This actually probably isn’t what you might think it is. Its under the Diary tag just because it was a random thought from me and as all the diary posts tend to be mine I thought I’d add it as such.
I follow the wonderful Twitter account of @IcebergLuffy a anime account that sparks weekly debates amongst its followers throughout Saturdays. I’ve had some riveting discussions with people all over the world about a wide variety of things from politics to morals, sexual inequality to whether or not you stream anime legally or illegally. Everyone has a interesting opinion and even though I don’t always join in the conversations (the Twitter user is American so the conversation starts at about 1am UK time meaning sometimes I feel I have nothing to add by the time I remember to check his feed) I read every single tweet he retweets. It reminds me of how big this planet is and just how different we all are.
His debate this week was “Could there truly be a perfect world / perfect society?” and whilst personally my answer to THAT I feel was cut and dry (in my opinion) a tweet that then garnered a extra two likes actually made me realise that we always need to be reminded that being nice doesn’t sell…
Its a common phrase actually, one that when I was young and naive I thought was a load of bullshit. Why wouldn’t being a nice person make the news? Why don’t good deeds sell papers? People love a feel good ending don’t they?
I honestly don’t think we do to be honest. Some big events in my life have always looked at the negative. Missing persons are only interesting so long as they are missing, police chases are only interesting so long as there is a modicum of chance someone is going to get hurt… One show I’ve only just caught up with a whole year after it aired is “Making a Murderer” a show looking at the murder of Theresa Halbacht and painting the picture of two innocent men being locked away. Regardless of whether we ever find out WHAT happened to the young lady or those two get their freedom doesn’t matter its the sad story, the possibility of the police framing someone and the arguing and bickering of whether the two men are guilty or innocent that is important. Actually finding out the truth or them getting their freedom will be the end point but it will never be as newsworthy as the horrible middle bit.
Someone saving a kitty from a tree might make you go “awww” but it hardly is as gripping as the latest sex scandal, politician trying to ruin our livelihoods or violent crime we can gorge on.
Maybe that is because goodness in part is in the eye of a beholder. Finding the positive in humanity is our own journey. For the person whose kitty was saved from a tree the person who saved the kitty will be a hero but for us just reading about it after the initial feel good factor you have to question how the cat got up there, would the cat have come down in its own time and then decide we’d have been able to save the cat in a better more timely fashion.
In a way I think its because what happens to us happens harder. Its one reason the phrase “someone has it worse off then you” always bugs me. Every individual person feels pain in a different way, we also feel happiness in a different way. I personally hate being complimented so when people at work tell me I’m good at something I don’t like it. On the other hand my sister lives for compliments and beams over any kind of praise she gets. Turn it to a negative and whilst we both mourned our grandparents dying it hit her harder emotionally then it did me because someone dying just doesn’t have the same effect to me as it does her. We feel the pain and joy that happens to us personally more vividly because even the most emphatic of us can only truly imagine how we ourselves feel. When someone is insensitive after a death maybe its just because death to them isn’t as emotional as it is to those they are being insensitive too and they struggle to make the connection emphatically to that other person.
[Also unrelated to the general point but its a harmful phrase to use on people. Something might not seem important to you (again its a personal internal thing) but the person who is hurting might hurt all the more if you implied they themselves are being selfish for feeling pain. Everyone hurts for different reasons and they deserve to hurt. Everyone is happy for different reasons and they deserve to be happy. Even if you genuinely think the person is going over the top on something unimportant don’t forget you aren’t in their head and you don’t know why its effected them that way or even if THAT is what is truly effecting them and there isn’t something else making them react more strongly to something stupid. Of course everyone knows someone else out there is probably worse off then them but that doesn’t mean that individual problems are lesser because someone they don’t know has it worse, if that was the case only one person on this planet would have permission to feel sorry for themselves and we’d all have to compartmentalise our pain making us even worse. Just stop using the phrase and even if you can’t find a shred of sympathy either just say that and stop pretending you are a better person or pretend and give that person the outlet to their pain they so obviously want.]
What has this tangent got to do with anything you ask?
We have a certain set of morals. When people go against those morals unless you yourself don’t hold them in high esteem its a shock to the system. We’re MEANT to help kittens out of trees, old people across the road and say please and thank you so when it happens who cares? We aren’t meant to kill people, ruin people’s lives or be absolute fucking assholes so when someone does that or is that its shocking. Regardless of how removed from it you are it shocks you. Fascination in things like this comes down to us not knowing how someone who grew up with the same morals that you agree with fully could do something horrible. I’m fascinated by serial killers for example, maybe some people think I’m weird for it, but its the fact that I couldn’t even be stern with a animal let alone do something as horrible as these people do so for me its like looking at a alien and wondering how their brain works, what makes them tick and how someone could go against what is generally held up as being the right thing to do.
This is the major point though.
You can sell 100 papers trying to analyse every move a serial killer makes. People for some reason love reading the gruesome deaths of their victims. Even on a smaller level people love being able to knock someone off a pedestal, they love the sordid details and to be able to indulge in bad behaviour.
But when me and you both live good wholesome lives to the best of our ability who cares when someone else does as well?
Whilst it makes you glow a little to hear of the good some people do unless is personal to you it just doesn’t last. I could write blog after blog of nice things that happened to me that no one else will understand but which proves time and time again to me that humanity isn’t all bad, even if we have different opinions, political views or even ideals on what perfection means or how to live your life at the end of the day most people are struggling along in their own world doing the little bit of good they can do every day. Whether its keeping a door open for someone behind you, talking to someone who you know doesn’t really have friends, offering a few coins to someone on the streets even if you think it’ll go on drugs and drink instead of food… People try.
I’ve talked about them both before but the two biggest “positive” moments in the last 12 months have both just been people reaching out to me after they found out I had a problem. First in May with Bram when I told him I had a panic attack and he did his best to calm me down, it was like a 2 minute conversation with him and nothing to write home about but the fact he tried to put my mind at ease actually did put my mind at ease. Then at the end of the year when I wrote about leaving my job when John Harding gave me a hug and a motivational talk (he also asked me about how my job was going at the last wrestling event) he didn’t have to. Hell he didn’t have to have read the blog in the first place but he did and made the decision to reach out to a wrestling fan to help them in the only way he could. If I had written blogs about those two meetings on their own no one would care, when I wrote about a former friend telling me to go kill myself everyone had sympathy.
Good deeds are very often personal but that should never take away from the fact that it was a good deed. Newspapers sell when there is something nasty on the front page but every day I like to believe more people are doing their own bit to make the world a better place then people are making the world a horrible one. You have to add to the personal little goods for other people instead of giving up on the world.