The Sky is Green

Pretend for a moment, I meet you in a cafe, and we are waiting in line for coffee. We strike up a conversation, because you notice that I am especially attractive in my yoga pants and fluffy sweatshirt, and I notice you are drinking the same fru-fru coffee as me. As we talk, and we begin to run out of topics, I turn to the weather. I say, “Isn’t it a lovely? It’s such a beautiful day, under the big, green sky out there.”

This makes you stop. “Green?” you inquire.

“Yes. The sky is a gorgeous green today,” I say. “More green than it ever is, normally.”

It’s not green. It’s blue, or at least looks blue. But I say it’s green.

“Don’t you mean blue?” you ask, assuming I have made a mistake.

I laugh. “No, it’s green.”

“It’s not green. It’s blue.”

“You mean the clouds are blue?” I ask.

“No. The clouds are white, and sky is blue, because of the way the sun reflects off of …(something sciencey-sounding here) … Anyway, it’s blue.”

“Well,” I huff, regretting our conversation already. “think it’s green. You can think what you want, but to me it’s green.”

You’re okay with this. After all, “safe spaces” are real and “microagressions” and even “trigger warnings” to conversations are real. You don’t want to confront me.

And after all, as I point out to you in the very next instance, “I’m not hurting anyone by saying the sky is green.” 

Your silence is silent approval of my grand logic. I am happy, you are okay with how we have ended that portion of our conversation. In fact, you never have to talk to me again, most likely, and you are glad. You might even allow yourself to think I am delusional, but at least I am not hurting anyone but myself. 

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But then, the barista tells you, after I am gone, skipping and happy and carefree with my coffee, that I am a teacher. That I have actual, young, impressionable students in my classes. Sometimes, she tells you, my students come in and talk about how I am teaching them the sky is green, and anyone who tells them they are wrong clearly doesn’t get how important their own opinions are to themselves.

That those who disagree with them are phobic of their individuality.

That others who will confront them hate them. That they should have every reason to fear they are being personally attacked, stripped of their dignity, and denied their personal human freedom rights to believe the sky is green.

She continues to tell you how she hears how I’ve said I loathe teaching how “some people” think the sky looks blue because it is a “majority” opinion, one that has been there for many years, maybe even mentioning it was taught mostly by a specific gender of a specific color.

She also mentions how I think, as a minority opinion, my opinion should be protected as sacred, and that it should not even be up for debate. How I think the laws should be written to cater to me, because since they don’t, I could easily get hurt by one of the kids’ parents or anyone else who disagrees with me.

She tells you you’re lucky I didn’t sue you, since you obviously hurt my feelings with your “biased” “facts.”

She mentions all the students she sees can’t tell her the science behind why the sky is green versus blue, or any other color, or even green itself. When things get too hard, they just tell her “It’s just green,” because I have in my classroom, a panel of 300 opinions from several of my friends with whom I work. When you ask about others’ opinions, she tells you there were several thousands of other people who were asked to complete the survey, but barely anyone else turned it in and the given deadline’s past, so I am not accepting any more.

You begin to wonder how I still have a job. How it is possible I think I am not harming others besides myself. How I am dividing people with my attitude, how I am deliberately only looking out for only my own well-being, but hiding behind a personal, individualistic, subjective perspective, and all the optional philosophical, moral, and intellectual high ground I can imagine.

But what can you do? Seriously, what can you really do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “The Sky is Green

  1. Police can grow to be overwhelmed, bureaucracies at all times have extra important things to worry about and the wants of the individual (you)
    are usually not first on the precedence record.

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    1. I get that, but knowing individual responsibility has never been less popular, I think it’s helpful to point out how fear can really stop people from speaking out against things that are wrong. The whole “I’m okay, you’re okay” thing is getting applied where it really shouldn’t be.

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  2. Since the world is ever evolving, there is no ‘answer’ to your question. If the world is always changing, it doesn’t mean everything changes, contemporaneously. But adapting is a central tenet to evolution so, as the world around us changes, it makes sense that we learn to adapt since survival is another tenet of evolution. The world was once ‘flat’ and those who said it wasn’t, despite the existence of a thousand years of scholarship to prove it was, were condemned as heretics. Then Cook sailed around the world, Columbus ‘discovered’ America and, at last, the world was a sphere, again. Or, is it?

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    1. Lol, I’m going to apologize right now for the long answer. 🙂

      To say there is no “answer” is an answer in it’s own way, though; just like deciding to do nothing is a response. To the second half of your response, with evolution there comes the question of survival, and the relativism that it brings is really silly. First of all, what if my dalliance into proclaiming the sky is green is counteractive to my survival? I wouldn’t know that until it decayed enough and I admitted it, which poses the issue of a) are people aware what they are doing is “good” for survival, and b) will death come first, before they realize/admit it? In order to discuss these perceptive differences, the individual parties still need to have a common ground to discuss ideas – otherwise it won’t matter what either of us says, we will both think we are right because of our perspective. In terms of society, this is a classic response of “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” and popular opinion has never necessarily needed to be right in order to be accepted. With the question of evolution and science, the relativism allows you to put the Bubonic Plague on the same levels as vaccines or antibiotics – and you are still holding “science” as your standard of truth. For hundreds of years, the Catholic church amassed power and played with political governments – many would say this was wrong and that they were wrong. Now we have science as our standard, but science would tell me that the sky looks blue, not green. We have been moving steadily in a direction where our “feelings” matter more than “science,” and I doubt that that will be enough of a standard of truth for people to uphold it in a way which will provide a “better” outcome for people, even in terms of evolution. In fact, I’m pretty sure “feelings” have caused many people to overeat and that leads to diabetes and heart complications, not to mention other forms of self-destruction, whether it is instant or not. I haven’t even really touched on the destructive nature of teaching students only their feelings matter, either. 😉

