Hate Analysis Paralysis is Lame

Hate Analysis Paralysis is Lame

Hate Analysis Paralysis is very prevalent today, and it makes sense amidst our upsetting times. However, this will only lead us to loneliness, meaninglessness, and powerlessness. The forces who plant seeds and tend to them will grow food to sustain them.

November 26, 2017
By George Lee

People love to talk about the different ways they hate (Insert hated politican, institution or corporation here.) This is exercising, “Hate Analysis”, instead of delving into the complexity of real solutions to problems. “Nothing brings people together like a common enemy,” can be witnessed around politically aligned dinner tables across the country. If hate brings people together to then begin action, hate is perhaps an ok catalyst, but it seems we live in a time where more often hate brings people together to just feel better than the hated parties. One can hate something and feel fulfilled in the short-term, while doing absolutely nothing to improve any situation. This creates a non-productive, hate analysis paralysis trap. Analyze why you hate with others, feel like you belong with the superior group through the hate, do nothing to improve anything, hate and analyze some more.

When I first feel hate about an issue, and it seems important, I allow myself to inhale the hate deeply into every orifice and every cell and let it ride. I feel it. But then, after this initial, essentially bodily drug induced experience, hate is useless except as a reference point, a fact about one's psyche. “Seattle's response to homelessness is cruel, I hate the politicians in Seattle.” But then what do we do? If we wake up the next morning, open our phone to read another ridiculous terrible thing a politician is doing, share it on facebook, and feel hateful again, where are we going? The answer is down a pre-existing American path to habitat destruction, natural resource mismanagement, income inequality, institutional violence in many forms, dangerous car cities, etc.

Solutions are challenging, but without challenge there is no reward. In the short term, it may be more fun to drink a craft cocktail or beer and talk about how (Insert hated politician name here) is so terrible and dumb. But eventually we can feel hollowed out by the hate, the helplessness, and cope more and more in counterproductive ways. To feel whole, we need to cope and take on challenging solutions. Big societal solutions are a combination of tough, revolutionary, individual choices, and long processes built from open, critically thinking coalitions of people that support one another to form a stronger unified being.

If it is an individual challenge, like advocating for density, it can disrupt one's entire belief system about success and be upsetting. All of sudden your advocating for a smaller home, to be closer to your neighbors? If it is a solution for a town or a city, one goes nowhere without power from money and/or large activated groups of people and both those things require working, and listening to, other people. So we get overwhelmed, fearful or protective of what is comfortable and often instead of acting, revert to Hate Analysis Paralysis.

Ideas, theories, political platforms are relatively easy to talk about (analyze) because they are like garden seeds in a package, all with a beautiful picture of a perfectly grown specimen. We can spend all spring and summer deciding what seeds to plant at our kitchen table, but then we miss the growing season and grow nothing. Also, even if one does decide which seeds, they need to prepare the garden's soil, and then work for 3-4 months stewarding sun, rain, soil, insects, labor, food preservation and crop rotation. Analysis, e.g. choosing a seed to grow, is a safe, comfortable and in the long-term, depressing place to be stuck. You can do it alone or with others, while not changing any of your “comfortable” life pleasures or worldviews, and you can feel totally self-righteous because you have not actually tested any of your theories.

The Hate Analysis Paralysis is very prevalent today, and it makes sense amidst our upsetting times. However, this will only lead us to loneliness, meaninglessness, and powerlessness. The forces who plant seeds and tend to them will grow food to sustain them. The corrupt rich are planting seeds for their own domination of everything, as they always have done. The rest of us (there are many, many more of us than the corrupt rich) are still are too distracted by hate and divisiveness to realize we're not planting any seeds for food to eat next winter. We need to prep the hell out of the soil, plant some damn good seeds, and share all our knowledge to grow some award winning crops.

Am I a Person of Color

Am I a Person of Color

A Samoan-American construction worker assumed we were in the, “Us,” of us being minorities while we were sweating over moving a log.

