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Anniversary
11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
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Chapter 4:
Why Am I Doing This?

April 19-22, 2014,
Bergamo, Italy


I am eager to get back to the story and show you that fascinating email exchange between the school administrators and myself, but there's still one more preliminary issue I have to get out of the way...

Why am I doing this?

(If you don't need to know why, skip to Chapter 5 to resume the story.)

A Facebook friend who I have known since my Area 51 days has voiced an opinion many of you probably share.

Seems like you are looking for friend to friend feedback regarding the Norway fiasco, I thought I'd tell you my 2 cents. You have a point that your conduct was not objectively inappropriate. Sometimes you can't escape subjective impressions though. The school officials exercised their prerogative. You made your argument, you didn't persuade them. You had your say. It's time to move on. That it is unfair is irrelevant. The world is unfair, you know that. Time to reset your own agenda, which you are very good at, and I admire that in you.
The argument is, the battle is already over, so why beat a dead horse?

It is also important to note that I lost all eight of my Facebook friends from the school as soon as I published Chapter One of this document, so I can't be doing it for them.

The rapid and catastrophic friend loss mostly happened within a span of two hours in the evening of April 14, the same day I published Chapter 1. I call this "The Monday Night Massacre". There was only one straggler who lasted a couple more days, but as soon as I mentioned she was the last one, she unfriended me, too.

Before the Massacre, several of the students urged me not to publish this document. The gist of their argument was, "This is my family, and even if they were wrong, I don't want them hurt." They also argued, as my friend above did, that even if I have been wronged, I should just let it go and move on. I proceeded with publication anyway, and mass defriending was my punishment. I am okay with that. That's the sort of thing I can easily move on from. Internet "friends" are very fluid and come and go all the time.

The point is, I have no friends at the school anymore (and no inside information on what is happening there), so there is no specific person I am fighting for. I assume that everyone there is opposed to what I am doing. It would have been nice to speak at the school, but it was no tragedy to me to not speak. I lost nothing. What I gained was four days of fabulous sightseeing in Norway. I would have had a great time if I spoke at the school, and the students would have too, but I also had a great time not speaking there. That's just me: I have great time everywhere!

The insult of being rejected affects me very little. As a veteran of much bigger wars, these things roll right off me. I don't mind being falsely accused of something as long as there is no jail time involved. In objective terms, what happens at this school or even in all of Norway affects my life not at all. This is a place far removed from the world I live in, and no one beyond the school would even know about this speaking debacle had I not announced it.

So why, Glenn, why? Why can't you just let this go and move on with your life?

Well, maybe this is my life! Maybe fights like this are exactly the sort of thing I want to move on to. Thrashing out real-life philosophical issues is not a diversion from my life plan. This is my profession. This is what I do.

Why does this incident matter? Because if the administrators have bungled this one external case, they are probably also mishandling the school's internal conflicts. If you are a student or faculty member accused of anything at all, you can't expect to be treated more fairly than I was.”
There are two answers to "Why am I doing this?": (1) It is my responsibility, and (2) It is a fantastic opportunity.

How can I feel responsible for the fate of school I hadn't even heard of until six months ago? Why do you feel responsible for anything or anybody? Whether by happenstance or choice, you become engaged in an environment, and the more engaged you become, the more you feel responsible for what happens there. Surprisingly, you can become even more engaged when you suffer an injustice in this environment. You realize that if the injustice happened to you, it can happen to others, so your sense of responsibility kicks in and you fight the injustice, not for yourself, but to correct the system and protect others from the same sort of hazard.

Back in my Family Court years, I wrote a one-page essay called The Responsibilities of the Victim. I think it is one of my best. An excerpt...

Sooner or later, you are going to become a victim, so you might as well decide right now what that means, before it happens. Will you handle victimhood gracefully, or will you make things worse?

In the legal system, there is a lot of talk about "victim rights." You hardly hear any mention of "victim responsibility." This concept may be hard to grasp at first. A victim can't just be a victim and expect to overcome the disaster. Within himself, he has to take responsibility for what happened, even if he didn't cause it.

This doesn't mean the perpetrator should get off the hook. It means that regardless of the cause of the disaster, the victim has to accept responsibility for its future outcome. Thereby, he stops being a victim and starts being captain of his fate.

Let's say you are robbed at gunpoint. No one is hurt, but the robber got your wallet. A few minutes later, the police catch the thief and give you your wallet back, all the cash and credit cards still there. Great! You are back to where you were before. But then the police want you to go to to court to testify against the thief. What is your responsibility?

If you are selfish, you would say, "No, I can't do it. I have my wallet back so I'm happy. I don't want to waste a day of my time hanging around in a courtroom. I never met that guy before, so he's not my problem." But that's not the responsible thing to do. The responsible thing is to show up in court and do what you can to see that justice is done. Otherwise, if he gets away with it, you know he is going to do it again. It wasn't your choice to be robbed, but once it happens, it is your responsibility just as much as the robber's. Like it or not, you are engaged in a contract, and it is your duty to see that contract to its conclusion.

