Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shine a Light

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If knowledge is indeed power, why do we as a polite society, value secrecy over information?  How come it isn't more obvious that the more we keep things hidden, the more we yield our own control and strength in almost any situation?  Example?  Let's step away, for a moment, from the derailed train of my own personal life and examine one of the contemporary world's dark secrets: HIV.  Why is it necessary to specifically request HIV testing when receiving medical care?  I don't need to request testing for hepatitis (which is inherently more contagious) or Lyme (which will be the result of only 1 tick bite out of 100) so why is it required that a specific request must be made to determine if a person has been infected by HIV?  It seems to me, that by keeping HIV in the dark we are doing a disservice to human beings who have a disease, perpetuating the misimpression that they are bad people who have done bad things and deserve punishment.  In reality, HIV+ people are simply individuals with an illness, and if people can't comprehend the clarity of that situation, who really deserves the name "sick" more?

Or, how about people who smoke marijuana?  Assuming they are adults, why must they be forced to indulge in secret?  Does anyone really still believe that smoking pot, on a social or recreational level, is worse than ingesting tobacco or alcohol?  I've often thought that if every person who enjoys getting a little high, refused to be forced into a dark and cloudy closet, and instead stepped out and lit up publicly, something would have to change.  Why do we allow others to determine what is acceptable behavior for something we do as individuals to and for ourselves?  I truly believe if marijuana smokers collectively decided to no longer hide their enjoyment of pot, the denial of darkness would likely result in the complete decriminalization of personal consumption with limited possession.

And, to revisit the train currently off the tracks, if more people were open to discussing issues within a relationship, rather than hiding the challenges, wouldn't we as a species evolve into more honest and understanding beings?  If we knew that others shared our fears and frustrations, wouldn't the consolation of common experience supersede the vulnerability of examining our flaws and personal fault lines?  I'm sure there are people reading this and questioning the motivation of my opening my life for public perusal and potential criticism.  I can only respond that I know no other way than to allow the light in.  The future holds more than enough mystery for me, thank you very much.  I prefer the ownership of a situation over a secret, and will continue to blaze my path, torch firmly in hand.