Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life.
Humans hurt each other. It’s something that seems to be almost universal among us.
We hurt each other individually with our words and our actions, and we hurt each other in groups, with our systems and our societies and the way we build them.
Some of the ways we hurt each other are hard to see because they’re both unintentional and dramatic.
Climate change is a great example. That was something we all did without realizing it, and it took a long time to recognize.
We can definitely see it now, and it’s definitely hurting people, but it’s hard to mobilize and take action against because there’s no one clear person to point at and blame.
Other ways we hurt each other is in how we build our societies, our social order, and our laws.
And these are usually very easy to see if you’re one of the disadvantaged, but much more difficult to confront if you’re one of the privileged.
Because again, YOU don’t want to take the blame, because it wasn’t YOUR idea.
And it’s hard to take responsibility for fixing it because the problem seems so big, and besides, you’re kind of benefitting from it, so …
These are big, complex problems, and they’re going to take big, complex answers.
But there is another way we hurt each other, and that is one on one. Individual actions that cause visible or even invisible harm.
And while this type of harm may not be as insidious or as sweeping, it can often have the greatest detrimental effect on an individual person’s life.
Now, no one’s innocent of this one. We’ve all done SOMETHING to harm another human being, very much including me.
I have done things that have deeply harmed friends and loved ones and family. And upon being told that I was causing harm, I have not always responded well.
I, like many people, have made excuses and kind of hoped people would just let it go.
And I don’t say that to tell you what a piece of crap I am, but to tell you that I have learned from those experiences and I know of what I speak.
Recently we have been learning about how some famous, beloved people, have caused unimaginable harm, in places and in situations that should have been safe.
It has been shocking and disturbing and disheartening. In many ways it’s worse than last year, when it seemed like one of our favorite artists was dying every other week.
Because not only do we lose a role model who we may have looked up to and can now only look at with fury and disgust, but we realize how many other amazing creators we must have lost due to these predators.
Creators who refused to put up with harassment and abuse and assault. Who chose instead to live their lives outside an industry or industries that were willing to sweep their suffering under the rug.
And I want you to know, if you’re wondering, as somebody who has hurt people, though never to that extent—there is NO excuse.
There is NO excuse for assault. There is NO excuse for predation. There is NO excuse for harassment.
We have heard all sorts of statements from these people. Some have denied any wrongdoing, only to be proven to be lying.
Some have given elaborate, carefully crafted non-apologies trying to make themselves out to be the good guy. Because of course it’s USUALLY a guy.
But there is always a justifier. Always a reason why what they did was understandable, a reason we shouldn’t think of them so badly. A reason we should let it go.
Except there’s no reason not to think about them badly, because there’s one common denominator in all their excuses: they are all giving us a reason they’re not going to change.
There’s no reason to forgive you if you’re the same person, if you haven’t demonstrated some change in who you are and how you act.
Why have none of these abusers, who almost uniformly have all the social access and money in the world, presented their plan for how to remove MORE abusers from the system?
Why have none of them, who could mobilize tens of thousands of people with one tweet, taken responsibility for cleansing their industry of others like them?
None of them have even offered to help repair the damage they’ve done to their victims. Now, maybe their victims don’t want anything to do with them, and that would be understandable. But they haven’t even tried.
There is no excuse for harming another. The only right answer is to apologize unequivocally, and then change YOURSELF and YOUR actions to fix what you’ve done.
And until then, don’t be surprised when none of us are willing to just let it go.
Thanks for watching, Rebel. I’ll see you on Friday. Byyye.