My friend wrote about this recently. I’ve witnessed it too often.
I’m no angel, but I’m inspired by my own characters to try to live up to their standards. It’s very difficult. It was extremely difficult today.
I’ve seen calumny in action at least twice today, in different settings. I’m still unsure what to do about it, what actions or inactions to take in response in each case.
For now, I’m reflecting on my own actions, on things I’ve done, recently, in the past, whenever. Have I done this myself to anyone? Have I spread calumnies? I want to say no, but I have. I will try even harder never to do it again, but I may have done so myself today.
Does that color how I view these other actions? Is there a severity in calumny? Is one case worse than another?
No. I don’t believe there is a difference. Whether it was something that might send someone to prison, put a felony charge on their record, make them lose their job, alienate them from their family or friends, or hurt someone emotionally, it’s still painting someone in a bad light and still causing someone pain. There’s no difference.
There’s no difference, because you don’t ever know how someone will react to that kind, any kind, of pain. The target of that calumny could be strong and fight it, they could brush it aside, like water off their back, or they could internalize it and it could be the thing that breaks them. So there’s no difference.
I’m reminded of J-Hope’s verse in UGH!:
Someone’s action drives someone else into painBTS
Someone’s words make someone else hopeless
Someone’s split-second becomes someone else’s memory
Someone’s anger costs someone else’s life
Be kind. Choose kindness.