Avoiding getting sucked into the world's vortex of shit

posted by Jeff | Saturday, May 23, 2015, 10:42 PM | comments: 0

I've said before that I'm struck by the number of people who are totally convinced that the world is going to hell, and the fear that they live in. (And it's all, apparently, Obama's fault.) I mean, people go beyond pessimism into a swirling vortex of shit, and I don't think there's any coming out for them.

I see stuff that makes me sad, not the least of which is the racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc. There's war and destruction on the other side of the world constantly. Politicians no longer serve the people, and we keep electing the same ones anyway. Even my home town of Cleveland seems uncivilized, where no one is accountable for dozens of bullets killing two unarmed people. Things aren't supposed to be this way, you know?

Fortunately, there are people who are not only paying attention, but they're raising their voices. I'm not talking about the fear-mongering people who hate everything or think that reposting on Facebook is activism, I mean people who really think about stuff and want solutions.

My issue is that I find it harder and harder to join the ranks of those people. There was a time when I would see something that bothered me, spend time thinking about it, and hurry to my keyboard to blog about it. Some of the time I was angry, but every year I became more measured in my response. It's much harder to do that now. Part of it is that I don't feel like I can really influence the scope of change necessary, but mostly I just don't have the mental bandwidth for it.

That puts me in a weird place. Lately, I am very focused on the good that people can do, and the positive change that's slowly happening in many aspects of our civilization. It's weird because a part of me feels like I'm putting my head in the sand to avoid everything that sucks. The thing is though, this is another way that I'm understanding that the scope of influence is not nearly as important as the quality of it. That I raise money for GKTW may not be huge, but it has serious impact on the lives of people. That a few people are able to waste time on the distraction of my web sites now and then has impact. That I'm a part of a group of professionals who make great software has impact. I'm never going to have the impact of the Gates Foundation or Elon Musk, but that's OK... the scope is unimportant.

And that's why I try to avoid getting sucked into the world's vortex of shit. Much of it is out of my control, and I have limited ability to change it. But I do have the ability to make the world a little better in other ways. I have to choose to focus on that, for my own sanity.


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