Seems only natural to use this forum on creativity to talk about bullying. See, already I’m indulging in a free-floating snideness. And who am I put out with? The crusaders or the realists? Both, I guess. Those of you psychologically attuned will note that such ambivalence indicates I speak from experience. I have been bullied. I have also tried cosying up to a bullying culture in an desperate effort to win acceptance and so have joined in my share of targeting those I perceived as being even more deserving targets than I clearly was.
So I’ve got the anger and the guilt going. “Deserving…clearly…” Noted that, did you, you psychologically attuned folk? Was I really a deserving target? No, part of me insists. No one is a deserving target. I, therefore, wholeheartedly lend my righteous anger to the crusade. Stamp it out! And yet…
That still small voice: “You were probably pretty annoying. You’ve picked up on clues to that effect. Might have done you a little bit of good. Made you a bit more…circumspect? We can never really see ourselves accurately at that age, after all…” That little voice that suggests the wisdom of the group is kind of like the wisdom of the market. You take your lumps, right? Experience scratches a few tattoos on your skin. You learn to survive in a tough world. And yet…
Round and round it goes. So one wants to imagine a hypothetical situation that might offer some objective information, something outside the subjective loop of fear-loathing-and justification, something you can bring to the bullying debate free from the clouding of subjective division. Imagine someone with bullying baggage indulging in a perverse desire to follow up on characters from the past through online social networking. What happened to kids from the old school? From those dim elementary and middle-school years? It’s a plausible scenario. What might one find? What if one finds a subtle sense that most of those who were of a bullying nature–and even those who were of a less defined “onlooker” nature in that cultural milieu–had, as adults, signed on as supporters of the right-wing/ libertarian agenda? Can we conceive of such a result from such a thought experiment? Can we draw conclusions? I open it to the group.
My particular concern is with the question of progressive leadership. Is it possible for leadership to emerge from those not complicit in a bullying culture or, worse, who might have been victimized by it? In other words, what if the impulse to lead comes from a desire to help the progress of the species and not from a youthful ability to orchestrate and manipulate taunters that’s now directing itself into the wider world? Is such leadership even possible? How might what we discovered in our little thought experiment play into this? Could a leader with progressive vision get a pack of dogs to settle down enough to be vaccinated and maybe even learn a few commands? How are our enlightened discussions related to this? Do we speak to each other out of a belief in leadership? To return for a moment to my experiences, which I briefly noted in the opening paragraph, I can say that as a result of my encounters with bullying I see human barbarity as a puzzle to be solved or something to be overcome through large movement towards a new human future.
But I also know I have no taste for aligning with a diversity of others to achieve such progress. That, too, is a result of my experiences. My anger sparkles like fireflies in a jar. I’ll poke a few holes in the lid, but that’s it. Gonna keep things screwed shut and glowing on a shelf in my room.
Let me quickly move to bridge the gaping chasm of awkwardness. I do not necessarily expect comments on this post. Please do not feel burdened to respond before submitting fresh posts. I encourage a race to submit a new post. I, too, am scanning the walls of my cubicle for possible material.