Have you noticed how easily people seem to claim my work for yours lately? To be blunt, I am as offended as I am proud. You may be the star of today’s vernacular, but you’ve become nearly obsolete in practice. And me? Well, I have become a master of disguise and am soaking in how easily they seem to be drawn toward me, especially when I pose as you.
I have convinced them that you look like a tribe who protects their own and becomes insular. So, when their idea of you is threatened, bam! I have ’em. They begin to defend what they believe is you, as they slowly grow to hate anything else. And, as you know, hate and I are quite compatible. I’d even go so far as to say hate is the natural result of my presence.
I have wormed my way into the ethos of what was once your territory. Instead of kindness to all, I have convinced them that it is only worthwhile to be kind to those with whom they agree. Instead of looking for goodness, truth, and beauty in all, they now believe it is most like you to stand with those who are like them and stand against everyone else. And they call it you!
Did you notice people are now able to follow their friends, family, and acquaintances through pictures and stories in a constant stream of perfectly curated moments and stated opinions? This has provided a prime opportunity for me to whisper into their ears the truth that they are missing out, aren’t wanted, can say anything without consequence, and are less than the lives of those they witness. Rooted in me they speak their minds demeaning one to lift the other, declaring you as the origin of their thought. Rooted in me they see life through a lens of scarcity and comparison. Rooted in me they use these curated moments and thoughts against one another as if it were a personal record of wrong. The bonus? Anger that permeates the entire cultural landscape with seemingly no personal ownership of the effects of their behaviour and words.
I’ve convinced them that you come with conditions; this is one of the most useful features of my version of you. Unconditional . . . the very idea is threatening. I shudder at the thought! It’s not right, humane, or just. Instead of patience for process, growth, and change, I have assured them that true change is instantaneous and anything else is a lie. Instead of humility, I have wooed them to believe that the most like you they could possibly be is to be right. This keeps them from being correctable, open, or thoughtful.
I’ve taken this unbearable idea of perseverance and have persuaded them that it is too hard. Now they think that to comfort another person you have to affirm where that person is; you can never hint at the possibilities of growth or change. And, now, no one carries a healing map. All they want is permission to remain right in the comfort of their slowly warming pot, which is nearing its boiling point and, like the frog not recognizing the heat, will soon destroy them.
I have done a masterful work, of which I am very proud. I thought I would thank you for being an ideal I could twist to make my own. It seems to be going well for me.