People are Interesting

This is sure to last all of about 1 day, but welcome to my attempt to write a little bit more frequently. There’s a cliché out there that says that writing is like a muscle, the more you exercise it the easier it is to do. I’m not entirely sure that this is necessarily true, but if I’m successful in writing a little bit more frequently over the next while perhaps I’ll have some sort of insight on this statement’s ‘truth’. I’m not promising any sort of brilliant writing over the next little while because I am locked in a great struggle with the monster best known as MPA. It’s big and scary, and to make matters worse, it’s purple–it’s Western’s Masters in Public Administration. That means that my mental capacity is being greatly occupied by all things local government, so again, I say, don’t expect anything above a MVP (minimum viable product) for a little while.

Really, all I wanted to say today was that I think people are interesting. For some reason I was in a particularly contemplative mood today so I was tuned into the different ways that people move through their day-to-day lives. I watched sad, intense and complex things like the varying online reactions to the attacks in Paris and Yemen, but I also watched people do simple things like teach classes, walk across the street, or shovel snow. I wondered what each of those people was thinking about. I watched people so wrapped up in their own thoughts and their own personal missions that they didn’t seem like they noticed anyone else. I wondered what they were thinking about. I watched people be absolutely sure of their own opinion and others be absolutely unsure about their ability to make sense of anything. I wondered what they were thinking about. I watched people question the mainstream, join the mainstream, try to figure out where the mainstream was, and just generally seem confused. I wondered what they were thinking about.

Most of all I thought about how little I knew about what each person was thinking and how my perception of what they were thinking was informed by the tiny sliver of their thoughts that I could see with my eyes. I realized that whatever I was looking at was something that I was thinking rather than something that they were thinking and that their motivations for displaying the words or actions that I saw could be completely different than what I perceived them to be. The moral of the story, if there is one, is that I realized how much of my own reality was constructed by my own perception of what I thought others were doing or trying to do. At the moment, I’m thinking consciously about taking the time to recognize my own inescapable role in how I see what others do, say and display. I am reminded that I admire people who take the time to avoid making claims on big ‘T’ truths, respect those who question their perceptions of the world around them, value people who try their best to understand before reacting, and truly appreciate those who challenge existing narratives in the most difficult of times.

One final thing, at the end of each of these posts (who knows how long this will last) I’m going to put down the name of someone that caught my attention during the day. You might disagree with them completely, I might disagree with them completely, but they’ll be saying something unique, and with intentions that appear to be good. Check them out, see what you think, and try to understand why they’re saying what they say.

So, today, check out Bilal Ahmed. We went to school together at Oakridge High School in a time that seems like eons ago. Bilal is a writer for Souciant Magazine and is never afraid to challenge existing narratives about, well, just about anything. Bilal is an incredible writer who you are unlikely to always agree with, but who will always force you to think. Check out Bilal’s blog, follow at @bilalatahrir, and/or read Souciant articles.

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