There’s a video going around of a teacher greeting a line of young students into her classroom. Every one of them gets to choose which type of greeting they want by touching icons on a wall. Some of them hug, some of them shimmy, some do something like a bow. I’d have to look up the specifics of exactly what they’re doing since I’m not too keen on Thai culture, despite having watched Amphibia.
I really like the high five being something both people choose!
You’d have to be in a pretty bad state not to love the hell out of this video. What she’s doing really is beautiful. It’s about closeness with your students, creating personal boundaries, customizing your interactions, and overall adding a little bit of magic into your day.
Upon further inspection, this is a this a lot of people have done, but let’s pretend it was made by one nice person for now.
I personally, am very glad that our species would universally agree, this is a damn nice lady and should probably be imitated profusely by the masses. But I’m not the type of person who thinks this type of thing is enough to flip the world upside down.
It can only make us a big little bit better to the younger generations.
Let me ask you….what if these kids were a little bit older? And the tradition kept going on for too long? And it became really familiar, or frustrating, having to do this ritual? What if the teacher herself gave too much homework? What if one of the students was having a personal problem that made it hard to enjoy good gestures from other people?
Even things as sweet as this, as innovative as this, could easily devolve into something kind of ugly.
A chance to rebel. An opportunity to satisfy anger. A moment where you can assert yourself as the one in charge.
It’s a bleak piece of fiction, to be sure, but I can easily imagine things like this potentially blowing up the face of the person inventing it, promoting it, doing it.
If hypothetically, she had to stop this beautiful little custom because it caused a problem, and you read about that….would it hurt you? It would make your brain cells ache for a little bit, wouldn’t it? It would make your heart grey for a bit, wouldn’t it?
I wouldn’t blame you for entering a profoundly beautiful feeling state of empathy and frustration.
But here’s what you don’t see. Here’s what you should care about. Here’s where you should apply your need for justice.
Let me knock back the sword of your mind with with a fist of briefly conjured steel, and smash you in the face with something you won’t read elsewhere. Proverbially.
The pain you feel for that woman, in that scenario, is the same pain that other people feel when people take a big dump on their own cultural habits.
The weird little interactions, the strange etiquette standards, the plans and procedures and processes of growing up as a young person surrounded by adults, and the general joy of the shapes and colors involved in the customs that you have,
human beings will defend that just as strongly as you want to defend her.
Cultures begin with wanting to be nice to people. And as they move forward, and things get complicated, they become a lot more problematic and belligerent.
But behind that there’s somebody with affection for the really simple and friendly stuff too.
You’re an internet user. There’s no way you haven’t tried to call out some custom or tradition somewhere as barbaric or unfair or idiotic or just plain deranged.
How do you plan on fighting that? When that sense of unnecessary but creative spreading of good vibes is at the core of nearly everything that pisses you off?
It could be something as aggravating but endearing as forced handshakes,
it could be something as bleak and sickening as bodily mutilation of the young.
Behind it all, there’s someone smiling at how they’re guiding people in the right direction, despite feeling egregious or pushy.
And you don’t even have anything close to fighting that. Nobody does. Not now, anyway.
All you have are the groans of satire saying “look, how awful, wtf” and the slow march of cultural change which metamorphoses human ambition rather than regulating it.
Of course, 3 hour documentaries about trying to understand how anyone could be like that are definitely good for us.
This way of greeting kids in the morning warms my heart as well. I’d love to see it become a tradition worldwide.
But if you aren’t destroying what makes people feel beautiful and interesting and badass when they impose their traditions onto those they raise,
you don’t stand a goddamn chance at fulfilling your fantasy of the whole world resembling your idea of what a civilized society is.
Every time you complain about “what they do in this place to each other” you’re punching a wall hoping for it to break.
It extends to businesses, neighbors, internet forums, and gamer chat rooms as well.
That quivering misery you get from seeing sunshine in the brains of people doing things that are just despicable.
