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A Simple Answer to All Your Questions

June 14, 2016

Like many of you, I have been struggling to make sense of the illogic and violence that seem to characterize our world these days. And, like many of you, I have found a desire to speak out against it, to be a part of the solution.

But what can I say that’s any different from the millions of conversations already happening online? How does adding my voice to the cacophony make anything better?

Scroll through the comments of any controversial article and it becomes clear that critical thinking is not the forte of social media. This is a place where opinions are expressed but seldom exchanged; where complex problems are addressed with simplistic suggestions; where sharing links and changing profile pictures represents the height of most of our activism. It may be that, for all my good intentions, writing this article is adding to the problem and what I should really do is sign off, shut down the computer, and never turn it on again.

If I’m feeling helpless, it’s not born of ignorance. I understand exactly what’s happening. I just don’t know what to do about it. And that’s the crux of it: none of us know where to go from here.

Let me tell you a secret: nobody ever has.

There is a momentum to human culture that cannot be denied, a dynamic arc, an evolutionary trend toward complexity, like the products of our scientific endeavors. And there’s no way to step off the treadmill. We must move forward in spite of the unknown.

If you study the weather, or the history of the stars, or pretty much any natural phenomenon, you will see that the physical forces of the universe tend to seek an equilibrium, while simultaneously harboring the vehicle of its destruction. So it is with government and tech and philosophy: what frees us will ultimately hold us down, but that’s the game we’re playing. And it’s going to play out to the end.

You want a simple answer? Come on. You know what’s wrong as well as I do. We glorify violence. The average American watches more than four hours of TV a day. We eat shitty food and don’t exercise enough. We hide behind our computers like we hide in our cars, thinking we’re anonymous. We put our kids in boxes all day and expect them to like it. Our entire health care system is addicted to pharmaceuticals. We know our leaders are corrupt but they get away with it anyway. The rash of police shootings has made it hard to know which officers to trust. Our Veterans are killing themselves. We’re killing each other. We’re killing ourselves.

How do we stop it? So far the only options on the table seem to be: A) take away the guns, or B) wield bigger ones. The problem with option A is, if a storm is coming no legislation will shut it down, while option B would only hasten its approach.

This is the bottom line: the world we have created does not work for many of the people that are being forced to live in it, and unless that imbalance is corrected the problem will only get worse.

There are good people working to make the world a better place. There are good people just trying to get by. There are good people getting in each other’s way with their best intentions and misunderstandings of the human situation. And when it comes down to it, there are good people working at cross purposes who will never see eye to eye.

I’d like to think we’ll figure it out. But I don’t know what that means.

The greatest changes always come in a time of crisis, when the intolerable outweighs the advantages.

What’s your breaking point?

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From → Journal

One Comment
  1. P.M. permalink

    Nice question at the end! P—-

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