable response.
I mean, maybe I’ll get a reasonable response, and maybe I won’t get any response, and maybe I’ll get a completely out-of-whack response.
So that’s the selfish part of it. But interestingly, both times in the last two weeks that I have been offended by the idea of this level of injustice, by this nature of irrationality, it has been with regard to general social justice. With regard to the fairness of how people I either have never met (and will never meet) or people whose lives I have no share or stake in would be effected by beliefs like this. And in at least one of the cases, the particular irrational beliefs I was reacting to could not have any real impact on the actual result for the unreasonably treated party.
So what am I getting offended about?
Why was I so stressed out about something like this, something totally out of my hands and with no real impact on me or my life, that I was eating antacids, wishing for Pepto Bismol to drink? Blood pressure rising, stomich churning, and this awful offended feeling that I basically never experience. I don’t think I really understand it. Do you?