Betterists

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Inspiration / Landscape / Nature / New Zealand / Photo Log / Photography

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I started this blog only a short while ago — November 2018 — in answer to requests from friends to put my “other” photography on the Web. “Other” photography would be defined as images that go beyond the self-imposed limits of what I put on my formal website. I also intended this blog to be a way of making all my photography more widely known. That was my original purpose and that remains my purpose.

When I wrote yesterday’s post, it an exception to the rule. It was my way of pushing back against the horrible manifest insanity that has resulted in the violent deaths of fifty people (as of this writing) and many injured in Christchurch, New Zealand. I couldn’t stand it. I had to do something. I felt that my words might serve as a a tiny antidote to the racial, religious, and cultural hatred that had now infested New Zealand, of all places. I felt that a tiny antidote was better than nothing at all. I thought that it would go to my friends, relatives, and followers and that would be it.

That did not turn out to be the case. To my surprise, my post went all over the world. It was re-blogged and linked several times. I couldn’t believe my eyes as my blog stats shot up. And the post was met with 100% positive response, which proved my central point: the vast majority of people in this world are good and decent and have a desire to be positive, even in the worst of circumstances. And everyone who responded expressed a desire to be positive, in spite of it all.

The terrorists and criminals are in the minority. Really a very small minority. The media — be it mainstream, alternative, or social — works hard to make this minority seem larger to satisfy its bloodlust. But the good, decent people who are just trying to get along in life are still the vast majority.

We’re the good guys. We outnumber the bad guys. True, the whole WordPress community — if you will — is still a tiny fraction of the entire world, and the people who responded to my post are the tiniest fraction of that. But still, where there are some good people, there are more.

So here’s my idea:

There are terrorists in the world. They are insane. They want the worst for people and for the world. They are a minority.

There are good, decent, helpful people in the world. We want the best for people and the world. That’s us. We are sane. We’re the majority.

The bad ones are terrorists. They practice terrorism. They try to make things worse.

We are betterists. We practice betterism. We make things better. We don’t “try.” We just do it.

So let’s do it.

How? Help people. Support organizations that work to make the world a better place. Be kind in your dealings with others. Smile. Make others smile. Clean up your community. Help those in need to be able to stand up and help themselves. When someone says as a broad unsupported generality, “It’s all bad,” ask them, “Who says?” And shun the person who says so. Use your talents to make the world a better place…

And while you’re at it, make yourself better: Continuing education. Self betterment. Learn a language. Hone your art and writing skills. Improve your diet. Work on your physical fitness…

Let’s do it and have a great time while we’re at it.

If you agree, spread it around any way you can. Blog. Social media. Word-of-mouth. By example. Any way you can. Just don’t make it a secret.

My Best Wishes to All.

Michael

PS: The photo is of Aoraki/Mt. Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand. It was taken from Peter’s Lookout on the western shore of Lake Pukaki on the Southern Island of New Zealand, in June 2018. New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. New Zealanders are — hands down in my experience — the nicest, smartest, most helpful, hard-working, fun-loving people I’ve met anywhere. May they continue to be so.

(Nikon D850; Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2. RAW processing in DxO Pro; final editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at www.amagaphoto.com All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.

30 Comments

  1. Carolyn says

    Stunning!!
    Superb!!
    Have I mentioned previously that your talent in photography is matched by your choice of words?

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  2. You’re right. The vast majority of people are good and decent. But still there are some that spread prejudice and hate and we have to do something to stop it from spreading further.

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    • Yes, there are those who spread hate and lies. Unfortunately they have such an emotional investment in being their peculiar brand of “right” that it is very difficult for them to change. If you say that they are wrong, they will simply insist on their fixed ideas.But they can simply be voted down. This is where a betterism comes in. Spread the truth: Nobody is better or worse because of race, color, religion, culture, sexual orientation, political party, country, or anything else. We are all people. We all have equal human rights. The haters get too much energy from good people who pay far too much attention to them. I’m reminded of a phrase from the 1960s: What if they gave a war and nobody came? Same idea. Don’t engage.

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  3. Excellent!
    And even though part of the problem may be,malignant “populists” reducing issues to 3-word slogans, your words “We are sane. We’re the majority.” are very fine, positive slogans. Cheers!

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    • I should have taken more time, writing this – – to emphasize, that of course, my objection is to politicians who deliberately oversimplify complex issues, avoid real debate by substituting chants, and distort and mislead through this reductionism. I think encouraging people to spread positive thoughts through positive slogans – – like “We are sane. We’re the Majority” – – direct and truthful, is a good idea and one to embrace.

      Liked by 1 person

      • To clarify my comment, perhaps the most important aspect of rationality is the ability to look at a situation and see it exactly the way it is, recognize that it is a fact — whether we like it or not — and then calmly decide on the best response. If one gets one’s hackles raised, one is probably not going to do the right thing. A calm, reasoned, strategic approach is always better.

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  4. So with you on this Michael, and glad your terrific post generated a big response! Good things happen to good people. First time I’ve ever felt strongly enough about another blogger that I’ve teblogged. And that’s saying something! Keep up the good work. And PS we climbed Mt Cook while in NZ. What a glorious place

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  5. Cathy Lane says

    Thank you for your most eloquent words Michael! It was an important perspective to have on this event and the very small minority who are responsible. I am passing your message along to folks that need to hear it! Love your pictures and your words!

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  6. Carolle-Ann Mochernuk, says

    Your message deserves to be shared! It is sensitive, so meaningful and beautifully expressed!! Thank you for this and the outstanding photo – truly wonderful!

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  7. As you may have noticed in news reports, the people of New Zealand have reacted in exactly the way you suggest. As one Muslim leader here has said, if the murderer’s intention was to sow division and hatred “he has failed woefully”. Both mosques will reopen for Friday prayers tomorrow. There is a plan to form a human wall from all denominations and walks of life around both to show solidarity.
    Personally, I’m amazed and encouraged by the way the rest of the world has been affected by this.

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    • Kia Ora. I have noticed, and I am extremely glad. Fighting hate with hate just results in more hate. Of all the places I’ve been, New Zealand is my absolute favorite. Besides being a staggeringly beautiful country, every single person — without exception — was marvelous. I recall walking through downtown Dunedin with my wife at about 11:30 PM. We felt perfectly safe. I have felt that frequently in small towns in the United States, but never in moderately sized to large cities. With the way New Zealand is dealing with this I expect that this horrible act will, in the long eye of history, be a single blip on an otherwise smooth graph.

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  8. The news I’m reading out of New Zealand sets an example for how the rest of us could act in this chaotic world. I’m glad your post reached a wide audience – here’s to spreading positive messages, be they written or heard or seen….

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  9. Pingback: Thank You Jacinda – AMAGA Photography Blog

    • Thank you. There is a truism that if you don’t like the conversation, change it. The bad actors are in the minority, they just talk louder. Betterism is my way of changing the conversation. If we all talk “better,” even in a normal tone of voice, we will drown them out. Please spread it around.

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  10. Pingback: New Zealand 5: Lake Pukaki – AMAGA Photography Blog

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