Truth is Often Offensive
Anything offends us these days. Yet it shouldn’t be so.
We must look past such petty worries. Offense has to do with the Ego. The act of being ‘offended’ is an act which inflates the Ego. It’s a dangerous thing, since the Ego is quite honestly the source of human suffering.
More About the Ego
To put it simply, if we accepted everything that happened to us in life, including death, with a smile on our face and a spring in our step, how could we possibly suffer? Our notion of expectations is a practice in the Ego, since we determine that we know what’s best for us, and that we have full control and direction over our lives. We, as humans, think of ourselves as the pinnacle of evolution, as the center of the Universe. Ask anyone about the story of the Universe. Whether they believe in creationism or Evolution, the story has a beginning, some stuff that went down, and finally us. The story always centers around and ends with us. Yet Evolution continues on, here as well as elsewhere in the Universe. We’re really not that special.
Bringing it Back to Offense
Anyways, The practice of being comfortable with offense is a good one, since it encourages us to check our Egos in at the door. It’s especially important because the Truth is often offensive.
My dad will yell at me, telling me I need to study harder. He’ll pick out small things I’m doing or not doing throughout my day and blow them up. I hate hearing it. Yet he’s right. And when I work to understand what he’s saying, I see that he’s on point and I haven’t been working hard enough. I haven’t been caring enough. And I haven’t respected myself enough.
Truth is often something we don’t want to hear, but that we need to hear. Thus, it’s imperative that we check our Ego’s and work to find the Truth.
Now, there are instances where something may look like it’s simply someone taking offense. When a woman objects to the B word, when I object to be likened to terrorists, when someone makes a racist comment. These things may look like they’re simply offensive, but they’re more than that.
When society freely refers to women as B’s, it instills a subconscious belief in men that we’re better than women, that women are free to be subjected to domestic violence, to sexual crimes, to human trafficking. This may seem a little bit like a slippery slope, but big change happens with small steps. And referring to women as B’s is a significant step towards viewing women as less than human.
With racism, it encourages black children to view themselves as less than white children. It teaches them to be ashamed of their skin color. How can any person do well in school and life when there’re constant reminders that society views her as less than human, day-by-day?
Finally, with being likened to a terrorist, it instills fear in the US population as a whole. For me personally, I’m threatened when I walk into new situations where people have rarely seen other Sikhs. I instantly notice heads turning, whispers shared. I tense if there groups of guys are nearby or passing by. It leads to hate crimes in the US, where mis-guided and ignorant people take the lives of innocent Sikhs. Sikhs who care for the betterment of humanity.
Each of these instances is an example of a group of people being undercut or demeaned. Each of these is an example of a lose-lose situation. Each of these is an example of how sometimes what we equate with simple offense is more than that.
Aside from these exceptions, we must remember that the Truth hurts. In that light, I believe we all benefit by checking our Egos and listening when we may not want to hear. Remember, it takes small steps. We all make mistakes, which is why we’re here, to remind each other.
It’s a hard question, but what’s an instance where you’ve allowed your Ego to muddy your perception of the Truth? What’s a step you can take to try to become more open to the Truth in the future?