We Didn’t Start The Fire
Perspective can be an enlightening thing and therefore I present you this metaphor. It caught fire amongst some bloggers a while back and I've been pondering the scenario as a way to present a truth many deal with every day. Open your mind and consider: Imagine everything in your house is on fire, and you’re standing there in the middle of your yard and the fire department comes and says to you, "Describe the fire to me and maybe we can find what caused it. We'll worry about putting it out after that" (The writer acknowledges that the best time to get coherent information about the roots of the chaos, might NOT be at the height of said crisis, but I digress) So you say, "Well the fire in the curtains is the biggest but the fire in the photo albums is more important to me. I mean, there's a fire in the couchwhich is really inconvenient but I've got used to not using a couch. I mean, one can sit on other things"
The fireman says, "Oh. I wouldn’t worry, photo album fires just happen sometimes. Now your TV is on, so it might be electronic, but that would cause other things like fire in the DVD player. But neither of those are burning......" Now I know this sounds crazy but hang in there with me, cause when this metaphor hit my social media, here are some of the responses that others who have to deal with "fire" have heard from the same department: "Water can do a lot of damage. It's risky, and you're going to be in this house for a long time yet, so we want you to try smothering the fires with heavy blankets first since that's less damaging. It won't stop the burning, but it will make the smoke less annoying for others.""We don't want to use water to douse the fire, people get dependent on water when their house keeps burning. Have you tried thinking mindfully about the fire?" Some suggest that maybe the fire department could put the fire out on the things they care about, but since they don't know what keeps starting them, they'll just catch on fire again. The fire chief replies "little fires aren't a problem if the roof in not on fire. People have worse fires." "We don't want to use water to douse the fire, people get dependent on water when their house keeps burning. Have you tried thinking mindfully about the fire?" Some suggest that maybe the fire department could put the fire out on the things they care about, but since they don't know what keeps starting them, they'll just catch on fire again. The fire chief replies "little fires aren't a problem if the roof in not on fire. People have worse fires." getting anywhere, one wonders if maybe coping with them alone might be a solution, though dealing with fire all the time really cuts into getting things done in a day. Bosses don't really care about personal fires, so long as one isn't burning at work. Friends are distressed by the smoke and want to understand. Well-meaning friend:"Fires are the WORST. Sometimes the bonfire in my backyard gets a little out of control." You look back at the hoses and axes and think, maybe they're right, some people are freezing to death, you should be grateful you have a fire. Flabbergasted, the fireman finally concedes "Look, I can only handle one fire per call. I can douse the couch fire for now, and check back with us later if you just HAVE to worry about those photo albums." Adding "Beware of the firefighting techniques advocated by other people with their own fires on the Internet. They're not trained, firefighters. Their advice could be dangerous." It's odd that now there is shame in being on fire. One professional's look and criminal intent is focused on the sheer audacity of not just burning in silence. It's a cry for attention. An excuse to not go to work. A bid to rid oneself of personal responsibility. Doubt creeps in, is the fire real? Subconsciously am I an arsonist? If the flames aren't imaginary then water should work, and if it doesn't then what? Deprive it of oxygen, smother it, douse it in chemicals. Use implements to remove it from the whole? Sometimes all that seems to happen is a fire wall's built to contain the inferno, as the fuel, the energy, is consumed. The victims have been given notice, laid off, discharged in moral opprobrium, before their conflagration effects all.
*The writer acknowledges those words in italics as inspired by those of the blog's post followers, and gratitude for their honesty.