This is an open letter in the spirit of the holidays and is not meant to provoke a response but simply to give you an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective, which I am doing in the hopes that it will carry some positive meaning in your life. As I have watched, read and observed you as much as possible within the E2 community, I am driven to offer what words I can to you. From what I can see, yours is a troubled life, filled with conflict, anger and frustration. As someone whose life was once guided by these things, I feel a certain obligation to try in whatever way I can to help you to relieve yourself of some of the weight you carry.
These things are a weight, which is something we do not realize until we are able to unburden ourselves of them. The direct and tangible "causes" that bring the weight upon us are often what we direct our anger and frustration at, but in doing so we only increase the burden upon ourselves. Conflict in the cause of what we feel is righteous indignation at things that are personal, as well as in the greater collective sense, feels justified. Believe me when I tell you that no one crusades for a cause they do not believe in. No one expresses deep anger and indignation at things they do not feel are wrong or misguided. No one fights for things they do not believe in, or against things they do not believe are wrong. Realizing this is an important part of understanding the nature of the weight.
Being human we are prone to moments of anger and righteous indignation, and even as we learn they are futile and counterproductive to our experience here, we still have bouts of them. I stumble through them myself, usually driven by the frustration I feel because I am unable to alter the course of a world I see driving itself towards certain disaster. Strong opinions and feelings, backed by what we see as evidence through our personal experience and the belief systems we develop as individuals, can cause us to rage against what we see as wrong and misguided, but these rages do nothing to change these perceived wrongs and only weaken our abiliity to do what we can to have positive impact on others.
I see you as someone who struggles with a great deal of weight and as someone who has allowed his weight to create anguish and turmoil within himself. At times when you speak in the catbox or when your writeups read as angry diatribes, I find myself feeling your pain, the pain of someone who carries a great deal of anger within himself. Anger turns to hurt and hurt demands reaction, and for someone with as much pride as yourself, that reaction tends towards raging against those things you feel are responsible for your pain. It is not a simple cause and effect situation where this makes you do that, but I think it is a culmination of years of feeling you have been wronged by people in your life and wronged by the culture and society around you. I've been there and I know how it builds up until it explodes and you just want to curse everyone in sight because you are unhappy, walking the razor's edge of misery, and feeling that because you are a man it is wrong to admit weakness and that instead you must fight to get what you deserve in whatever way you can.
I've learned over time and experience with my own struggles with anger and indignation that the only real answer is forgiveness, followed by mediation, compromise, sacrifice and acceptance when it comes to our struggles with individuals who we feel attacked, vilified and belittled by. At times we must move on and leave the struggles in the past, but more often than not I've learned that when we avoid the nasty and pointlessness of conflict we can learn to understand that we all see things from different points of view, and in different shades of gray. Our problems come from an insistence on seeing everything in black and white, right and wrong, good and evil, and from avoiding the understanding that no one thinks they are wrong and no one thinks they are evil. We are all simply just who we are.
I am not right, because to claim I am right is to become righteous myself, so all I offer you is these words, what I have learned in my journey through this life is important to maintain balance, happiness and peace in my life. I've worked at times to resolve old conflicts in my life, to restore the things that were important to me, and it took time, hard work as well as a great deal of forgiveness and acceptance, both for others and for myself, for I have been wrong far more often than I have been right in this life and I don't expect that to change any time in the near future.
I am as you, a deeply flawed human being trying to make his way in this life the best that I can. We come from different corners and different perspectives. I've never tried to argue with you, even though my opinions on many things are very different from yours, because there is little, if anything, to be gained from such an endeavor. I've tried to bring a little laugh here and there ("University of Maryland girls are obsessed with the writings of GentlemanJim"). Somehow I can see that behind your defenses and your anger there is a man with a very good and honest heart who wishes his life could be different, with less weight and less of a struggle when it comes to the things that matter to you. Sometimes you end up learning that the things you thought were important for one reason are important in ways you never were able to see before.
And I am deeply saddened by the tale of your unhappy Christmas. Truly I am, and it was that which drove me to write this to you and to post it publicly, as I believe it is the best possible way to do whatever it is that I find myself doing so often these days. I can't rescue you. I'm merely a broken down wretch finding his own way through the forest. We can only truly help ourselves. We are our own salvation. Where the spirit leads us...
A little tidbit someone asked me to pass along... you cannot teach unless you are willing to learn and you cannot learn unless you are willing to teach.
Take care, my brother, and may you live to see your dawn.