NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST

“Let’s not censor too much, and yes we must speak our minds and the truth; but we must also ‘watch the destination of our words’ and understand the ‘fuel propelling it’. It could be anger, it could be hatred. Sometimes it’s provocation, sarcasm, humor. Sometimes it’s just to be contrary to what everyone else is saying. Just stop and think before you hit ‘send’.”

Extract from Richard Armitage’s blogpost which you can read fully here https://www.cybersmile.org/blog/richard-armitage-hobbit-human-condition-social-media

 Dear Richard,

At the bottom of the piece published yesterday on the Cybersmile Foundation blog we were kindly invited to give feedback. If you mean what you say, which I believe you do, and you are truly up for bringing “debating society” back to schools, I assume you will also be open to and welcome this feedback as a means of extending the conversation that you have started within this online “community”. You are right, it is impossible to know how one’s words will be received when we don’t have the addressee face to face, but it is also true that by the same token, we must not be too harsh in judging the motives of those who speak online against us or the people and things we care for. I always say that none of us are the sum of our tweets, and we MUST take the time to peel off the layers of people’s souls, before passing sentence and assuming it is only ill intent that fuels their “negativity”. There is a fine line between that and advocating censorship so that we protect ourselves from anything that challenges our own views.

Like you, I spend hours, days, editing what I initially write, and as a passionate lover of languages and words, I am fully aware of the repercussions words can have, but in a society where high profile men and women have such platforms, influence and effect on collectives and societies, I refuse to assume that the majority of people who are controversial, critical or in some people’s eyes negative, call it what you will, do it with the sole purpose of being contrary to what everyone else is saying.

“Not all those who wander (from the flock, the herd, the masses) are lost”. How very wise and inspired those words were. Often those who wander, wander because they are able to see what others can’t or won’t; what others conveniently choose to ignore, because it is in their interest to do so, because it is safer to stay in the confined safety of the pen than to venture out, or because conforming to what the majority are saying will get them where they want to go or simply because it is not in their nature to rock the boat as they like to enjoy a trouble free, peaceful life (what an impossible contradiction). Departing from the trodden path takes great courage and it is one of the most costly things a person can do in life. Costly because they will lose everything and people whom they hold most dear in the process, but also a worthy crusade because they will gain the elusive peace and incomparable joy that comes with knowing that you have been true to yourself, to what drives you and what you believe in. It is a tough gamble, but when done for the right reasons, it sure pays dividends to risk it all on that one hunch.

History has taught us, or perhaps not all of us, that when we ignore those who wander; those who are contrary to what the majority are saying, it is often to our own peril and at an unforgiveable cost. The way I look at those who wander, who are often contrary, is not because they are trying to draw attention to themselves, which a few are, but because in being contrary they are raising the alarm, spreading awareness of those symptoms in people, relationships, communities, social tendencies which if ignored, can develop into a full blown condition which often brings the most intense of suffering, humiliation, and devastation.

I consider myself one of those people who is “contrary”, but not because I seek to draw attention to myself, so not who I am, but because the things I speak about matter to me at times more than life itself. I can’t help it. It is the way I’m wired and boy do I feel wired at times? I feel this power, electricity within to say the things I do, because I believe there is a valid discussion to be had about them, because to feel those things in my heart and not bring them to the table would be to deny who I am and the ability to change those things which I can. I have been on twitter and WordPress for years, and to this day I only have a handful of followers because I have raffled a few feathers; I have refused to buckle under pressure and swim down-stream because everything in me was shouting out “Change course, take a step back and look at what is ahead where the majority are heading.” Nevertheless, the few who are kind and brave enough to stick around and read what I have to say, know they are getting someone who will not be tossed by the waves or the direction of the wind. I’d rather fight alone for my convictions than be in the company of thousands who repeatedly change their true colours like Autumn leaves.

I absolutely love and respect your insights and it pains me that such a wonderful human being as yourself has suffered so at the hands of bullies. I love how you have opened up this forum where we can express, discuss and challenge our own opinions but also learn to  accept that when others’ opinions differ from our own, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are to see them as the enemy or someone we need to knock down with our nasty, rude words and witch-hunts until they speak no more.

I applaud you for that. It takes courage to make a stand and try to be a light in all this darkness so many are encountering in social media, and no doubt putting yourself in this spot will cost you, but I think what you will gain will be so much more valuable than what you lose.

Take care my friend and keep up the good work.

Mercedes Underwood X

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6 thoughts on “NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST

  1. Good post–a reminder that being “contrary” does not mean you are being a bully or trying to cause hurt to another person. Sometimes we have
    to swim against the tide in order to stand up for what we believe in.

    • Angie,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I have had so much backlash lately for expressing my views on Hannibal and Richard’s involvement in it. It very much feels amongst many in his fandom that unless you agree 100% with everything he does and says you are either not a true fan, you do not deserve to be or worse still you do not have the right to have a say. Scary when you think how far we have come in history to allow freedom of speech and yes criticism too. I always tell my kids and my husband as they tell me when we feel that each others’ actions or words are not quite right or to our taste. This does not mean we love each other less, but actually that we love each other all the more because we are honest enough and we care enough to say such things in order to not see them hurt or make a wrong choice later on. Cruel to be kind type of thing.

  2. Hello ladies,
    I’m a Richard fan who’s not online, but with everything that’s been going on lately, I felt the need to jump in too and say a few words. First of all, I totally agree with you all. I don’t love Richard any less for being in Hannibal (which I will NOT be watching), but I feel that he made a poor choice. It’s one thing to objectively, and even mercifully explore the mind and heart of a dangerously mentally ill, violent, fictional or real character (to put it delicately), but it’s another to create a TV show, meant for public entertainment or even “enlightenment” which graphically showcases the things that sick person does. The problem I have with Hannibal is that this Brian Fuller person, and whoever else is responsible for putting this show together, seems to get some sort of passive, sick pleasure out of the physical and psychological destruction of life. While reading and watching interviews, I noticed something these people all seem to have in common, Richard included. They justify the show by hammering tirelessly on the concept of “hate the sin; love the sinner,” and “good verses evil,” but then I asked myself, “Seriously? Why do they feel the need to express these basic concepts in such a revolting way, unless something inside of them truly revels in the violence and destruction of human life, and they’re consciences are bothering them?” I’m not saying that we don’t all have a violent side; that’s part of our fallen nature, but did you ever notice that (and we all do this to different extents from time to time), whenever people want to give in to that fallen nature and silence their conscience, they repeatedly harp on the good, more ordered aspects of what they’re doing in order to justify it to themselves?…and when they either receive or anticipate criticism, they victimize themselves to turn it around on the people criticizing them, as Richard did in his essay, “….try being an uninhibited, experimental actor with all of those hangups!” The truth is, evil and filth always have a little good mixed with them. If they didn’t, few people would choose to do wrong, or commit atrocities because they wouldn’t have any way to justify it. They would have to admit the truth and say, “Yah, I’m doing evil because I like to, and I don’t care what anybody thinks.”

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