Why We Need to Remember Real World Problems

Let’s be honest.

There are a lot of problems in this world.

And many — if not most of them — feel insurmountable. Half of my friends can barely watch the news; it’s just too overwhelming. And I understand. I often feel the same, zig-zagging in and out of my news addiction.

Remaining informed has become akin to walking a minefield. There’s always some tragedy unfolding. But there’s also something else going on, a sort of knee jerk predilection for outrage that is robbing us of meaningful dialogue.

If everything is catastrophic, nothing is. We run the risk of crisis fatigue. Some things warrant genuine outrage. What’s unfolding in Syria, for example. But other, more granular, subjects are often paraded out as a means to generate angst and anger among a certain segment of the population.

We have been conditioned to a certain kind of immediacy. We get annoyed when our computers take 30 seconds to load. That spinning circle drives us mad, yet we rarely take the time to marvel at the fact that we can communicate with people across the globe as if they’re sitting right next to us. What I mean to say is that, ultimately, our vantage point is skewed. It’s become challenging to differentiate the urgent from the secondary.

This world has evil, yes. It always has and it always will. It also has tremendous light. Most human beings fall somewhere in the middle. Rarely is anyone all bad or all good. This world is just too complex.

I think about karma a lot. And fate. Cycles playing themselves out over centuries or millennia. If our souls are evolving each at their own determined rate, then surely we’re each responsible for some horrific act at some point.

This isn’t to negate or excuse the cruelty enacted daily. It’s to contextualize it. So long as we’re living in a binary world, healing will elude us. But if we’re willing to look at things from another angle, if we can expand our compassion and take the whole of the world into our view, we not only bring more love to the equation, we actually elevate our own consciousness.

That being said, I’m not advocating detachment and dismissal, either. That serves no one. To be part of this world is to engage. But how purposeful is outrage, really? To be in againstness is to live in fear and resentment. To be in acceptance is to find a way through the mess, to anchor in the heart and find meaning where we can, helping and servicing when we can. “The arc of history is long,” Martin Luther King, Jr. espoused, “but it bends towards justice.” We don’t know why these things happen, not really anyway. So much is beyond our grasp. Maybe it’s enough just to do our part, to invest ourselves in small kindnesses and gestures and to be bold when necessary. Maybe that’s all we have.

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