My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand. – Thich Nhat Hanh
In my last post, I said, on the topic of polyamory:
Funny how much of a hot-button that particular alternative lifestyle is, even
for people that would probably defend, say, gay marriage with vigor.
– a sentiment which I’ve voiced more than once. tirani replied:
Relationships don’t live and die by wether they are poly or mono. They live and die by the attitudes and commitment of the people IN that relationship.
It got me thinking about discussions I’ve had or followed on this topic before, and the most common justifications I’ve seen for vehement antipathy to polyamory – “I was burned by polyamory in the past”.
And it suddenly crystalized:
No, you weren’t. You were burned by someone who treated you with disrespect and hurt you.
This is extends naturally to a wide range of complaints. You weren’t burned by Christianity, you were burned by abusive people acting in the name of Christianity. I wasn’t shot by the gun culture when I was six, I was shot by two cruel and ill-disciplened children. You weren’t screwed over by capitalism, you were screwed over by dishonest businessmen acting in bad faith.
I understand that it is human nature to live by broad heuristics; but it is vital to remember that every hurtful act boils down to an individual, or individuals, making hurtful decisions. Memes are strong, but they aren’t virii; we can choose consciously to accept or reject them. In the end it is not ideology, or chauvinism, or lifestyle which hurts and kills. It is decisions made by individuals. Only by holding ourselves and others responsible for our actions as sovereign individuals can we dig up the root of evil.