Quoting proverbs proves everything!
I just don’t want to hear some stuff any more. A lot of the following is platitudes; simple, incorrect solutions to complex problems. Please read judiciously; I’m not going to hold back much. This one is going to be a bit more random than the last.
“If you don’t work, you don’t eat”
The original saying comes from the Bible, where the Apostle Paul says if anyone is not willing to work, he should not eat. Note the deciding factor is willingness, not actual work. “Yeah but you do have to work, because if nobody worked…” Uh, yes, of course, duh. Please see the next item:
“Most poor people need to __________ to get out of poverty”
Please read: http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-politicians-will-never-understand-about-poor-people/. In fact, please, just Google “site:cracked.com poverty” and read.
“You believe in young earth creationism? Wow, you must be an idiot.”
Okay, I never have had this one to my face, although I’ve had it through the internet quite enough. No, I’m not an idiot, although I’m not perfectly educated either. (And neither are you an idiot, nor perfectly educated.) Doesn’t matter much as I’m not really willing to debate the subject– most people have made their decisions, and there’s enough prejudice surrounding the subject that actually convincing people while still properly informing them on the facts is very difficult.
“How ya doin’?”
This one is contextual. “How are you doing?” is generally not acceptable as a greeting. It’s fine if you know me fairly well and you’re actually asking. In fact, “How are you doing?”, asked with a peculiar intensity by a close friend, can be powerfully moving.
Why do I hate that question as a greeting? A big factor is that as an introvert, I love questions. The better the question, the… better. “How ya doin’?” while passing somebody you don’t really know is an empty question– not even really a question, and so it is wasted words. Questions are too important be wasted! Questions are full of whimsy and exploration and explosions and wonder and awesome.
Check out this comic about the value of questions: http://kiriakakis.net/comics/mused/a-day-at-the-park
“You have the power within you to take charge of your future. You can do anything!”
I have a hard time going against this one, because the people who tout it often mean well. Usually, they’re trying to empower others. (Sometimes they’re trying to sell you something. Ignore those losers.) However, the truth is not so optimistic and pretty: What I have control over is internal. I have limited control of factors outside of myself. There’s lots of stuff I don’t have control over, and in fact, for every one thing over which I do have control, I bet I can find 10 for which I don’t.
If you take that as defeatist, it’s not. It’s realistic, it’s just not the whole story. We sometimes overlook what we can control and let the outside factors take the wheel. However, we do ourselves no favor by telling ourselves we can control anything and everything. I don’t need to be told I can do anything; I know that’s not true, and I’ll discard that advice out of hand. I’m not responsible for the universe.
It is also true that we have to take responsibility for what happens to us, when we can. Why, because we have power and can control it? No, we take responsibility because that’s life and we make right stuff that ain’t ours.
I will freely admit at this time I don’t have settled what exactly is under my control and what isn’t. But it strikes me that life is messy, and I’d rather have the matter be unsettled and messy than draw false lines.