Gwnewch y pethau bychain

My Last Word on the Subject

There’s an old joke that goes “There’s two types of people in the world. Those who divide people into two types, and people who don’t.”

I’ve spent the last week veering between despondent and furious.

When you set to create a division, you make your world a smaller place. Even when you do it with the best intentions. Even if you think you’re creating a constructive discussion. Even when you think that what you’re saying doesn’t cast judgment.

You make the world a smaller place. You release into the atmosphere something that is toxic. You destroy something that was precious and beautiful for someone else, without their participation or consent. Just remember, all that poison in the air, that’s your fault.

There’s no Us Vs. Them. There’s only us. There’s only ever been us. There will only ever be us.

All we ever have, in the end, is each other. If you want to make the world a better place, focus on the things that bring us together.


Addendum to new song




  1. That is so true…and I’m as guilty as anyone (though, as far as I know, not in filk matters).

    The alternative, or at least the opposite extreme, is never being able to discuss anything in case someone disagrees and spoils the sense of community: never being able to take any positive action because someone will be bound to object to it. We need to find the middle ground, between dissension born of discontent and tolerance born of fear…and yet it’s so much easier to walk straight when you can lean on one wall or the other. Out there in the middle you could end up anywhere.

    I’m rambling. Bottom line is, you’re right. There is only us. All over the world, and here in our little pond, there is only us. And even if we can’t agree on issues involving life and death, religion and politics and all the rest, surely we can keep from fighting over the things we do for fun.

  2. Thank you for this!!


  3. Well -- but talking about something that obviously WAS an issue with many people is better than carrying it around with you. :o)
    I split the world in as many parts as there are people in this world, actually, plus some more. :oD

    And I am not “friends” with just everyone, only because we’re at the same events -- that would lessen the value of my real friends. If that’s arrogant I embrace it. ;o)

  4. Don’t be stressed, dear Robcat. Here, have some virtual chocolate. I made it myself. Hm. Considering I’m not the world’s greatest cook and have never attempted to make chocolate, I won’t blame you if you don’t take it. But it was made with the greatest affection and just for you. 🙂


  5. Beautiful words. Thank you.

  6. Yeah. Nice. *hugs*

  7. (hug)

    I have this puzzled feeling that I’m missing half of this. But I’m sorry you’re unhappy, and I hope you feel better soon. I’m especially sorry if I have done something to make you or someone else unhappy.

    Yours in good will. Cat

    • None whatsoever, at anytime now or ever.

    • I’m missing a very large part of it, like all of the posts / comments / whatever which were negative, I’m only seeing them second-hand. Interestingly, all of the people on my LJ-friends list seem to be ones who are upset by the arguments, not the ones being divisive. Perhaps I’ve managed to pick the right people as LJ-friends…

      • The entire conversation hasn’t been on LJ.

        However, I have a bad habit of saying: “This is the last I’m going to talk about this” and then rabbitting on for another hour on the subject, so I really am going to drop this. My comments above are inspired by the current ‘debate’ but are, in fact, a general philisophical notion of mine which applies to anywhere.

      • Same with me, I have hardly an idea of what is going on.

  8. Rob, thanks for saying this. You are 100% right.

    /me hugs

  9. *squeezes your hand*

  10. It’s hard to have perfect unity. Our community is full of healers and fixers, as well as people who are yearning for attention and affirmation. Reaching across the gap to pull everyone into a tremendous virtual hug sometimes works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It tends to be my philosophy in dealing with the community, but that doesn’t mean I’ll hug the unwilling.

    There will always be people, often myself included, who want to take things apart to see how they work, and for me, that’s never dimmed the magic of the fact that things _do_ work, no matter how we take them apart and put them back together. I hope the magic never leaves, but I’m not afraid of poking it with a stick every so often, not to make it bleed mind you, but to stir the group mind, to see what other people are thinking and feeling.

    Filk is often so close and familial that it’s amazing to me that we don’t have more drama. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a community this size that was so peaceful and kind to itself, and so careful not to hurt.

    I’m so sorry that this is greiving you. If there’s anything I can do, let me know.


    • I could probalby have elaborated more, but I really was trying to disengage from the conversation. Take my remarks as a statement of general philosophy and intent, rather than simply a reaction to the current controversy.

      I had a wonderful time at OVFF, and you were certainly part of it. One day, I’d like to spend more time with you than I manage to grab on the edges. *hugs*

      • One day *I’d* like to spend more time with me. 😉

        OVFF is wonderful, but it’s a huge festival of grabbing ten minutes with all the people you love, and still trying to hear people perform, and perform songs you wrote over the year, and …

        It was especially hard for me this year with as many people there as I desperately wanted to spend time with, and the head cold, I was pretty much knocked flat before I really got a chance to be social.

        I still had a wonderful time, and no amount of poking into the psychology of our community (for good or ill) can ruin the joy I get from being with my friends, but that’s my milage. I am deeply worried for the people who feel targeted or wounded. Jealousy of percieved celebrity is very dangerous in a world where we’re all fragile, and love each other, because the community’s pain is our pain too.

        *many hugs*

  11. You are quite right that seeking to create division is a terrible thing. But you are quite wrong that trying to think about the things we see happening, which involves categories because it’s part of how thinking works, constitutes trying to create division. If filk is too sacred to think about, then I must conclude that I am not welcome in filk, because I am not capable of *not* thinking about things that are important to me.

    If I am misunderstanding what you’re saying, I hope you’ll be willing to set me straight. If you don’t want to continue the discussion in public, feel free to email me, phil at {my LJ name} dot net.

    • I should have been more clear that creating division into “us and them” is always a bad thing. No good comes of it.

      I belive there *are* productive ways to have this conversation. This wasn’t it.

  12. Just remember, all that poison in the air, that’s your fault.
    I know. You want to get out of this discussion. And I’m not home but at Yooh’s, so I’m not going to start anything big again. (Though I likely WILL post some about it in my own journal when I get home.)
    But this sentence isn’t nice, nor is it right. Life isn’t always fluffy bunny and flowers. Filk fen are just human. And, as Nella Darren put it so well, real music needs discord too, at times. The Poison in the air is not perceived as poison from everyone. And just cuz some fragile souls take it too personally, that doesn’t mean that once in a while one shouldn’t have a discussion. That’s some people’s way of dealing with things. Analyzing it etc. I don’t feel there’s poison in the air. I also don’t feel that anyone needs protecting.
    Be calm, dear, and be fair.

    • Nope, sorry. My journal, my perception, my feelings. I don’t demand that people agree with me — I don’t have that right. But I meant everything I said above, and I still do. *shrug*

      But having said all of that, I have no desire to continue with the debate. I’m done.

  13. Nod. One of my tests of tolerance is, take the person you’ve opposed most strongly and nastily (assuming you’re ever nasty in opposition). Suppose something terrible happens to that person. Did anyone who knows even a tiny bit about you think “Man, s/he’s really pissed off (or upset with the unfairness of the universe, or whatever) that this terrible thing happened…”?

    Tolerance means yes, folks would know that about you.

    You can disagree, and disagree strongly, while still remembering that, in the end, we’re all in this together.

    I have no idea what this is all about… but I do support the overall point of view.

  14. There’s no Us Vs. Them. There’s only us. There’s only ever been us. There will only ever be us.


  15. I’m not fully up on this discussion. But this was a brilliant post, and I think it answers some of what I was trying to ask about in another question I sent you. Thanks for it, long ago though it may have been.

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