Provoke

I don’t want to be provocative so much as I want to provoke thought, knowing that the statement is illogical. This is a thought that I ponder frequently as I start to write any post aimed in the political sphere. With there being so many people out there wanting to throw hate around as though it is a toy, the desire to create ire in what I say becomes lost. I have no taste to offend or demean, yet it cannot be helped when the source is in the mind of the reader and not the intention of the writer. I only want to think; I want others to think.

Provocation for thought is always the goal, though the sentiment may end up missed. But how many say they only want to make people think, though they often have a funny way of going about it. Some people appear to delight in angering others, not simply spurring inspiration to create thought.

But thinking can be dangerous, as it sometimes forces us to confront things we do not wish to confront. It is often more dangerous than facing one who only wants to provoke anger. Anger is almost comfortable. At least that is the trick of it. It tricks us to believe that it is comfortable. It is also easy. Kindling is often readily piled up from our stresses and anxieties, waiting for a simple spark to ignite it. It often takes a large amount of energy to restrain one’s self against the temptation and ease of anger. And while anger often feels justified, it equally often leaves us without proper resolution and a desolate landscape left in its wake.

But how far should one take this pursuit of truth? Should we lean into the fire sparked by it, or back away to let the flames burn out? (Rather, we only hope that the flames burn out.) When the intention isn’t to anger, this becomes a dangerous question. The reason it is dangerous is that often, even when not intended, letting even the anger of others win only validates that negative emotion. Truth becomes subservient to it rather than the other way around. And though anger indicates a loss of reasoning in the beholder of it, it does not invalidate truth. Truth will stand, an inflammable material that will continue to stand even as anger wishes to cover it up with more combustible materials. Even as we abandon it, afraid of anger directed towards us, the truth will continue to remain.

Truth is what I am after. It is what we all should be after. And while truth can sometimes be subjective, trying to find it is always a worthy goal. Provoking anger in while chasing it isn’t my goal, but others’ emotions should not deter me. It should not deter anyone as long as we also avoid being wrapped into our own echo chambers too, locked into a belief that our opinions are the truth. But if we are truly looking for the truth, we should never apologize, even if anger follows.

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