Every so often I see something from a concerned person, about how distressed they are with the state of the world, or how everyone they know is.
It actually takes me a little by surprise nowadays, because I feel a long way from that line of news consumption.
All I really want to say is “stop”, unless it’s something you enjoy.
I grew up in the time which really developed and honed activist spectator angst, the whole “you are the key to it all”, vicariously involved, must change the world, sign, protest, donate, think as we do otherwise it’s your fault, bullshit.
If the news upsets you, why are you watching it? Seriously.
If you are directly involved, it’s different. If you live in a country that can conscript you, and that country is moving nearer towards war, then damn right you can be concerned, and getting out of the way of that thing. If there is something you are actually going to do to make something better, ok. But all this intelligence gathering for a power you don’t have, what is that for?
It’s a habit, and a kind of fantasy work. It takes lots of energy, and it doesn’t free your consciousness (I can almost guarantee that none of our news media do that). A lot of the time, it’s being pushed like a drug too. And I don’t just mean Fox and “conservative” media. If you stop, then you get that energy back.
There was a time when our virtual world (the universe we hold in our heads) was an abstract affair, probably religious, largely unchanging. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but since sometime in the 20th century, the virtual worlds of many people have decayed to the level of “news”. The incantations used to control those worlds have tended to slide towards ideology, which has in turn slid towards the level of memes. But the anxiety, sense of responsibility and deliverance has hung on. Where some people see activists and campaigners, I have to admit I often see preachers.
Do you feel saved? Informed? Or just guilty and afraid.
And when they come out with the latest thing about generation X, Y, and Z, isn’t this ringing a bell? It should do if you’re a baby boomer, because we’ve been idolizing this crap since we were generation X, and fuck knows that was a long time ago. We weren’t it. Neither are our children. I always think we should remember, when we look at our children, that they are the same stuff as our grandparents. Literally. No more indigo, or solid platinum, than any others. We’re all interchangeable, and we always have been.
But when it comes to the big world out there, and the saving of it, all I can say is “walk away”. What Would Patsy Stone Do ?
Change yourself, change your life, do something for the people around you, and for yourself, but get the world out of your head. It doesn’t fit anyway. By all means do stuff, real stuff, that doesn’t involve someone with a clip board taking down your bank details. You want to change the world? What part of the world is actually getting your hands dirty? Dirty as in work, not dirty as in “they have blood on their hands! [wail]”. Do things better. Be a better person (whatever that means to you). Think local, act local, really local, and stop being such a hippie.
Then you might really do something, whether other people can see it or not, and you’ll be a lot happier too. And if you do find yourself doing some work to change something concrete about the world, you’ve probably got a much better chance of being helpful.
Don’t feel bad. It’s the same world it’s always been.