The Danger of Trigger Warnings

I think of trigger warnings as the peanut allergy campaign. Out of all the allergies people have (I’m allergic to animal hair for instance) why was the peanut allergy given such high priority? How did one allergy cause so much change in how food is served or allowed to be served?

With trigger warnings it is the same story. There are endless lists of items/ situations which could cause issues for people. Enough to shut down communication. Where does it begin and end?

For generations, people have been responsible for their own health, making sure to avoid or be careful when something could cause them to have an allergic attack. People need to self moderate. It really is the only way for everyone to manage communication. Emotional triggers in particular, are very personal and individual. Second guessing what will bother any one person in a group, or the public as a whole, is fruitless. Like a bottomless pit. Moderating everything to that extent would make communication impossible and/ or meaningless.

Over sensitivity and hyper awareness is not going to work for communication and education.

We treat an allergy with exposure, allergy shots are a little of the substance given to the immune system to deal with. When it works, the immune system will lose its sensitivity to the substance. We deal with fear in the same way. Pushing our emotions to endure and gradually understand the problem. Trigger warnings will never work because they put the fear, emotions on a pedestal, making them bigger and more important. Focusing on anything will only make it grow stronger, and more prevalent.

Trigger warnings will only silence communication.

Oxford University law students have asked to be protected from distressing material that may crop up in their studies of the criminal law. Lecturers have been told that they must issue “trigger warnings” before lecturing on subjects that may – it is claimed – lead vulnerable students into depressive episodes or even suicide. Students thus forewarned can either steel themselves to what follows, or, as some are now doing, skip the lecture altogether. The directive is primarily aimed at students studying criminal law.

Will lecturers be expected to anticipate every case in which a trigger warning must be issued? Are law lecturers to become amateur psychologists and predict in advance the topics that may conceivably cause trauma to their students?

The whole point of a university is that it is an institution in which students and academics can engage in free and uninhibited discussion. Nowhere is this more important than in the subject of legal education, which involves much more than being told what the law is.

Source: Trigger warnings are an insidious threat to academic freedom – BarristerBlogger

Remembering BackWash

Listen to Your World

In a world of noise and bustle, we very often do not listen to it. Singers have often used city sounds as inspiration. Neil Diamond had a hit a number of years ago about the sounds of New York. As a writer you can listen to the sounds in your world and write about them.

Tonight, as I was arriving home, I heard a different sound in my parking garage. A lone cricket had found his way into the garage and the walls and cars worked to amplify his music. I started thinking about “a lone cricket, a lonely cricket, a lonely cricket attracting his mate… you get the idea. The “what ifs” led me to a poem.

Think about the sounds of your world.
What does your child sound like sleeping?
What are the sounds of your family dinners?
What is the sound of your morning? night?
What does the night outside sound like?
What is the sound of pen/pencil across paper?
What are the sounds of your neighborhood on a Saturday morning?
Listen to the park on a Sunday afternoon as the old couple shuffle hand in hand.
Hear the squeak of the swing.
Be very quiet and listen to the wind whisper in the trees.
Hear the waves on the lake…the roar of the jet ski… and the silence of the sail boat.
And what about the clatter of the diner?
Close your eyes, listen to your surroundings. Be sure to have your notebook with you. After all, you are a writer and I have to assume you have it with you all the time. Make quiet time for yourself. After about 20 minutes, write what you have heard. It will provide you with grist for your writer’s mill. What you write now may not have application, but you are training yourself to see. And those notes may just be the kernel of a story.

The post above comes from a friend I met while writing on BackWash.com. The network is now gone, just archives you can find with the Wayback Machine. The writer is gone too. Marcia was taken by cancer several years ago. I posted this because we are having a BackWash reunion. At first I thought it was ten years but it may be more than that. Anyway, it is at least ten years since the days I was a columnist on BackWash. If you wrote for the site take a look at the reunion site and add your update to the Personalities page. 

Reasons to Explore Lonely Places

From Heather on the Exploration Project blog:

5 Reasons Why I Explore Lonely Places

I have been thinking lately about why I explore. What is it that fascinates me about lost, lonely, old, and often abandoned places? Well, I have come up with a list – an orderly way of organizing my thoughts on this subject for you, the reader.

#1. I can think. Lonely places are quiet – sacred spaces where one can get lost in silence and escape the noise of daily life. With silence, comes rejuvenation.

#2. I can imagine. When in a lonely place, I imagine, “what was once here”? What stories does this place hold and to whom do these stories belong? Are they happy stories, neutral stories, tragedies? Life is about the story.

#3. I can appreciate. Seeing lonely,decrepit, and abandoned places makes you feel lonely. I find this a reflective state, a vantage point from which I can appreciate life and my life in particular. To come home out of the cold is a wonderful feeling.

#4. I can photograph. I can try to capture the above feelings/states in a single snapshot of time. A challenging and creative outlet.

#5. I can discover. The thrill of discovery, of “hey, come check this out”! The excitement of seeing something that not many people see or that you don’t typically see on an average day.

“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” Frank Borman

I like to explore old places, abandoned houses, derelict buildings. Usually I stay on the outside where wild animals are the biggest thing to watch for. Also, the more derelict a place is, the more I like to see it.

I think my main reason for exploring lonely/ abandoned places is the history and some feeling that the house/ building is a feeling thing. Each part of the woodwork, each pane of old glass and each rock in the forgotten garden seems to be something of life, more than an inanimate object.

This is my list post for the SITS31DBBB. My original post from the 31DBBB in 2009 was about odd art forms I like.