Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Theory of Relativity

Warning: I am angry and appalled by some statements I heard the other night.  While I still have that hope that perhaps the person who stated these things to me wasn't portraying their point in the right way, it set me off to hear what he said and I felt that I needed to defend myself and speak my mind.

All things are relative.  This statement I agree with.  I agree that life is all about perspective.  To one person, something that happens to them may seem like the end of the world because it is the most tragic thing to ever happen to them.  I think saying that two situations happening to two different people can be declared as relative, yes, but only if the two things are in the same type of category.  You can compare apples and oranges and say that their effect on people is relative, however, you cannot compare apples and race cars in the same way.

Let me explain.

The other day when discussing one of my previous blog entries with someone, they said that things are all relative.  I understand this, as I have already said.  If anyone understands seeing different perspectives, and understands that everyone can see things in a different way because of their own life experience, I certainly do.  However, the example they decided to use highly offended me.  This person had the audacity to claim that a 40 year old man with a wife and kids losing his job, is similar to a thirteen year old girl being raped by her father.  He claimed that to each of these people that event may be the most traumatic thing to ever happen to them, and because of that, they are the same.


First let me start off by saying, yes, I do understand that they are similar in the aspect that they may be the worst event that person has experienced.  I really do.  However, that is where the similarities end.  To start off, the 40 year old man who has lost his job, can at least count his blessings that he has a family, has children, a wife, had a job in the first place, etc.  Also, a job is replaceable.  Innocence is not.  The 40 year old man has at least gotten to live his life a bit, and if he is intelligent, knows that life has its ups and downs, and chances are, because he has a family, he'll see the importance in finding another job and do what he has to do to get a new one.  I'm not saying he might not be devastated, and there is a chance that he may end up becoming an alcoholic, or commit suicide, or some other tragic thing.  No person's reaction can be predicted.  However, for the rest of her life, when she is already so young, that poor 13 year old girl is going to carry that weight around.  She did nothing to encourage being raped, and now she has lost her innocence, her trust in her family, her control.  She will have issues in her future relationships, she will probably have issues with having sex, etc.  In this case, she may not be destined for failure.  She could end up holding out for the right relationship, getting married, and starting a charity for girls who are domestically abused.  I'm not saying that she wouldn't.  I'm just stating that while yes, a person's reaction is relative, it is dependent on how they feel, their perspective, their life, and what they choose to do with what has happened to them.  My issue is that I cannot fathom the comparison of the two being considered similar.  I guarantee if you polled forty year old men with wives and kids who had lost their job and asked them which was worse, they would agree that the 13 year old girl had bigger problems than themselves.

My theory of relativity is that, yes, everything is relative, it depends on a person's perspective of what is tragic to them.  But I think there are very few people in the world that would not agree with me that rape is worse than someone losing a job.  Honestly, the people who wouldn't agree with me, are probably the monsters that rape 13 year old children. (I am not saying that the person who said this to me rapes 13 year old children).  I think that while things are relative to each individual, there are certain things that are definitely worse than others and that most people would agree.  I feel that the comparison was the problem.  I believe that the person was trying to compare two things that had no business being compared.  It is as ludicrous as comparing an American being distraught over a hangnail as the same thing as an American firefighter being distraught over the fall of the twin towers.  You can compare two somewhat similar things and say they are relative.  You can say that one losing a job, and one losing a significant other, can be equally devastating to each person because it is relative to what they have been through.  You can not compare losing a job to a child being raped.

I believe I am too close to this issue, maybe that is why I got so heated about it, but it really led me to lose a little respect for the person.  I can only hope that the person did not communicate their point in an effective manner.  I really do encourage all conversations and debates about my blog, I just insist that they use a little more intelligence than this offensive conversation.  I also insist that while I allow them to state their case, that then they allow me to state my rebuttal, and then I will continue the debate taking turns with the person, expressing our individual beliefs until I feel the conversation has reached its end.  But I do not encourage people to throw their opinions at me and not hear what I have to say as a reply, especially when it is something as detestable as expressing an opinion about rape.

My feelings on this topic are all relative, but I guarantee that the majority of the people who read this blog would agree.  While everything can be relative, some things are just general beliefs that the majority hold about life.  Some things are taboo, some things are wrong, some things are unacceptable.  Yes, it is all relative to the person who experiences it, hears about it, or thinks about it, but in some cases the world comes together to believe the same thing about a specific idea.  Compare similar things and we'll debate.  Compare a chair to Pluto, and I think it's a waste of my time.

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