Rise of the orators

Politics. I thought I’d never get back into this, having lost the willingness to understand their shoutings, their fightings, this unbearable division of our society in smaller and smaller parts. But here we go again, as it seems it has become unavoidable lately unfortunately. You might have noticed how it has changed in the last years, losing most of its messages for those strong figures, those talkers, those new orators. As it seems, we’ll never really understand history lessons while we’re bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over, giving up again our convictions, our ideas, for a person that is able to empower a crowd, to rise the angriness and play with the people struggles.

I seem to remember a time, not so long ago, where politics were an idea, a hope, something that we’d look upon to for our future, to build something. Yes they were humans, making mistakes, falling into the same traps we all fall into, but at least they were trying to build something greater than them. Then somewhere along the road we lost this, this willingness to overcome our present to aim for a better future. In the last years, by a dictatorship of the majority, we let orators take bit by bit the power of our democracies. And every time someone tries to warn us, we’re bound to say that “it’s not the same, you’re going to far”. But yes, it is the same, it has always been the same, since the dawn of democracy. As democracy in itself has the root of its destruction. As we’re humans and imperfects, we’re bound to fall to great speeches, to those men and women that can directly talk to our most primary feelings. Anger, fear, sadness, … those are the things they use against us.

Bit by bit, politics has become a giant circus, where the message doesn’t tell much but where what’s relevant is who says it and how. Marketing has embraced politics, shaping our debates with the most terrifying weapons we could think of to shape human minds. There’s not a single bit of project in their message, just crazy talks about how those “others” are “dangerous”, “rapists”, “thieves”, “strange”, “different”. And everyday we’re falling more and more into this sadistic game.

In the United States, we let a terrible man reach the highest states of power, in Turkey we’re giving more and more power to a man who has everything of a dictator, in Belgium we let our politics divide us and block our country about useless things, in Hungary and Chechnya we let them build new camps to protect us from those “others”, in the United Kingdoms we let populists break one of the most beautiful idea our democracies had ever made, in France the current race for presidency has become a nightmare on every side with almost each candidate playing on fear, angriness, avoiding the uneasy questions, and almost all of them trying to control our medias, our information, the fifth pillar of our power.

People have never been this passionate about politics on the other side. But for the wrong reasons. We’re dwelling into a war of feelings, not ideas anymore, refusing to hear the complains of the people who do not think like us, who dare to support another candidate, another hope. As we met the orators win the power, we also let the most demagogues, the most enraged people steal every single topic of discussion we can find. It has now became impossible to talk about racism, LGBT rights, foreign policy, health, or anything on each side. In a time where we’d desperately need moderate people to build a future we could all aim for, we let our society become a gigantic battlefield of fanatics.

And each day, those fanatics are reinforcing our cleavages, by pushing away people who are not truly against them, but aren’t just agreeing with all their agenda. By alienating those diverse opinions to fall into a black and white divide, we’re destroying our democracies and letting the power into the hands of those Manichean orators. We pushed away moderates from the scene and replaced them by performers. But performers, might they be black or white, aren’t willing to build a future. They’re willing to build up their power, their ego, as it’s the exact thing that put them into this position. And every time we try to talk about them, we’re accused of strengthening them, killing in itself the basic idea of a democratic discussion.

We’re all prone to failure, that our beauty and our curse, but still I hope this is not too late. Now I look to France, hoping that my predictions won’t come true, that we won’t let fear win, but still. Still I hope to see moderates come back on the scene, daring to explain to the common people that the world isn’t black and white, daring to challenge people with complex ideas, with real projects encompassing all of our society, embracing our differences. I hope to see moderates fight the fanatics from every side of the battle and tell them that they do not have the right to confiscate our societies, to go on further in this division war we’re in it. Because our world is a colorful rainbow, and it’s in this diversity that we’ll be able to build something greater than us.

Every story of tragedy has a story of heroïsm to go with it. For every Holocaust, there’s a Schindler
 — N.K. Jemisin

Coming to terms with our world

Recently I’ve just finished the book The Path by Michael Puett, which gave me a lot to think about on life, its struggles, success and things I had difficult times to understand.

In today’s society, we tend to conform to a lot of labels. I went through a lot of them myself: HSP, introvert, INTJ, high IQ person, gay, at some point even borderline and depressive (I’ll take the chance to talk about this more in-depth later I think). We tend to conform to those labels at some point. While they help us finding our place in our society and help us understand who we are, often they end up blocking us or giving false excuses to some behaviors we may adopt.

Discovering asian philosophy through this book, I’ve come to understand how we’re forever a changing person. Who I am can’t really be defined by a label, especially because I tend to change from time to time, from the people I meet to the situation I find myself in. I’ve always had troubles to understand how I could be so extrovert in my work, being sometimes quite assertive, while on opposite being so introvert when I was meeting another guy, having a lot of troubles to engage in a discussion except in a one to one basis. Identifying myself as an introvert tend to make some of my best friends laugh quite a lot, themselves labelling me « the most social introvert in the world ».

But we’re forever changing, there’s no stable self, just as our world is not coherent nor unchanging. We tend to make plans, projections, based on who we are at the moment and who we think we will be in the future. By doing so, we’re cutting ourselves from the complexities of live and the real messy world we live in.

And while some parts of those labels have a deep meaning for me (I’ll always experiment deeper emotions than most of the other human beings, my mind is also working at a faster rate and behaving differently, those are things that supposedly will never change), lately I’ve felt some other labels blocking me. As I’ve always defined myself as gay, lately I found myself having some real crush on some girls, which led to a real struggle in my mind. Those things may change, and I’ve come to accept myself as a « work in progress ».

Same goes for my line of work. Having worked for 8 years now, the job I’m doing now is totally different from what I had in my mind when I finished my degree in graphic design. But I changed, I made choices, I decided to progressively change my career path depending on what attracted me at the moment I was encountering them. And for this I’m so grateful we live in a world where there’s so much possibilities to develop our potential. Too often I found people struggling with a diploma that wasn’t right for them anymore, feeling stuck in their life. Nowadays you have the chance to change, you can bend your life and reorient your path. I deeply believe that each one of us has the possibility to divert, to take another path at anytime. We’re only stuck in our minds.

Lately my life has dramatically changed. This is something I’ll take the time to reflect on by the end of the year, but those changes were fundamentally necessary and even if some things aren’t yet perfect (and some will never be I guess), I finally feel at ease with the path I’m travelling on. After years of trying to understand the logic behind the world, behind human behavior, behind relationships, I’ve finally accepted that our world and ourselves are not logical beings, as much as we’d like to be. We live in a messy and unpredictable world and while this might induce some fear, this also means that everything is possible. So go, grow, take the path you want to take, and become the person you want to be. Because time is flowing by and this might be the only true thing we can get behind.

« You eliminate your ability to grow as a person because you are limiting that growth to what is in the best interests of the person you happen to be right now, and not the person you will become. » — Michael Puett, The Path