I’m sitting next to a pair of people who are whiling away their time listening to poorly put-together music that makes them laugh more than they enjoy it. Am I a jerk for thinking this is terrible? People put their heart and soul into the things they make, and to know that these two will at some point make fun of it without any care for the artists involved. Ha ha, their music is awful. Ha ha, they’re lesser than us, they make awful things and it amuses us. It’s little stuff like this that divides people into sections and creates tension that leads to oppression and war and all the terrible things associated. It’s small and harmless, but much as we are to Dao, it’s a microcosm of the forces at work in a larger scale in society. For every joke we make about rape or necrophilia or bestiality or gender politics, we reflect what larger society has taught us about rape or necrophilia or bestiality or gender politics. For every joke we make about another person’s creative output, we mirror what larger society has taught us about what is acceptable or valuable creative output. Thus stems vast insecurities, wherein millions are taught to simply be content producing not or hiding that which they do make because they know or fear that their output is not up to the standards that society around them.
This is, in a very real way, the way the world works. How we change that world really does start at home and inside and in front of these videos. By refusing to laugh or ridicule or marginalize earnest efforts at entertainment, we eliminate just one more part of the social cage we’re trapped in. We deny the proliferation of a culture that causes such misery for such petty reasons. When we deny it inside, in private, in our homes, we also deny it outside of our homes, in our day to day interactions, and inspire others to do so. Social bonds are created through social contact, and that includes you and your opinions about the way the world should work. You don’t just have influence on the world around you; you actively create it whether you believe so or not.
So the next time you find yourself laughing at an honest and earnest attempt to create a work, try flexing that emphatic muscle and consider whether you want to live in a world where you (or the people around you) are too afraid to share the things you make for fear of ridicule. Where people generate internal insecurities in place of real criticism. Where earnest attempts to communicate are quashed before they escape the mind. Consider your actions as if you were another person reacting to yourself, not as simply justified reaction to a nebulous and inhuman “other.” We are all the same. We all want the same things in life. Pretending otherwise causes only pain.