Gaslighting

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There is no more wondrously enigmatic than a man, as betokened in the Spinx’s riddle about the metamorphosis of a man from a quadruped to a tripod. A metaphysical shapeshifter, an astute apprentice to whatever entity is deemed promising, a man is by nature spiritually tenuous in its consistency of adhering to principles of Reason. Concerning the duplicitous nature of a man, no one but Albert Einstein has perspicacious knowledge about human nature. Einstein himself was a genuinely curious admixture of polarities: mad, smart, indifferent, humane, distinguished, ordinary, failing, and excelling, without a hint of arrogance in a semblance of condescendence ingratiating himself with the populace. Accordingly, I find his wise sayings apposite to the several swings of things I have seen in every spectrum of daily life.

The fallacy of human judgment deprived of sensitivity that is apparent in most of the social phenomena aptly applies to Einstein’s following adage: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.” A man knows one thing but disregards the other in the glorified appellation of a lofty cause of elevated human dignity that people are likely to oversee in the ordinary daily landscape. To illustrate, the current campaign against the systematic police brutality in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Michael Brown is indubitably just and noble in its effort of ending the institutionalized racism in the States. However, the people actively involved in the movement – politicians, activists, celebrities, and the rest of the populace – do not seem to include the feelings of others who are socially outcast whom they can see everywhere in the daily landscape.

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The category of the weak and the persecuted should not be limited to people of particular creed or race. Still, it should also encompass those who suffer from daily persecutions by their superiors, peers, and even family members in that relaxed and light-heartedly enforced “Just a job,” “Just a kidding,” or “just a passion of the moment,” which doesn’t mean much. This disguised bullying is an illustration of “Gaslighting,” manipulating someone by callously and sordidly psychological means into doubting his or her sanity when it does not fault the faculty of the mind. The spirit of the victims of gaslighting is only too acute and perceptible to ignore, and the result of the virtuous endurance of socially acceptable bullying is the high rate of suicide and mental illness that people tend to overlook.

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The slogan of “Black Life Matters’ itself indicates the ignorance of other lives as well in the sense that it only promotes the dignity of specific people. Whereas, many other people are subject to daily mistreatment of individualities and dignities based on personal differences in external elements and dispositions that make them distinguished from the majority. Take the fictional Arthur Fleck, the wretched man behind the mask of Joker. Fleck is a victim of abuses that have stunned his growth into a confident individual finding meaning in life. Instead, because of his timid appearance dubbed in fumbling mannerism, Fleck is a subject of ridicule, a good-for-nothing clown whom all the members of society regardless of race and gender from top to bottom taunt and ignore. His invisibility caused by ignorance of people carries him over the edge of his sanity. However, people love to hate him, accuse him of being a villain to wreak havoc on the innocent people loved by all. What’s appalling about the plenary inquisition of Fleck is that it happens in the reality of life where many suffer from the inward pain of separation and misunderstanding from the society that is supposed to protect them. The community turns its back on the nameless individuals who do not fit into the social category of the Weak.

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The fatuous conception of social equality is then null and void in advocating the well-being of the weak in all aspects of social life. The definition of the weak includes all who feel vulnerable, prone to emotional scars callously inflicted by the brutes of the sense. The Twitter Community, for instance, is the most exclusive of all other social media under the disguise of the magnificent liberality of free opinions. It can hurt the soft-spoken and people of delicate constitution trying to find a supportive community where they can share and spread knowledge regardless of elitist discrimination. The high number of followers is the prerequisite of respectability in the digital social meritocracy. The insularity of each community from within is reminiscent of Salem, the island of the lords of flies, and other subliminal lands of nowhere you are likely to imagine in SC-Fi fictions. The viscosity of educational achievements, social appellation, and physical appearance decides the affability of your tweets, making you endear to the qualification of the followers that your twitter pal has amassed. The more unique tweets are, the less popular they are. Forget the lexical queerness due to different linguistic families. The tweets denoting solipsistic musings or solitude in sadness are not welcome. In other words, tweets should be as delightful as an ascending lark. Otherwise, they will not even bother to read your considerate tweets.

The stupidity of people amazes me in every possible variety of forms and degrees, and the reaction to their reflection is all the more mesmerizing in superb wonderment. I wonder if people know that when they champion one cause, they are also excluding the other, which is closer to where they live and work. On the train, on the bus, in stores, in offices, people are ignoring the weak. All of this is the comedy of errors, the infinite stupidity of humans. Einstein saw and knew it, and I am confident that he continues to see it with his arms folded, looking down upon his posterity from his chair of knowledge of the eternal universe, and say, “I told you so.”

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2 thoughts on “Gaslighting

  1. Veronica

    Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking post, Stephanie! I’m sure Einstein would agree with you. With the rise of social media, people have become more outspoken and, consequently, more sensitive to others’ opinions – the so-called “infinite stupidity” prospers in these “favourable” conditions. As you have wisely noted, everyone is unique, and there are various forms of discrimination threatening each individual’s uniqueness. However, one passage in your article still bewilders me: “The slogan of “Black Life Matters’ itself indicates the ignorance of other lives as well in the sense that it only promotes the dignity of specific people.” From a linguistic point of view, nothing in this slogan suggests that other lives should be ignored. If it stated, “ONLY black lives matter” – I would agree with you completely. Unfortunately, in our cruel world, people often have to go to extremes and bring attention to their specific, rather than universal, problems to be heard and understood. For instance, the gay community organized many peaceful protests before 1979, but only the violent Harvey Milk’s riots resulted in the government taking action.

    P.S. I love your intelligent writing, and enjoy learning your attitudes on global issues! 😉

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    Reply
    1. Stephanie Suh Post author

      Thank you for your sagacious opinions on my post, Veronica. In fact, I was thinking that the post was a bit confrontational in its reference to the current movement of “Black life matters.” So, in a way it was quite an audacious essay about my sentiment of unease and argument of the issue associated with the collective attitude toward the underlings in general.

      Yes, in terms of lexical meaning of the slogan, it doesn’t specifically exclude the other races. But to me the very slogan itself in its face value seems to nuance the politicization of the issue as an excellent party ideology that the other side of the political continuum loves to pontificate, grandstanding with the populace for their political ends. Whereas, the injustice and the mistreatment of other minorities is witnessed in daily landscape. People are by nature dualistic, more leaning toward the cruel. So much so that Shakespeare lamented that an unkind beast is kinder than a man.

      Maybe my sensitivity is beyond the standard of normality. Many a time I see even people whose rights we champion are among those who bully the weak and the sensitive, just as astutely delineated in the film joker, who is mistreated by all unanimously.

      I am glad that you see people can be quite cruel and resort to the extreme measure to voice out. Alas, Veronica, i wish I could be as contumacious as they are. Hence I voice out my timid self in my blog. 😊

      I greatly appreciate your highly esteemed comment on my post, Veronica. It’s such a treasure to know you through a medium of writing, which I value more highly than any other means of expression. 😃 To be honest, I was disheartened by a cold reception of my post. But your perspicacious opinion dispelled the heartache. 😊👑⭐️

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