SF author/editor Robert Silverberg – 2005
If I hadn’t read a blog post at Superversive SF called The Cardinal Mistake With SJWs and Robert Silverberg, I probably wouldn’t be writing this.
First off, I’ll state for the record, that because I’m even mentioning Jon Del Arroz‘s (yes, he deliberately makes himself a lightning rod for controversy) name and daring to write something with a social and political perspective not shared (necessarily) by Democrats, leftists, and progressives (those words are not synonyms), that at least one person will be vocally upset with me here on my blog.
I suspect that a lot of other people who regularly read my fiction will simply not respond because A: they like me and what I write, and B: they think that I’m a nice enough guy not to be flamed for expressing unpopular opinions.
Anyway, I did read Del Arroz’s article which starts out:
It’s easy to be intimidated by mean people. See through their mask. Underneath is an insecure and unhappy person. They are alienated from others because they are alienated from themselves.
Have compassion for them. Not pity, not condemning, not fear, but compassion. Feel for their suffering. Identify with their core humanity. You might be able to influence them for the good. You might not. Either way your compassion frees you from their destructiveness. And if you would like to help them change, compassion gives you a chance to succeed.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book Happiness,p.179
I’ve already talked about Toxic Fear, the extreme Us vs. Them mentality in our nation that begun in during the Obama administration, and that has been greatly exacerbated during the Trump administration, all in relation to the WorldCon implosion and redemption, particularly given THIS and THAT point of view.
However, it was the quote from Rabbi Pliskin this morning that gave me a different perspective on Sad Puppies vs. the Hugo Awards thing.
Part of the inspiration for crafting this essay comes from fellow blogger Joy Pixley’s report of her attending WorldCon 76. She had a pretty good time, and in my discussions with her, she didn’t see any (or at least not much) evidence of bias at WorldCon. However, she did notice a number of Christians and religious Jews in attendance, and no one mobbed, beat, harassed, or otherwise attacked them for their faiths.
Now speaking of bias, it seems female authors swept the Hugo Awards for the second year in a row. Interesting, and statistically a little unlikely, but as I said before, the Hugo Awards are absolutely not designed to be fair and objective.
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin – Found at the website promoting the book “The Light From Zion.”
Fear of failure is a prime cause of anxiety. People think, “If I don’t succeed, I am a worthless failure.”
Someone who fears failure is not willing to take the risks that are an essential ingredient in every new undertaking. This prevents him from taking action in many situations in which he could accomplish a great deal.
If someone accepts that his intrinsic worth as a person is never at risk ― even if he does not succeed at a given task ― then he is likely to try much more to accomplish.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book “Gateway to Happiness,” p.131
Every morning, I get an email from the Jewish educational organization Aish.com containing, among other things, quotes like this one. Although I’m a Christian, I tend to “resonate” more with Jewish theological perspectives. Since lately, I’ve been discussing some rather negative trends in the world of SF/F relative to events at the recent WorldCon convention in San Jose, I thought I should provide a counterbalance. We should define ourselves by our best qualities, not by who or what we oppose.
So I thought I should start providing a quote from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin on this blog every morning that I’m able (next week, I’ll be taking a trip and may be offline for a few days). This is probably more in line with my religious blog My Morning Meditations, but I think it’s needed here.
Perhaps it will convince some people that the world of religion isn’t always evil or hateful, and that there may be a profound wisdom, kindness, and joy inside the hearts of many who have faith in a power greater than human beings.