Having just watched Ariana Grande’s #OneLoveManchester (like millions of others) I also smiled and felt a deep sense of humanity in many of the images, tweets and updates on social networks.
Then you see something else; those other “people”. The ones who think it’s pointless, a charade, doom-merchants saying nothing will change.
Largely these people appear to be unhappy at an outpouring of humanity, compassion and kindness. Perhaps because they had a traumatic childhood, or their school years were filled with nasty incidents. Or they had some other inferiority complex that caused them to be sour, nasty and insulting of people who felt something. That something called emotion, lifted through the gestures of others.
Anyway, such atrocious people appear to be totally missing the point of what being a human being actually is. They’re acting a lot like irrational primates with little awareness of what they’re actually saying and doing and its impact on others. They’re careless. They’re heartless. They’re emotionally stunted. Their gestures of hate, condescending words and angry insults may give them a thrill, a rush of power and a brief sense of relevance to their cause but really, these are desperate, hollow and lonely pleas for recognition. They’re too emotionally stunted to realise it of course — such is their cognitive dissonance and self-absorbed belief. They genuinely believe it’s their superior intellect, morals or foresight at play and that everyone else is some loved-up, kumbaya-singing, hopeless case.
I’m delighted to know they couldn’t be more wrong and science shows us why. And let’s look at this from two specific stand points.
Firstly, they’re diminishing others’ heroic acts — by emergency services or other bystanders — through insulting others who are attending things like vigils and gatherings to satisfy a powerful emotion: Respect.
Respect for those who lost their lives in the attacks. Or are permanently damaged by them mentally and physically. Or who are hurting over the loss or damage to a loved one.
Secondly, they are oblivious to our need to show regard to others. For those who responded, who helped, who protected others.
Both are parts of our creation of the important state of being called the neuroception of safety. Something those insulting, arrogant idiots - no matter how much they try and suppress or deny it - just don’t have. They’re scared A LOT. Scared no-one will recognise them. Admire them. Believe them. So they create controversy, challenge popular views and be outspoken JUST SO others will react. It’s the most extreme form of sociopathy and even psychopathic tendencies that come from someone who belongs to nothing and is therefore a pale imitation of a human being.
So dancing at an Ariana Grande concert with a police officer is a gesture. It’s also now 3 or 4 young people who will probably never forget that night and this being a big part of it. And it’s that gesture of a working policeman there to protect others (perhaps even at the expense of their own well being) who showed what being a compulsive, caring and thoughtful person is even when on duty.
Pop stars will never change the world will they? With their entourages and privileged lifestyles. Maybe not through them becoming a directly engaged politician or freedom fighter but it was as, Gianpiero Petriglieri said in his tweet, “#onelovemanchester proving again that in ugliest of times art is not just valuable — it is essential”
Art IS important, despite what many captains of industry, narrow-minded bigots or sharp-suited strategists might tell you.
Because art invokes emotions as a source of energy and therefore power. Since we’re talking emotions and their link to energy through hope, Dr King Jnr gave us the epic quote “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Those merchants of doom are forgetting how powerful hope can be when people are physically and mentally crushed. A glimmer of hope could see a chain reaction of the start of an uprising and the usurping of oppressors power and eventual destruction or demise.
These are important human emotions. Most of us have a complex and unique set of emotions but what’s common is confusion, fear and anger caused by things like the attacks we’ve recently experienced. Our responses are often driven by desires and needs we have little control over. Our emotional (2nd) brain drives us in almost everything we do before our consciousness (3rd) brain makes those drivers into words, actions, decisions and logic. So it’s a real power source — our 2nd brain. I’ve heard it said by esteemed neuroscience expert and psychologist David Levy that “emotion beats logic” every time. This is called neuropersuasion. It’s hugely powerful and drives pretty much every decision we take.
Back to the emotionally stunted outrage-creators for a second. They’re also forgetting how powerful human emotions can be in overcoming adversity, oppression and terror and yet, they will try and put down and criticise the very things that are not only helping people cope, they are creating strength in individuals and collective groups.
All of these things are supported by gestures. By kind deeds and warm words. They will make the difference between someone coming to your aid at a time of need or someone pretending they didn’t see you in pain and trouble.
So here’s an emotional outburst from me.
Fuck you: If you took to criticise anything to do with #onelovemanchester or the responses to the recent London attacks, or the sharing of the atrocious bombs causing deaths in Kabul.
All you’re showing is your bile-filled emptiness of a life. Your sad and lonely disdain for what being a caring, compassion and real human being is. You wouldn’t know kindness is it came to relieve you of your pain with a stroke of your furrowed forehead.
Gestures matter. Words do too but its gestures that will find you out every time. Whether you’re a good soul who can look in the mirror and feel belonging, contentment and comfort. Or whether you see an ugly, lonely and empty vessel with no relevance to life other than to use up oxygen and space.
Pointlessness is their enemy. Being attacked gives them salvation. Don’t give them it. Ignore them, and be at peace in knowing that gesture — of denial and the power in making them irrelevant — will tear them apart and deny them their vulgar crusade.
Gesture instead to those who show warmth, empathy and kindness. You — and others — will feel this and it will spark power in others. Even the gentlest power of appreciating a smile, a sense of joy and some comfort.
Positive gestures matter. Hate-filled tweets will disappear into the ether.
A 23 year old wealthy and privileged performer gave us the ultimate gesture of hope tonight. Don’t waste your energy on deniers, insulters and empty haters.
Show love. Be warm. Grow ever stronger.