The day before yesterday my sister came to squeeze on the bed where my Mum and I were lying down on, watching Scarlet Heart: Ryeo. She flopped her muscled dancer thighs over my waist in some sort of very aggressive Koala hug.
I hug my siblings quite often. But this was just a ridiculous invasion of personal space. I asked her if she could get off or if she’d appreciate my hugs more next time if I made her. And when she just ignored me and held on tighter, I said “Silence means consent then,” and squeezed the back of her very tight calf. Oh my Goodness, she launched into this huge muscle spasm and rolled off the bed. Her muscles were too tight from dance practice.
When she emerged from the floor (She was too lazy to get up for a while), she launched into this debate about how “Silence means consent” is an argument used by Rapists, who violate unconscious women and pretended (Ok maybe pretend is a poor choice of verb for this, because my sister has this miraculous ability to convince herself that she is always right. So she technically is acting on genuine belief) to be scandalized by my use of the phrase. I reminded her that if this had anything to do with an attempt to violate one’s modesty, then I would have be the victim. And then I told her to stop talking because the commercial break was over. She left the room.
That got me thinking though. “Silence means consent” says so much about the human race as a species. Are we the only species with the discipline to ask permission for anything? No. The sense to ask for permission is something even Pixie has. Yes, we all start off being trained like dogs in our various approaches to life, especially towards the concept of choice. But asking for permission is a human concept. The idea of having to submit to a higher power, to receive instructions on what or what not to do.
It’s a concept our gentle giraffes and aggressive bears don’t have the finesse to navigate. The idea that to maintain our position as victor and reigning leader of the circle of life, we have to have an elevated level of awareness and humility.”Silence means consent”? That, to me, is a virtual realization of the many steps back we’ve taken as a kind. Trivializing the power of speech, wrenching choices from other people. A step against Democracy. A step against equality. We’re going back to being barbarians. Taking all that we want.
“Silence means consent” – A most accurate demonstration of a fatal human flaw. The sudden urge to go against the flow and reject the concept of authority we created for ourselves. Hubris. The excessive ego that makes us think ourselves worthy of pressing our opinions upon other people, or, in my sister’s case, this choice to lose awareness for a pretty fantasy of an idealized scenario. The idea that the person you are conversing with will not fight back against what you say- “Silence means consent” is a delusion for the conceited.
On a lighter note, my SPH senior got himself a girlfriend just with this bit of arrogance. I suppose he is a rather charming guy, so maybe thats why it worked for him, but boys, don’t try this at home. He confessed to a girl via text and following her reply of ‘……’ he replied “Oh, silence means consent.” And they got together. Cue the awkward applause.
Not that this move was right or wrong, but the general thought behind it was a sense of slight over-confidence that enabled him to make the move he did. And bits of flaws like these are not only easy to overlook, but actually rather attractive. The same way Angelina Jolie’s oversized lips make her look sexier, the way sausages taste better just a bit burnt, and eggs on Eggs Benedict dishes are always slightly undercooked. People like things that are not too perfect, slightly off. Maybe because they seem more real and attainable that way?
Then again, why is there ever silence in the first place. Unless we are mutes, silence should never be excusable. If you are being threatened, then you are making a conscious choice to keep your mouth shut, because the alternative is just so undesirable. So that decision in itself is a choice made, is a voice heard. In any other situation, if we don’t have the guts to speak up, we are giving up our right to have our choices shape a world better to us. We are giving up the right to complain about whatever shit the world throws at us because we are too passive to make our voices heard. If no one dared to speak up, we would have been stuck in the cavemen era. I can’t live in a world like that. Can you?