Does that make things clearer? I didn't ask for this whole fiasco in Norway. I just thought it would be fun to give a lecture in wilds of a country I didn't yet know. But once the injustice was served upon me, I became engaged in the school in a way I wasn't before. I now see systemic failings that need to be addressed, and I am the best person to make it happen, perhaps the only one who can. Others at the school may see the same issues I do, but they are trapped within a political system and may not have much power. I am completely outside the political system, so in fact I may have more power than anyone else. For someone who has never set foot on campus, I am becoming something of an expert on the school and its problems. Having gained this knowledge and power, it is my responsibility to put it to good use.

The systemic problems of the school do not just concern the handling of harassment complaints. I see fundamental defects in its relations with the outside world. This is an extremely insular place. I heard the term "family" used over and over again by the students. Inputs into this bubble are highly controlled. I think that's the core reason the administrators never directly responded to my written proposal: I was the sort of uncontrolled interaction with the outside world the institution doesn't really want.


"Family" isn't always nice.
RCN certainly seems like a very warm place. "Family" may indeed apply. But this kind of situation is ripe for forms of family that aren't so positive. I could see an environment like this giving rise to cult-like behavior and attitudes—as illustrated by all the students defriending me simultaneously when I seem to pose at threat to the family. This is the sort of thing you would never see on a college campus in America. There would be argument. There would be dissent. There would never be unanimity on anything.

Being outside the family, I may be able to see it more objectively and take more effective actions than anyone on the inside. I say that warm family feelings are not the primary goal of an educational institution. The primary goal is, well, education—the imparting of information and skills. When family gets in the way of this exchange, shutting down channels of communication, then the family has become dysfunctional and needs some therapy.

So what is my "opportunity" here?

I am a philosophy writer. That is my chosen profession, even if I make hardly any money at it. (See my books on Amazon and my many essays on my website.) Usually, I write in motel rooms somewhere in America. I rely on memories of past experiences to inspire my work, but these days I am operating mostly in isolation from the rest of the world. Frankly, my life right now is pretty cushy. No real stresses or conflicts. This great for me, but it may not be the best for my writing. I always worry about losing my edge.

From time to time, I have to dabble in the real world. Every once in a while a real-world crisis or dilemma will befall me, and I take it as an opportunity to practice my art. The art lies in figuring the best was to navigate my way out of the predicament while demonstrating the principles I espouse in my writings.

Anyone who has invested themselves in a certain set of skills is always looking for greater challenges to test those skills. Mountain climbers are always trying to find a more difficult mountain to climb, and they get frustrated when they run out of mountains. The problem when you start getting good at what you do is you run out of challenges. You are like Sherlock Holmes looking for lost pets and philandering husbands when what he really wants is a richly textured mystery from the likes of Moriarty.

When the world hands you a truly worthy puzzle, challenging all of your senses, you cherish it. You don't want to "move on with your life" because this is the very life you are seeking. It isn't a drain on your resources; it is what your resources were meant for. Personally, I can think of no more joyful life than wandering through a half-dozen countries while working on a deep and meaningful philosophical puzzle from one of them.

Bring your revolver, Watson! The game is afoot!


Continue to Next Chapter (But don't miss any Notes below ↓ )

↓         Notes and Feedback         ↓

April 21, 09:00 — An anonymous comment arriving last night...
You have written 5/10 chapters already and you are yet to write a single sentence that shows the great and destructive problems you constantly refer to. You have done even less in showing this "knowledge and power" that you posses in order to attempt to correct whatever it is you think needs correcting. All you have done in the past 5 chapters, (excluding the 4th since it is not out yet) is protecting yourself from non-existing threats, showing excerpts from neutral emails in an effort to show the non-existent ominous tone of the conversations you lead with the admin of the school and promoting your numerous photo albums.

I do believe it is about time you admitted that you yourself do not remember the reason that made you start writing this utterly ridiculous excuse for "good literature" (as you said in your video).

Patience, please! This is being assembled on the fly as I tour Switzerland and the surrounding countries. As one who has spent a good deal of time with lawyers, I am trying to establish the facts before I start making conclusions based on the facts. So far, I have established only about half of the facts.

Re: utterly ridiculous excuse for "good literature" — Really, now, is this the kind of language we teach our students to use when debating important issues? Maybe you're dealing with a madman here, but it makes you seem like the crazy one when you impunge the messenger and means of delivery rather than addressing the message.

Personally, I think it is great literature, but that's just me. I'm allowed to enjoy my own work.



Happy 2nd
Anniversary
11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 Next Chapter Facebook Anonymous Feedback
Videos: Leadership Crisis | Finnmark | Tiny Little War | Assault Summary | College Choices | Introduction
Changes to this document are now recorded on the Facebook Page - Active in Summer 2016!
This document is a work in progress, subject to change. Its appearance on Google remains negotiable.

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