I have my own triggers so I understand both that triggering is a real thing and that it’s seriously uncomfortable. In my case it’s like I have a switch on my back somewhere and I am the only person on Earth who cannot seem to reach it. Literally anybody else can walk up whenever he or she feels like it, turn on that goddamn switch, and completely ruin me for some unpredictable period of my immediate future. These disruptive episodes can be more or less intense and can last as briefly as a few moments, and as long as a year or more. My vulnerability to these kinds of episodes — which in their most acute and extreme form I refer to as autistic meltdowns — have rarely accomplished anything of value, and most often have made my life something of a train wreck in that they have destroyed every conceivable kind of relationship I might have with pretty much anybody, but especially with bosses and girlfriends. In particular their destructive effect on my relationships with bosses has caused me no end of financial problems.
I also understand that not all triggers are equal. Some triggers really are worse than others. In the extreme are those triggers associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can sometimes be so bad as to drive people to commit suicide and/or murder.
However, one of my own triggers is basically anything that looks like it might threaten a truly useful and universal Right to freedom of thought and especially the public expression of one’s thoughts. I usually conceptualize this as the right to be honest in public about our own current opinions. Whenever I encounter anything that even just appears superficially to threaten that Right I get triggered, and I regret to announce here in public that for now, at least, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that could change my mind, in my honest opinion the entire trigger-warning approach to the very real problem of triggers is a terrible idea.
To be clear: this is absolutely not to invalidate or deny what I know for a fact to be the very serious problem of triggers in general, and in particular those associated with PTSD and which can on occasion drive people to manifest some extremely dangerous behavior. But rare is the problem with just one solution, and the trigger problem is one with plenty of solutions, many of which are clearly more promising than the trigger-warning approach, which in my opinion should be scrapped immediately, and this because of the threat it poses to our collective Right to be honest in public about our own current opinions.
However, if you disagree with me on this point, I urge you to let me know, because you may in fact have exactly the kind of evidence that could change my mind, and if you don’t share it with me, I might end up hurting a lot of people because I failed to correctly understand this issue. If you seriously believe that I am missing some significant point or fact or piece of evidence, etc. and that if only I were aware of it I would change my position on trigger warnings, then please, please be honest with me about your opinion on this issue.
In closing I would like to offer you one of the above mentioned solutions that are clearly more promising than the trigger-warning approach: don’t read my blog. Also, if you really think my blog is dangerous, then please warn others not to read my blog.
Look, of course I want followers, especially followers that actually read my blog, as you clearly do. But if the price of a given follower is that I have to threaten the safety of our Right to be honest in public about our opinions, I’m afraid that price is too high to pay. I’m just going to have to pass on that one — for now, at least, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that could change my mind.
But before you abandon me completely, I urge you to consider the possibility that you just might have exactly the sort of evidence that could change my mind on this issue. If you do, then in my opinion you actually have the moral responsibility to offer it to me in case it really will change my mind. If you don’t offer it to me at least, then that will just make you complicit in all the unnecessary suffering I might cause by my ignorant and stubborn refusal to use proper trigger warnings. For the sake of any additional people I may hurt, I implore you to be honest with me about your opinions on this matter. Please, please — especially if you disagree with me — please let me know what you think.
In the meantime, I don’t do trigger warnings.