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      1. I started writing an equally lengthy answer but appear to have lost it, somehow. I’m not claiming science has all the answers – what does that mean, anyway? – are they a separate group to the rest of humanity? Every species on this planet has an innate imperative to survive. As for overeating, social disorders and so on, I think they have more to do with a social/political/economic system that has its head so far up its own arse for so long, it doesn’t know day from night. If we persist in measuring success and achievement in terms of priestly and aggressive and regressive acquisitions, then, by design we will have failures in that system who will manifest their behaviour in a self destructive, disruptive and anti-social behaviour. Of course people’s feelings matter and if you’ve lost sight of that, then I will despair. This has been written on an iPhone. I have no way of overseeing my argument nor have I had an opportunity to take a full measure of yours. I can’t remember all of my original points but I have a disquieting feeling that you have either misrepresented or misunderstood some of them

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        1. Compassion has its place; of course feelings matter, but to base one’s entire existence, and subsequently forcing or allowing them to be forced on others is silly and harmful, and not just to “ourselves,” as the main argument goes, but to others as well, though the impact might be smaller or harder to see. It is a firm belief of mine that competency must be tempered by compassion, but compassion has to be reinforced with competency and truth (there is no point in having compassion for the death of cancer cells in a body, for example, when the cancer would have killed the human). The first, without being complemented, leads to tyranny; the second, without its limitations, leads to insanity. Science can change, too, as it goes deeper, but the universal truth of compassion and intellect’s relationship would remain. There’s a wonderful essay on T. S. Eliot’s “The Permanent Things” on The Imaginative Conservative site I just read that talks of progress, but how when we talk of progress, a permanent standard must direct us, or we would not be able to call ‘progress,’ progress. 😀

          All else aside, it is better to show me where I am misrepresenting or misunderstanding your points. Your feelings are real, but it is the truth of the matter that will affect the discussion. If my information is incorrect, that is one thing; if you feel uncomfortable with my response, that’s another matter entirely. I do not mind the correction if needed. 🙂

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          1. Don’t mistake my silence for anything other than inconvenience. I had a go at the first answer but lost my first attempt. Y’see, I was in a pub with some friends and using a phone so I was not only at a disadvantage but I was also being rude to my company. Also, discourse such as this is ill advised by cell phone.

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          2. I’ve had a chance to read my original comment where I felt I’d been misunderstood or misrepresented. This notion of relativism and evolution was something you deduced from what I said, which I didn’t, but you the use as the basis of your subsequent debate.
            A week ago, a former US soldier, living off grid, on his own land, was threatened with arrest because his house was a health hazard, was the reason given for the threat of prosecution. Who’s safety does he threaten. Then, yesterday, a small marten, a type of weasel, knocked the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, Switzerland out of action. This is the scientific wonder pursuing the so called God particle.
            There is little that reason, rational thought or logic can do to explain how this world operates and none of those things can tell the world how it should behave, either. We’re destroying this world but we do nothing about it. Why? Because someone tells us the world will survive, it’s just humans destroying themselves. And then we go on destroying to fulfil our consumer needs and serve the global corporations so they can line their shareholders’ pockets. Do we do anything? No, because we’re too worried about the mortgage or paying for kids’ education, the rent, putting food on the table and clothes on our backs. So, the sky is green, eh? Live in Norway, the sky can be a million colours in one night. I’ve seen a purple sky but that was a live volcano sunset. I read, recently, about the Finnish educational system. I believe that guy, Michael Moore, is making a documentary about it. Finnish school kids are ranked no 1 in the world in educational achievement, the United States educational system is ranked no 29 in the world. Finnish kids attend school for 20 hours every week and they’re encouraged to play. Oh, and they don’t do homework because their educational system believes children learn better when they play and it also helps them become better human beings who interact, socialise and care for each other.
            It’s been gripping, enlightening and interesting. Thank you

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            1. I’ve read about Finland’s education system, too. It’s great stuff – wouldn’t be the first time I’ve thought about moving there. 😉 I do think it’s pretty true to realize that humanity is flawed, too.

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  3. “I get that, but knowing individual responsibility has never been less popular, I think it’s helpful to point out how fear can really stop people from speaking out against things that are wrong.”

    If a human being does not have fear, he would not survive. If you did not have fear, you would not have been alive to write this post. Do you agree with this?

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    1. I agree it fear is a reality, but I will sa there is a good way to have fear, and a bad way to have fear. Even in the Bible, it is said “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.” So fear of things which we should fear is a proper response. Fear of the irrational or undeserving can lead to destruction – just as loving the wrong things can lead to destruction.

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    1. 😀 No problem. We’re all allowed to find our own way. The question is whether we will go and seek, and if we will accept what we find.

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