july 21st, 2021
i genuinely pity internet bigots whose disdain seems rooted in convictions that like, all trans women
are the worst people they see on twitter who get in substanceless arguments about the semantics of
lgbt words & listen to 100 gecs, i'm actually willing to entertain the idea that any one of them
could be more emotionally intelligent than me if they'd developed as people in the company
of quieter people who act like actual people rather than having to impersonally base their
evaluations of a whole class of people on the most visible endless pool who
act like insufferable caricatures as an artifact of social media
& to be clear, i think the people on twitter etc. are in no way culpable for "driving" the bigots to become
the way they are, or serving as anything approximating an "excuse" for it. the twitter users' presence is
just inevitable, & i think they impersonally function as a constant in the complex process of the internet
causing some people to become insane. as it does. this feeling for me i think is rooted in friction between
free will & structural elements that play a hand in driving people to do & say what they do
i keep thinking back to things i said & did at a time that i consider myself to have been a really actively
caustic person. not an outright bigot, albeit probably irony-poisoned enough to reasonably appear that
way at times. i now totally disavow it all, of course, but that has no bearing on what i actually
said at the time. if there was any buried, repressed desire at the time to stop being that way,
the circumstances were such that it didn't win out. that's already set in stone
& if there wasn't even any repressed desire of that sort, then... well, either way, it's like this current
(by my estimate) more thoughtful version of me doesn't really have any agency relative to that old me.
the old me was a slave to whatever confluence of things made me so repugnant. if the old me had behaved
rationally, had behaved with the improved rationality i now feel i have, she... wouldn't even exist
for comparison. how can i fault her when i have that, like, fundamental advantage?
like i said, i wasn't an outright bigot but it doesn't feel hard to daydream a shift in the
circumstances, to imagine having been one. & that is such a masochistic act. it would
be such a humiliating stain on my person, very irreconcilable with my current self
what i'm saying is that the extant bigots are living a masochistic reality
so, when i'm talking face-to-face with someone like that, i can't know for certain that they'll escape the
state of being caustic, like i did, but it seems like it makes sense to regard them like that old version
of myself, to empathize to an extent with the humiliation they're taking onto themselves. this doesn't
have to be false balance that ignores the threat they pose toward me as a class of person. it
can be a private acknowledgment that has no bearing on our social relationship
if i can't regard us both as the same tabula rasas on some level, one who seems to be doing fairly
well & another who seems to have become very sick, it kind of feels like i'm just attributing our
difference to a more inherently moral character on my part. & does that not just implicitly reduce
the arguments between progressives & reactionaries to perfect angels vs. evil bogeymen?
no weird moral binary like that is ever going to have anything to do with reality!
one could say it's clear that the hypothetical person i'm speaking with, just like the old version
of me, is in desperate need of maturation. & i can't force that on them. it's a common adage, "they
won't change unless they want to." which is to say, if they wanted to, then they'd engage in the
introspection that would lead them out of how they're currently thinking. so why haven't they
done it yet? is there anything that keeps knocking them out of it? at the very least, nothing seems
to have broken through to them yet that not stewing in hatred could actually make them happier
does being brought to that realization finally enable them to behave rationally? are they then at the mercy of
whatever is to eventually do that, just waiting for it to come? just how moral can they become autodidactically?
does that limit vary across people? is it just lower for them, as evidenced by their current bigoted state?
at what precise point does it begin to hinge solely on their agency? at what point can you really say
that someone is making a choice, instead of regressing further to suggest some condition that
might be invalidating that "choice," hindering them from choosing differently?
i don't really have a thesis here, it's just a bunch of paragraphs