You need to take a different stance than “what assholes are they!”.
We need to change our positioning besides “just call out the bad people”.
We’ve got to strip down the sense of joyful purpose despite the hate felt by others down to its core elements.
You need to make it so that people don’t lose their shit and get totally mindfucked by their own desire for justice when somebody takes a dump on the things they do that feel just wildly and spectacularly benevolent.
You need to tame that whole fucking vibe if you want anything resembling literal non-parodic actual physical world peace.
If you want anyone to not become an explosion of rage despite them fitting quite naturally into society 99 point 9 percent of the fucking time, you have to stop people from crying beautifully inside with the need for comeuppance.
You have to extract the desire to be civilized from the guy walking down the street, who just did something terrible, and really doesn’t feel terrible.
It’s a stupid sounding miracle but I believe it can be done.
Especially since we all really want that.
If that sounds like an appealing thing to you, read Seasons 5 and 6 on this website.
Read those 20 posts.
They matter much more than this.
I made a system to describe the shit that makes you sit at your chair and writhe as you write, hoping like crazy for a way to wrap sickeningly humble zeal in chains.
So you don’t have to heartfully bitch anymore.
So you can finally rest.
If I may prattle for a moment longer.
I made something that works for me, when it comes to countering others at their most intense, learning how to dodge and weave when someone comes ramming at you with the warm glow of the commonly righteous.
To summarize as quickly as I can, it’s this.
People are cognizant of their own excess.
They know connecting expectations to people is weird.
They like feeling interestingly human with the amazing stuff they do.
They like feeling very anti-shitty, the foe of the mysteriously nasty ones.
There’s an explosive but stable glow of beauty and intelligence and self-restraint and innocent grasping at a sense of value and belonging
at the core of so many things that make you want to condemn other people without any mercy in your tongue whatsoever.
And storytelling helps you deal with that shit by gazing further and further into the big hearts of people you don’t find very pleasant or productive.
The only way to destroy that unbreakable vibe is to keep it in a barrier.
To find a way to dodge and counter and hold the arm of the egregious.
Is to validate those sheer sensations of positivity and helpfulness in the stuff that people know other people know is pretty fucking sickening.
You need to disable our ability to be shocked at how we feel like we’re beautifully navigating the world toward being more a confident badass environment
when haters are at our heels.
The plasma-like ecstasy needs a frigging collar on its neck.
If that sounds like a decent plan to you, a worthy goal to you,
learn what I mean by “dragon-headed” or “hunterian”.
Just do it right now. Read those posts. Please.
I beg your brilliant ass to do it.
I do not doubt one bit there is a big contrast between you and what people say you are.
Come closer to our shared fantasy of knowing how the fuck to diffuse a person at their most ballistically sure of their own usefulness.
Without innovation, we’re only slowly crawling toward improvement, hoping for madmen not to obliterate all the harmony most people dream of.
Those with power causing the biggest disasters being ultimately just being spouses who can’t wrap their heads around the other spouse feeling like the one who was never mean.
You think that if we just keep spreading good behavior around and determine what it is, somehow humanity will unfuck itself.
But the most objectively sweet and barely agenda-based niceties that could ever exist
can turn into sorrowful shitshows because even they can make us feel like we’re being mocked by the shitty people.
If you want this big damn world-ruling species to grow into something else, literally actually get past the snag of awful behavior by otherwise socially skilled people,
you need to deconstruct the sense of beauty and strength in the one causing the conflicts.
It’s the only real way to strike back against the most heinous of us, in us, and done by us.
Not through forgiveness or mercy, but by really not being blown away by how adamant either you or the other party has been.
Not by turning the other cheek, or smiting your foes,
but through insightful disarming.
The kind that retail workers do,
that socially anxious people have no choice but to do,
The kind that a therapist or counselor can barely even fucking articulate.
Something like what I’ve got for you, right here.
A formula for diffusing they who cannot be talked down.