Medicine Man

Yupik shaman Nushagak.jpg

Yupik shaman Nushagak” by Carpenter, Frank G. (Frank George), 
1855-1924, photographer, collector. – Library of Congress [1]
Forms part of the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection. Gift; 
Mrs. W. Chapin Huntington; 1951.. 
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Modern World can be scary sometimes.

I had to explain to my 10 year old yesterday: as a rule people are frightened by things they do not understand. This is why Shaman became so revered by generations of the past, their ability to comprehend the complexities of the human body far beyond the capacity of most. It’s why for a very long time it was simply easier to grasp the concept of the Universe revolving around us and not the other way around. Currently, it appears that everybody’s got a dose of the Social Crusader about them. Being morally indignant is the cause du jour, and the prevalence of Social Media in our lives means this can happen and inevitably we’ll discover that other people agree with us when we speak out. Except sometimes? Maybe your cause célèbre wasn’t  a problem for everyone else, and perhaps by doing what you’ve done there’ll be more harm caused than good.

But, it’s social media so that doesn’t matter, right?

Boycriedwolfbarlow.jpg

Except, it actually does matter quite a bit, especially when the focus of ire is something that maybe you think is a problem but with a few steps back becomes normal and acceptable for everyone else. The counter to this is simple: once upon a time, what we now consider barbaric and unacceptable was seen as commonplace because that was the way society functioned. Slavery was the norm, people used real money to secure passage into Heaven and leeches were invaluable in medicine. But hang on, that’s not even accurate now, is it? All this stuff still happens. Women remain victims, men feel emancipated, the youth rail and rebel at anything with a hashtag. The world is inherently skewed towards a certain set of values. The good guys don’t always win, right?

Change is a curious beast. What one person things is wrong is inevitably absolutely fine for many others.

What I miss more than anything else right now is moderation. I am as much to blame as the rest of Humanity for not taking a mental step backwards some days before I open my mouth. Instant communication means you can be down someone’s throat before they’re even capable of taking a breath to defend themselves, and that can never be a good thing because actually sometimes you don’t want to explain your reasoning anyway. There are days when it isn’t about the moral crusade or the trailblazing change, it’s just life. People are born, live and die and in that that time the wealth of experience is so vast, it becomes impossible to accurately mirror the diversity. Especially when it comes to literature and media, the mainstream often forgets that what society allows is often now what people can cope with seeing. Particularly if they are impressionable or sensitive.

Trying to change the old to the new is hard work. Often it is better to ignore the old altogether and just start again.

Or often, let’s just change the subject completely.

Some days I come here to make a point. Today I arrived realising that actually, I’m happy with the World at this moment. I get why some people are really cross, and that others want to have a rant, and that you guys over there are really pissed off because this is 2015 and this shouldn’t be happening any more, and if I agree with you I will only move to make that clear when I’m convinced my personal argument is sound. I refuse to pin personal colours to any flag any more unless I’m prepared to back that argument up with facts I feel are irrefutable. It seems a decent life skill to cultivate, because if I can’t stand by the courage of conviction… well, what’s the point? Maybe it’s mostly down now to the understanding that picking a moment doesn’t matter nearly as much as feeling comfortable you’re doing what’s right for you.

When I have something worth hearing? You’ll know about it.

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