Tired of being Facebook mad at all the things
Iraq. Afghanistan. ZOMG ROLLING STONE, WTF?! Syria. Darfur. Drones. Obamacare. Filibusters. More filibusters. Seriously, can an appointee actually get confirmed by this infantile, insipid branch of government we call the Legislature? Woman dies on roller coaster. GMO CROPS ARE KILLING UR DUDES! Texas abortion bill passes. ZOMG ROYAL BIRTH! Snowden. Zimmerman. Tourist jailed after raped in Dubai.
I’m tired y’all. I’m tired and worn out, trying to keep track of all of the things I’m supposed to be outraged over. By the time I see why I’m supposed to be outraged, it’s on to the next one.
Seriously, we’re on outrage alert every day. New petitions, new laws to combat. New causes to fund. New happenings to protest, boycott…whatever. I’m supposed to cultivate an attitude of rage, hate and vitriol at all times? Am I supposed to keep a log?
“They” say that the average weekday edition of the New York Times contains more information in it than an average 17th century Briton would have encountered in his/her entire life.
I don’t think I have it in me to keep up.
If I’m honest, it’s easiest to become cynical or apathetic. When I covered human nastiness as a reporter, especially during my time at war, the only way I could deal with it back then was to chuckle or think of the numbers. Only five died with that bomb? Amateur…last one killed 60.
Who thinks like that? Who takes a look at the pics he snapped at an IED site and passes them around, saying “Yikes, look at that poor bastard. He ain’t coming home for supper”?
There’s PLENTY to be angry at, I get it. In addition to the 1,000 things of the last few weeks, the Kony 2012 guy is still out there. Who killed Chandra Levy? Any anger left at Casey Anthony? Who sent all that anthrax around back in 2001? Katrina aftermath still has stuff going on. Haiti is still wrecked.
Who’s keeping all those “outrage” candles lit? Who will keep them lit for all the new stuff?
The answer isn’t to unplug and become Amish, but I do think I can be more deliberate at the things I choose to be angered over. I think I’m going to start cutting back on the hate…you know, to aim to be a more uplifting dolt of a man.
So how do you do it? How do you sustain this constant barrage of expected rage?
Very interesting topic, Josh.
For me it’s a constant battle, but you know, I think it SHOULD be a constant battle! The alternative is to be completely apathetic about the issues affecting our world. Kony? Meh. Trayvon? Oh well. Ethnic cleansing in yet another corner of the world? Sorry, my well of empathy and outrage is all spent.
That isn’t the way to be. Of course, neither do you want to be constantly angry, outraged and frustrated. Somewhere in the middle is a happy medium–the ability to be a functioning adult and laugh at a badger video in one Facebook post while engaging in a political debate in the next post.
To me, the essence of our modern world is that we are overwhelmed with info and this forces us to be more aware and set our own boundaries. We have neither the luxury to care about everything (that will eat us up) nor can we care about nothing (or we become part of the problem.) It may take mental energy to do this (and we may often fail), but recognizing our own limits of empathy and, at times, our own hypocrisy is just part of maturing in a world of pervasive, always-on information and opinion.
I choose my battles. I sometimes write a post and then delete it. I will post occasionally to friends rather than to “public.” And I also am aware of the topics I want to get involved in and the other topics–equally important ones!–that I just don’t have the time, brainspace and emotional energy to tackle.
Given the option of more info or less, I’d always opt for more. That means more effort for us to parse, care and engage, but to me that’s better than willful ignorance.
Thanks for the provocative topic, Josh. I cared enough to post!
It is a struggle. And there is a happy medium. Sometimes I want to just focus on local stuff (volunteering, giving to local causes, being a good neighbor, etc) and shut out all larger issues. Sometimes I get caught up in the surges of emotion with national stories and ignore people around me. There should be a tension held between the two.
Scripturally, I look at a few places. James says “Anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires.” Paul says (in Romans) “In as it is up to you, live at peace with all men.” There are plenty of other parts that say we should oppose injustice and defend the cause of the helpless, but when cultivating anger, more and more I defer to grace and patience.
Thanks for the comment!