Posts from — November 2010
Readers of this site – and I know you’re still out there – will have long ago noticed that this blog has gone to sleep. There are a few reasons – work and family are primary. But it would be dishonest not to admit the main one.
I started this blog in 2007, in the middle of the Bush debacle, when it seemed the world had turned upside down, that Americans had fallen asleep on the job. All we needed to do, I figured, was change the world.
I’m not so sure about that anymore. It’s a big world. It can be hard – and frustrating – when you try and shove it around.
I used to think it was every citizen’s responsibility to engage in political debate for awareness and enlightenment. But given the hysteria in the so-called “news” today, such debate has essentially descended into trying to change someone’s opinion. It’s like convincing a Mets fan to switch to the Phillies because you “know” the Phillies are better to root for.
This is useless.
I also once believed that the Information Age would put an end to disinformation once and for all. I naively reasoned (how 2004 of me) that self-publication would spread “truth” as fast as a mouse click. No more manipulating and deceiving the folk.
But the Internets had another plan. Instead of more “truth” out there, we have nonsensical hysteria. The noise is so loud, you can’t get a reasoned thought in. Just follow any Yahoo news article’s rant (er, comments) section. It’ll break a democratic’s heart.
The truth is, none of us “knows” the truth. And who’s to say that my “truth” is the same for someone else? Yet we’re threatened by dire consequences if we ignore so-called “truths” all the time. Typically the country is “being destroyed.”
And yet it’s not. Or maybe it is. It hasn’t yet. All that we do know with certainty– and in the end, all that we can reasonably hope to impact – is what’s happening in our own lives.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t universal truths, and by no means am I arguing for a society run by individuals acting according to their own self-interest, which is a wholly different and self-defeating thing. That’s selfishness and it leads to exploitation, which is anathema to wise people everywhere.
What I am saying is that changing one’s own life (and directing those of our children) through acts of responsibility – being a responsible parent, a responsible consumer, a good friend, a kind neighbor – this can spread goodness out from circle to circle and – dare I say it – change the world.
OK, there are exceptions. Do you join mass movements against Nazis? Yes, if it’s Germany in 1936, you join the cause. But this isn’t Germany in 1936, and healthcare reform is not the second coming of the Politburo. But try to convince a dug-in, full-of-certainty Hannity/Limbaugh/FOX/Tea Party fanatic who won’t be budged. It’s changing the world all over again: You’re pushing against a mountain.
So maybe for the most of us, most of the time, focusing our energies on influencing the areas of our lives that are within our power to influence may be the most effective method to move things positively forward that we personally have.
The first thing I wrote on this blog was the beautiful quote from Ghandi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I didn’t realize it then, but I guess I had it right, right at the start. These are wise words to live by, and I’ve tried to take them to heart.
Meantime, the lights will be on here as long as Rob C keeps paying the bills, so have a random read now and then.
Tags: change the world