As you may have noticed, there is a lot of anger in the world. Tensions are high. Our nation—and possibly our species—may be at a crossroads, the navigation of which could very well determine whether or not the human race survives to see another century.
Not to be overly dramatic about it.
There is only one way out of the mire, and it isn’t by raising our voices above everyone else’s, or bombing ourselves into oblivion. It will take respectful conversation, an exchange of information and ideas, a heightening of awareness, innovative thinking, and the implementation of workable solutions to critical problems.
My name is Todd Kreisman, and my résumé is unimpressive. I don’t have a master’s in theology or political science. I didn’t attend an Ivy League school. Hell, I didn’t even finish college. I was late to take an interest in politics (although I have long been deeply interested in the arenas of education and religion). Even my track record for civilized and fair discussion is subpar. I have frequently resorted to sarcasm. I have passed along articles without verifying they come from a reliable source. I have been guilty of sharing memes asserting blatant inaccuracies. I’ve made all sorts of mistakes and errors in judgment. But I’m coming around.
So, if I’m so unqualified to speak intelligently on a large number of issues…why am I doing this?
Well, while the breadth of my knowledge may be limited, there are two areas in which I’m confident I excel. One is communication. I am skilled with language, and can express thoughts in a way that may cause others to think about something differently. And two: while I have some strong opinions and beliefs, I’m very good at being open-minded enough to talk to people with all sorts of philosophies or perspectives, and to bring them together. If not in a common ideology, then at least in understanding and acceptance.
Start the Evolution is a community for those who are tired of anger, ignorance, irrationality and a feeling of futility. This is a place for people with any and all viewpoints to converge and discourse, as long as their opinions and ideas are presented thoughtfully, intelligently, and calmly. It is a place for us to become better informed about virtually everything, and to become inspired to activism as a result.
Here’s how it works:
- I will post to the site on a regular basis. These posts are intended to spark conversations. I’m not attempting to lecture at anyone, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I will, however, delineate my stronger held opinions and philosophies with passion and conviction; I hope that this passion will not be confused with arrogance.
- Occasionally, another member of the community will write and submit a guest post. If there is something you are knowledgeable or passionate about (or hopefully both), please feel free to submit. It will be nice to fill in the gaps of my own awareness with contributions from all of you.
- Once you have read a post, you are encouraged to comment—to fully engage and become a part of the conversation. You don’t need to be well-versed in the given subject, and you don’t have to come with more answers than questions. What you do have to do is be open-minded, considerate, patient and eager to learn and grow.
- To supplement our mutual education, there is a library that contains links to informative and powerful resources that have been shared by the community, for the community. Read about what interests you. Read about what doesn’t interest you, and cram as much shit as possible into your brainhole.
- If, with all these new and wonderful thoughts whizzing about inside your head, an idea occurs to you—an idea for some type of physical action that might help to right some wrong in this world—submit it in the idea box, prompting a new discussion there.
- Once an idea seems to be gaining significant traction, I will create a poll. If there is at least a 75% consensus by the community that a given action should be implemented, then…it will be. Maybe we’re starting a YouTube channel, maybe we’re organizing a march, maybe we’re hiring a skywriter. There’s no telling what may come out of this.
A few odds and ends…
This is to be an ensemble effort, but I reserve the right to have the final say in thorny situations, whatever those might be. For example, if 75% of the community votes to assassinate the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, I may have to put my foot down.
The Jerk Store Called
Because this only works if it is a safe space, there are certain attitudes and behaviors that will not be tolerated. Abusive language, excessive sarcasm (a little sarcasm never hurt anyone) or deprecation, and slurs of any kind will likely get you banned permanently. My judgment in this matter will be final.
Fortunately, I’m a super-reasonable guy. Warnings will generally be given in advance of suspension. I’m not going to ban someone for a trivial offense, but at the same time I’m also not going to allow anyone to make things uncomfortable for anyone else. As long as you enter into conversation in the spirit of cooperative evolution, you’ll be fine. (Long story short: don’t be a dick.)
If You Don’t Have Anything Intelligent to Say, Don’t Say Anything at All
I want to maintain a high level of intelligent, productive discussion. So, while you may be well-intentioned, if it’s clear that you’re not contributing anything, or perhaps even hampering otherwise riveting conversations, I may choose to suspend your ability to participate.
I am only talking about extreme situations here—if you can put together sentences and somewhat efficiently convey the ideas in your head, you don’t need to worry about suffering such humiliation.
That said, don’t be afraid to sound stupid. I certainly will, and with disturbing frequency. Put yourself out there. There are stupid questions, but there are relatively few of them.
Fuck Shit Ass
Vulgarity…is totes fine. In my view, there is nothing wrong whatsoever with using any word, as long as it is not a slur against a group or type of people. If, however, those words are used in anger or with malicious intent, that’s a different story. “My brain isn’t fucking working today”—absolutely fine. “Go fuck yourself”—not okay.
I have no doubt that the look, feel and flow of this site will change over time. I’m open to it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts, criticisms, backhanded compliments or suggestions.
I’m Not Perfect
I will do my best, but my best will not always be that great. If ever I offend you, or approach a subject in a way you feel is inappropriate, please tell me. We’re all in the process of improving ourselves. Sometimes I just need to be shown the mirror (better a metaphorical than a physical one).