Blog Archive

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Platitudes

This is connected to the on-going thought process that exists in Only, Not Simple, and Not Easy. It is also a rant about our culture. In it, I will make some gross generalizations, and generally sound like a cranky old man. Deal with it.

I hate memes. (Yes, Mike, I know that everyone is misusing the word "meme" when they use it to describe a picture with some snarky words attached to it, but that is how people use the word "meme" these days, so suck it up.) Specifically, I hate that memes seem to be an indicator of how our culture is starting to think. Every problem, every issue, is something that can be solved in a 140 characters or less. For every problem, for every tragedy or issue, there is some cute picture with a quote, or a hashtag, or some other bit of internet minutia that apparently encapsulates the entirety of the issue, and presents the easy, obvious solution.

It's trite, it's bullshit, and I'm tired of it.

In an effort to tie this rant back into the major subject matter of this blog, here's a quote from Rory Miller

"Violence isn’t just a big animal. It is complicated as hell. If you ever really wanted to get a handle on just one piece—interpersonal violence—you would need to understand physics, anatomy and phys - iology, athletics, criminal law, group dynamics, criminal dynamics, evolutionary psychology, biology and evolutionary biology, endocrinology, strategy, and even moral philosophy." -- R.Miller, Meditations on Violence

Rory has more experience and knowledge than I do, but as near as I can see it, this is true. Violence is huge. And complicated.

And so are a lot of other things.

This applies to the fitness and martial arts fields, but it goes beyond that, which is why I'm railing about it. I keep seeing people grind their chosen socio-political axe in trite little memes and phrases, often with the implication that the problems that plague our world are so simple, and if everyone would just fall in line with their way of thinking (because wanting everyone to conform to your views isn't scary at all), then the world would be fixed in no time flat.

Here's the thing. There is no simple solution. I know there is no simple solution, because if there was one, we'd have found it already. I'm actually reminded of something my father told me years ago.

He said: "Look. There's no such thing as an unbeatable technique. If there was one absolutely guaranteed, unbeatable move that always worked, no one would fight any more. I'd have taught you the move when you were five, and you and everyone else would know it, so no one would fight. That'd be the end of it."

It's true for fighting, but it's true for the world as well.

There aren't simple solutions, because there aren't simple problems. The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can make progress toward fixing things.

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