Present Tense

Raising Hell: Overrated

“Keep Calm and Carry On?  No, thanks.  I’d Rather Raise Hell and Change the World”

 

A friend posted that on Facebook the other day and it got me to pondering.  Don’t we need both types of people in the world?  The calm, deliberate types and the passionate, raise hell types?

For most of my life, I’d fall into the latter category, but I’m under no illusion whatsoever that I’ve done anything to “change the world”.  As a radio host and writer, I’ve certainly had a platform to exert some influence or at the very least piss a lot of people off, but true “world changers” are in short supply.

I admire those who can remain calm and clear-headed; who can see both sides of an issue/situation/disagreement and take their time to weigh in. They are typically much more measured and wise than those of us who mistake our passion and intensity for action.  I’ve lost count of all of the quick judgements and decisions that I’ve made relying on my impatient intensity.  In nearly all instances, taking my time would have saved me some trouble.

Sadly, we seem to be in an era where measured, moderate responses and opinions are derided.  Expressing empathy or exhibiting the ability to see both sides of an issue is deemed “squishy” or even worse “moderate” (when did that become dirty word?).  Passion certainly has it’s place in life and can fan the flame of our humanity, but it needs to be balanced with a bit of humility.

So, when I read a quote like that I cringe a bit.  It’s very either/or.  Why can’t we meld the two?  Ghandi changed the world without raising hell, as did Jesus and countless others that I’m too ignorant to name right now. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks for me.

There seems to be a cultural imperative that anger equals passion; that ‘raising hell’ will somehow change the world or at least your little corner of it.  I’m not so sure that’s true.  In fact, I tend to think that the best way to change the world is to change ourselves. I think we all need a bit more introspection and a little less ‘hell raising’; particularly if your idea of changing the world involves angry rants or posts on the internet.

I’ve been on a quest for truth for a few years now.  It began as I searched for a religious or spiritual path.  What I’ve discovered is that many of my beliefs, both political and spiritual, were just not true; they didn’t allow other viewpoints in.  I was closed off to the vast amount of  knowledge and wisdom that’s available to all of us.

So, we’re back to humility.  Admitting that what you thought was true, just isn’t.  I think that we would all do well to critically examine our political, religious, financial, spiritual or whatever beliefs.  You owe it to yourself as an evolving, growing human.  You may find that you’re raising hell for something that upon further investigation is complete crap.  You may be expending a ton of physical, psychic and emotional energy defending a position that is ridiculous.

So, what is it? “Keep Calm and Carry On, Raise Hell and Change the World” or sit quietly and open yourself to other ways of seeing and reacting?  You’re in charge.

November 10, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Jane, never forget that often times big changes come in little bits… constant little bits of change in a quiet room. I hear that’s what Gandhi did.. Namaste:)

    Comment by kandisnz | November 10, 2012 | Reply

  2. Love this blog

    Comment by Marge beem | November 11, 2012 | Reply

  3. The day you stop growing, forget how to explore, quit listening, it’s time to start checking out funeral homes.

    Comment by cealarenne | November 11, 2012 | Reply

  4. “…those who can remain calm and clear-headed; who can see both sides of an issue/situation/disagreement and take their time to weigh in.”

    These are the ones I find myself listening to more than anyone else. Passion is great, but so is objectivity.

    “They are typically much more measured and wise than those of us who mistake our passion and intensity for action.”

    Agreed. Deliberate and thoughtful action, even if slower, seems to have made deeper and longer lasting changes in the world, and even in my own home, than knee-jerk reactions and passion about what has gone ‘wrong’.

    “Sadly, we seem to be in an era where measured, moderate responses and opinions are derided.”

    Or, at very least, not as ‘valuable’ as a means to sell advertising in news media. Watching someone think quietly, or watching a committee discuss something rationally and calmly, is not as exciting as the few ‘activists’ who make messes and yell hate.

    “I tend to think that the best way to change the world is to change ourselves.”

    I read this quote online once, ‘Creating a better world tomorrow, begins with changing ourselves today.’ It seems so passive, yet I can see the principle in action all around my community- and it does have an impact. I see people enjoying their lives more, and being more beneficial to their community, and I GRAVITATE towards their ways, learn about them, and adopt the best parts.

    “I was closed off to the vast amount of knowledge and wisdom that’s available to all of us. So, we’re back to humility. Admitting that what you thought was true, just isn’t.”

    I’ve experienced that being ‘closed off’ myself. It has, indeed, been exercise in humility (especially for someone who fancies himself to be intelligent) to get past it. I have had to stop saying ‘I know’ and start saying ‘tell me more.’ Even people I figured I would get no new or useful ideas from have invariably had something inspiring to share with me- when I took the time to wait for it, instead of writing them off.

    “You owe it to yourself as an evolving, growing human.”

    Very true. Loved this post. I look forward to reading more. 🙂 Cheers.

    Comment by Walking No Line | November 26, 2012 | Reply

  5. I love this blog because I’ve been the complete opposite most of my life. And I really got tired of hearing how nice and quiet I was over the years. In my early 20’s I was a little bit of a hellraiser but it didn’t last that long. In spite of that I was still nice and quiet by comparison to most of the people I knew. I tried to avoid too much drama and bottled up anger when I was mad. The weird thing is over the last probably 10 years I’ve gone the opposite direction and I say exactly what I mean. I think you need to have a balance and not go too crazy either direction. I’ve learned to say no to people and mean it which was really a revelation that the world wouldn’t end and if they had a problem with it—they did.

    Comment by Tania | January 8, 2013 | Reply

  6. “Keep Calm and Carry on” was one of three slogans used to raise morale of the British public during the second world war, along with “Freedom Is In Peril. Defend It With All Your Might” and “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory”. The posters with the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry on” were not released publicly at the time, as the posters were intended to encourage rebuilding after a mass bombing of a major city by the nazis, which never happened in Britain. As you can see, these posters were associated with courage, strength of spirit, and freedom-fighting. I think there has been a grave misunderstanding about what the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry on” means. It’s nothing to do with a measured response or a “squishy” attitude. It was about not panicking in the face of disaster, but carrying on in rebuilding. I really wish people would research this before jumping to incorrect conclusions.

    Comment by Alicia | April 6, 2013 | Reply


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