Tell me, stranger. Beautiful stranger.
Have you ever heard of an arcade game called Space Invaders?
I had it on a keychain when I was 10.
They referenced it on Futurama.
You see, the tricky thing about Space Invaders is that you can’t just shoot the aliens where they are. You have to shoot them where they’re going to be.
Your laser is too slow. The UFOs are too swift.
Now, let me ask you this. Would it be completely reasonable to be very proud of oneself for mastering that technique?
Overcoming your enemies by doing something much craftier
than what you started out with when the battle began.
Targeting not them, but the space where they are not yet.
You couldn’t fault anyone for having affection for themselves for discovering that.
Let me ask you another question, stranger, kind stranger.
Does it ever make you mad when people tell you
that you’re not a good person, or on the wrong path,
because of things that have so very little do with actual ill intent?
I’m sure you’ve got a big bag of examples, do I even need to say what they are?
People flipping out on you because you loved this person or held this job or liked this music or wore that kind of clothing.
It’s so irritating, right?
But you don’t exactly not imitate them, right?
You’ve never felt your brain cells well up with scorn over a certain horde of human beings
who were all part of something which wasn’t particularly malicious or even ambitious?
You’ve never turned red over hobbies? Collectors of this, competitors in that, connoisseurs of this, purveyors of that.
You’ve gotten sick to your stomach over people with certain kinds of preferences and interests, and at some point, probably tried to talk them out of it.
You might have even felt a bit guilty, your inner child saying, “why can’t we just try telling people to be nice?”
Well, I’m not here to condemn you for that. I’m just here to tell you that you’ve been playing Space Invaders with the minds of other people.
You honestly believe that the key to making other human beings defy the stereotype of shitty behavior, is by demeaning their own personal joys which you know are not reliable predictors of wickedness and sabotage.
And it’s a game that you can win at. You’ve probably won at it before! Exceedingly so!
People daydream about winning at this game and they succeed! And they rise above any criticism and become truly magnificently human indeed!
That’s what a culture is, isn’t it? A few million people getting together and agreeing on which hobbies and demeanors and preferences are the secret markers of human awfulness.
And those not particularly evil traits have to be struck down with a powerful grin, with hind legs erect, and maybe even a readiness to stampede.
The ferocity of a mythical creature is what you’ve got, and everybody kind of senses that already.
Everyone secretly knows there’s a sincerity to other people that never gets properly articulated, but can be only fought.
I feel like I’m standing in a battlefield. The swords and arrows and fire just keep flying everywhere.
But even I can tell, that everyone fighting doesn’t hate the calm vibes of the stars above.
All you crusaders of whatever it is you’re fighting for out there
possess a keen sense that your enemies are just as shrewd as you.
But you, you are the closer one to real human dignity. That’s what you feel, stranger, isn’t it?
Despite the stereotype of the self-centered, you really believe there is some spark of magical un-awfulness in you that separates you from the really unpleasant people!
I’m not gonna say nobody ever really had overwhelming, raw hatred for anyone else,
but if you take a good long hard look at what the internet-based world’s become, and the rage-fueled threads agreeing on which minor subcultures are somehow true scum, and all the traditions people belligerently force upon their kids, both old and new, and all the family values and social justice campaigns embracing labels as a fucking art form worth getting high on like a drug that’s not even discovered,
you’ll find it’s not really all that ugly.
You’ll see it’s not really all that crude, not really that sickening, nor very hard to blame.
At your core, kind stranger, you’re really just trying to unfuck the world in a very creative and adaptable way that is compatible with the human need to commit to their own actions with joy and confidence.
I could hardly blame all the peaceful and passive forms of ethics that ever existed or failing so consistently to bring peace to every fucking body.
Well, here’s my plan to unfuck the world. Here’s my own attempt.
If you want to know what makes a human interaction morph into unpleasant, it’s usually one dude trying to keep somebody from fucking around with him, by doing something really tricky, really indirect, really unusual, really bold, really risky, really not what you’d expect a person to do to prevent conflict.
It’s those rainbows in your head telling you you’re fighting awful situations through extremely careful and innovative sorts of behavior! Rising above the standards!
It’s all about that fucking Space Invaders moment. That totally forgivable joy for composed aggression, of taking those thunderous screams inside of you hoping to prevent a vulgar situation, and trying to apply them in a way far more interesting than than the younger you ever would have, and couldn’t have, maybe even shouldn’t have.
Oh humanity, you charm the hell out of me, don’t you?
Because despite all this wily shit you’ve been doing,
there’s still somebody muttering,
“if everybody would just stop acting out of line,
everybody would be be so pleasant.
Everybody just be like me, just be like me, just be like MEEEEEEE.”
But you’re not really that paragon of good behavior, are you?
It’s hard not to be a hypocrite.
It’s hard not to hate someone for standing still.
It’s hard not to get mad at someone being complacent.
It’s hard not to want to stop somebody who seems to be as innocent as someone wandering for water to drink.
It’s hard not to feel “this is where I have to step in, for personal dignity’s sake”.
You see the calm and the reasonable going about their day, with their daydreams of their own brand of indulgent civility by their side, and think “no, this is not the solution, I have to fucking change these people, I fucking have to, I fucking have to, I fucking have to do something or else they’ll just fuck things up and I never did anything to prevent it! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! “
So you stop them, you stop them in their tracks, as they step in a direction they feel is justified and beautiful.
As they try to dodge misery.
As they try to find happiness.
And you feel like a fucking rainbow of wonder with a milky heart.
You get in the way and it feels so good. You roar like a dragon after its prey, much more wily than an animal acting only on the instinct to bite.
The sun shines down on you with sexy rainbows,
and the world remains covered in flames,
an appreciation for restraint being the fuel of the engines of peace as well as the burning liquid of human conflict.
You remain the strongest among all the monsters, who only know of enemy and friend, of nice and nasty acts.
Who can’t act with anywhere near that level of depth.
You are the mythic villain. You’re the origin of a need for stories in the first place.
You are the obstacle.
So, will you continue to try and find the real enemy,
or go for a high score by finding a new way to tame yourself?
If you learn what I mean by “dragon-headed”
you’ll come closer to the image of the good person,
or at the very least, learn how to keep your face from getting smashed in by people counting on you stepping out of their way.
Social skills, my sweet adversary, I long to see you in chains.