Monday, July 09, 2007

HSPs, a Sense of Rightness and Fanaticism

I don't typically write "op-ed" pieces here, but this is a bit of an exception.

As keen observers and deep processors, it often strikes me that many HSPs have a deep sense of what is "right" in the context of social justice, and what seems "right" in the world. We don't like to see people wronged, and it affects us very strongly when we see (or experience) something unjust. It is likely that a lot of HSPs can be found in non-profit organizations that focus on the protection of rights-- of individuals, victims, animals, and so forth.

In most cases, when a belief (even with good intent) is taken to the extreme, a line is crossed from rightenousness to fanaticism. In the case of HSPs, this can take on an interesting character, because most HSPs operate under a profound attachment to the idea that they are "nice people." Being a "nice person," then, ends up running head first into the contrary view that someone has become a raging fanatic.

What prompted this post was my reflecting, this morning, on a few HSPs I have known who vanished from my life at various times. Most, I knew through an online forum for HSPs, and I was reminded of them by a recent discussion on the topic "Whatever happened to?"

I considered these people friends to various degrees... and yet, they also had an unhealthy fanaticism about them; an obsession with their beliefs that precluded the ablity to empathize with anyone who did not see their point of view as "the only way things should be." And they disappeared because they felt like my failing to agree with their point of view was a "betrayal." Metaphorically speaking, they might have been crusading for something like the freedom for people to randomly yell "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater, because it represents "freedom of speech." And then... condemn anyone who didn't agree that such a motivation was "wonderful." Or stand in the middle of a busy street and scream in outrage because cars honk their horns as they swerve to miss them.

In my opinion, a person does not become exempt from being responsible for sociopathic and antisocial behavior, just because they happen to be "Highly Sensitive." And whereas it is noble to crusade for the rights of a victimized minority... gaining those rights for a handful, to the detriment of a large majority, is ultimately indistinguishable from the atmosphere that created the victims, in the first place... the focus is on "winners" and "losers," rather than "solutions."

In a sense, it reminds me of insurgents in so-called "Banana Republics." The rebellion leaders are brilliant at overthrowing the "evil government," but have NO idea about how to run a country once the old regime has been unseated. In a sense, they are "professional complainers," but not "world changers."

The true "Social Justice HSP" is about a lot more than merely stirring the pot... that person is creating a viable alternative, and rallying support around it, making the old paradigm obsolete. And shouting "fire" in a crowded movie theater isn't going to cut it.

1 comment:

  1. P, wish i could have put things so succinctly. the 'viable alternatives' are hard to make fly, ain't they? :)


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