October 28, 2017
By George Lee

I am going to use the term white men. I’ll let you identify and expand that definition where it needs to go. I identity as half white and half Italian-American. I am exploring considering myself mixed race. Until now, I have always identified as a white man, but many indicators have forced me to question if this is a true statement, or a statement my parents and my community growing up wanted me to take on. Growing up in a rich, mostly white community with a white dad and an Italian mom from the Brooklyn projects I’ve realized now, at the age of 34, that no one ever encouraged me to decide what identification I wanted to attach to my light brown skin and my distinctively different Italian relatives.

My skin was olive. I remember thinking that, and telling people that when they asked. But in the summer, especially one summer after I had been working on a sailboat and the sun had been reflecting off the water onto my skin, my skin was distinctly brown. Not olive, brown like coffee with milk. I remember seeing my face in a photo with all my friends and liking how I looked. I also remember how I saw all my friends were not brown, they were white, pink, cream and freckled white.

At these points in my life, no one came to me and said, “George, do you know what a person of color is?” “Do you know Italians once were oppressed for their heritage and color of their skin?” or, “George, how do you feel about your skin color? How does that make you feel about your relationship with minorities (as people of color were called then in my community)” I bet adults all around me were thinking these things throughout my 18 years in the same school system, but no one ever talked with me about it, and now, at 34, I’m noticing this and looking back wondering is that why this or that happened?

I had a leading role in two high school musicals and was in a couple other plays. When you do theater, everyone puts on makeup. When you put on foundation, essentially a base coat of paint all over your face, I was told to match it to my skin tone. I was Frederic in the Pirates of Penzance, and Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and my best friend’s dad videotaped the shows. I remember watching one of those videos and realizing, in the words of my 18-19 year old self, “That I looked like a black person or something.”

Fast forward to 2016, a Samoan-American construction worker assumed we were in the, “Us,” of us being minorities while we were sweating over moving a log; I realize during interviews I might have been considered Asian-American; If I’m doing landscape work people think I’m Mexican-American till I start talking; I go to a party, think a cool writer guy is black, and it turns out he’s Italian; I go to my cousin’s wedding, an Italian woman and an Irish man in a catholic church, and I realize two of my dark skinned female cousins (not their brothers) are wearing skin lightening makeup; And then, in an art show about a public housing project, a mixed race friend of mine says, “George, you’re a person of color I think,” after I’ve been spilling my guts about it for a while.

So, what the hell am I? And what the hell are you?

Realism is a Dead End

Realism is a Dead End

Alone, used as a tool to improve the world, 
realism is a dead end without integrating visionary goals.

October 15, 2017
By George Lee

We live in a real world where we have to do things like maintain shelter and our mental and physical health to survive. We want to at least have friends, a sense of belonging, see some hope that the world has meaning. These basic needs can typically overwhelm us on their own, sending us into unconscious behavioral patterns, coping mechanisms, and attempts to numb out.

Enter world problems like institutional racism, class inequity, climate change and perpetual war endlessly streamed to you in a mix of journalism and opinion. And today, it is increasingly available with new media, and increasingly demanding to edit between fact and opinion.

Result? Getting more overwhelmed. This leads us to increasingly cope, to edit, and to simplify as humans do. The draw of being, “a realist,” is a strong, popular coping mechanism in these moments. I use it, we all use it every day. However, alone, used as a tool to improve the world, realism is a dead end without integrating visionary goals.

A realist may say things like, “well, what do we do today?” in response to someone asking for something visionary, something a few steps ahead of what is possible in the present moment. The realist way of making decisions is a crucial part of improving the world. Realism is the skill of making sense of things and acting on them as they stand in the present moment. However, if one acts only within the rules set in the present moment, the conditions of the present moment (be they institutional racism or class disparity) will absolutely never improve. As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Visionary realism is a better option for those attracted to being realists. Realists can layer on and integrate tangible actions and tactics of their visionary world, and thus work to actually improve things rather than spin their wheels. Without integrating visionary genetics, realism is a paralyzing and comfortable straight jacket one wears voluntarily.

When those basic or imagined needs like shelter and health rear their heads, realism will offer its comfortable straight jacket. Realism will say, “You are being practical, you are working with the way things actually are, others are being unrealistic, there is no other option.” However, there is, you can be a Visionary Realist. Now, the next step is defining what you are visionary about and then acting on it.