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The Sad Philosophy of "Safe Spaces"

"Safe Spaces" are organizations, or specific events, where people gather and communicate, in an attempt to have, even for a while, a safer time with other people. By "safer", I do not refer to what we usually refer to as security, but rather, to the safety of "the heart", per se. The safety of one's emotional balance, where one is "immune" to insults, hate, and so on, temporarily. The point isn't to protect one's life, but one's sense of emotional and interpersonal security, even for a little while.

Such specific safety appears to be one that many seek nowadays. I also sought it once, but eventually gave up on the endeavour, when I realized that it goes against my best interests. This is why I'll repeat again that I too am more sensitive than average, but I find it counterintuitive to submit to it. That's also why, I do not really support the notion of safe spaces. I once thought that Quora was my "safe space", but oh, I was very wrong.

Sensitivity isn't necessarily a disability, but sometimes it appears that some people just submit to it as a fact they can't change. Essentially, it is but a synonym to being vulnerable, and whether or not it can be reduced, is a different subject. I do think that I managed to reduce my own sensitivity, when I realized how much potential, it prevents me from having in life. Of course, I don't know when it comes to others, in that regard.

So, when people gather up in these "safe spaces", I feel sad towards them, more than anything. I think that the need to even have such things, is sad to me, because it implies that some people are just too afraid of the external, unforgiving world. They may be afraid, like I was, long before I began writing online to people worldwide.

I have had a certain issue recently, where I was required to either change or censor a certain word I used (Not on Philosocom, no worries), only because it "triggered" someone, even though I used that word, without any connection to them. I did not even insult any of that post's readers, in the post itself, and yet, the fact that I was demanded to censor myself, was indeed unfortunate.

I've seen in general, censorship of words that were not offensive in any way towards anyone. It's because they were grimmer or whatever, that made some people, a desire to censor them, as if they were like any other curses. Suicide, for example, I've seen that word censored several times, even on videos. I… Eh, it just appears absurd to me, that non-offensive words, need to be censored, and certain subjects, such as the suffering caused by depression, is seen as one that "needs" to have a trigger warning before it.

I am sometimes angry, yes, and I am sometimes uncomfortable, but it does not mean that I will try and extend my authority over things that are not within my control, as if I do not live in a democracy. When a certain video maker told me to "grow up", for example, because of a comment I made, I was angry at him, of course, but I did not really take any action of authority against him. Why would I? It's his video, not mine, and his video deserves to be online just like my own articles. I simply decided to not watch his videos any longer. Since he technically did not break any rule, I have no reason to really take any further action, but permanent disconnection.

He's not exactly responsible for my sensitivity with certain audio, yes? And of course, that he did not mean to torment me, by making a certain, irritating sound. The sad truth is, that no one bears such desired responsibility, unless it breaks a law, like a screaming in the middle of the night, according to the Israeli law, at least.

But those who literally accuse you of using said words they don't like, just because they don't feel safe with their mere mention? It's quite absurd, that you and me, for that matter, have a "moral responsibility" for the feelings of others. Do we really? Even to those we have no professional responsibility towards? Complete strangers? Do you see where this is going?

It is going to the uneasy comparison between the concept of a "safe space" and that of a dictatorship. They both share quite a lot in the field of intense limitation of free speech. To be in a safe space, is to be denied saying things that could hurt others' feelings... Yes, including criticism or any other expression that may make other members, feel unease. Of course, tyrannies also do not allow expressing criticism, even though, in their cases, the results are far severer than the former.

So, I wager that safe spaces are essentially dictatorships that are there to serve the more delicate, and not their people in general, like a proper democracy should have. For some reason, others may see criticism, as threatening, even though no threat was even made in mind.

Philosocom is not a safe space in that regard. I've written here a lot on darker topics, and some of which, may also be depressing. I do not wish for this site to be a safe space, because as a philosopher, it is a part of my occupation to explore and exchange with your ideas that might be difficult to contain. The whole point of philosophy is to seek the truth, no matter how grim it may be. I have no desire to censor potential truths, just for the safety of some of my readers, who might be more sensitive than average (like I am, ironically).

The only current rules when it comes to commenting here, are to be respectful and to not spam. Other than that, I try to respect others' freedom of speech, just like I expect them, to respect mine.

If you find yourself accidentally and deeply insulted by my words, even though I dislike insulting my readers, please understand that I do not believe in being responsible to another's sensitivity, and that you can always do other things with your reading time. I do not wish to force upon anyone my writings, so please read only when desired, and when not desired, consider not pushing yourself too hard for your own good.

Yes, of course I may care about others' emotions. However, these emotions are not mine, and beyond my authority. It's not my job to make my readers feel safe, in the same aspect of the mentioned "safe spaces".

Nonetheless, I do wish to clear the stigma when it comes to sensitive people. I, at least, do not wish to submit to my own vulnerabilities. I want to be stronger.

Success requires sacrifice! If my own comfort was my priority, I wouldn't been a public figure. I'm no longer a private person, so I'm going to be despised anyways, just like since my very beginning. I will not let offence stand in the path I believe I'm eligible of going in!

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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