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Stop Being So "Offens-ive"




I am outraged! Why? Because I am offended by all of the people taking offense at everything these days! It seems all one has to do is turn on the television, read a newspaper, or look on the internet and one is bombarded by individuals and groups who claim that they are offended by something. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, you can find someone who takes offense at it.


So I thought I would share a few excerpts from a wonderful book titled, “PLATO, NOT PROZAC – Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems,” authored by Lou Marinoff, Ph.D.


In the book, Marinoff explains --

“There is a distinction between offense and harm. If someone or something harms you – that is, injures you physically against your will – you are not an accomplice to the injury.”

So, in other words, if you’re standing on the sidewalk and a person walks up to you and smacks you in the back of the head with a two-by-four, that’s harm.


Marinoff then continues --

“But, offense is something else. If someone or something offends you – that is, insults you in some way – you are definitely an accomplice to the insult. Why? Because you took offense at it. You may be passively harmed by something such as a physical blow, but you take an active part in being offended by something such as a painting.... So, if you claim you are offended by a Paul Gauguin painting of bare-breasted native women in the South Pacific that is hanging in the lobby of a building, sorry to say but you are an accomplice."


Marinoff asks us to think back to the past --

“Remember the exchange of bygone days:


“Sorry, no offense intended.”

“Well, then, none taken.”


“This kind of civility has been made obsolete by a culture of careless thinking, which has allowed offense to become confused with harm… Nowadays people take offense themselves, then accuse others of harming them, and the system backs this up with policies that undercut individual liberties. Worse, the system reinforces this confusion by rewarding people monetarily for taking offense. No wonder everyone’s either walking around on eggshells or walking around with their nose out of joint.”


Marinoff then concludes his thoughts and feelings on the subject --

“People looking to take offense will always find something to take it at, but then they’re the ones with the problem. Their problem is that they need to feel offended.”


I am offended that Mr. Marinoff could write such words about taking offense -- NOT! Come on people, it's time to get off the” poor-me, I'm a victim, I'm offended” train. It won't take us anyway except continuously downward.


Caveat -- (I hope you read the opening and closing of this article with the humor it was written with.)

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