Jason, would you be willing to share any insights on the bigger picture of WTF is happening in the world?
I got this question via facebook over the weekend during the coup in Turkey. That coup of course came in between two attacks on police here in America, which is in response to American Police shooting more unarmed black people. All the while a racist reality star has taken the nomination of a major party. while the Candidate for the other party is widely considered to be somewhere between untrustworthy and criminal*. Britain is leaving the EU, Terrorist attacks in Europe are amping up, the economy sucks everywhere, and….. well the world feels like it is going to Hades in a hand basket.
So what is going on?
Here is my answer: Nothing.
Nothing is going on. Shit is happening as it tends to do. There are no spiritual powers converging upon us. There is no apocalypse level event we need to prepare for. Reality is not coming undone because David Bowie died.
I kinda feel like people who were born in the 80’s or 90’s have been experiencing an unusually calm period of human history and perhaps that is starting to be upset a bit, but really not much. Humans suffer from a terrible condition known as human nature. We fight, we ignore things, we act selfishly, we do heinous and crazy things. This has not changed.
What has changed is the media and our hearing about every last thing that happens everywhere. We are inundated by it. It was not always this way. Really important global stuff made the evening news and newspaper, as well as the important local stuff. If a child was abducted four states away, you wouldn’t hear about it unless you lived near there. In some ways this is good and in some ways this is bad.
Now people are largely ignorant of important local issues like politics, or zoning, or even just the police blotter, but are absolutely slammed with whatever the most disturbing (ratings) news is from anywhere on the globe. It all feels like it is happening to you and your neighborhood, and it feels like a constant barrage of horror, when in fact, its just how things are.
There was a coup in Turkey. It failed. But even if it didn’t, stuff happens. There have been over 30 changes to the map since the Animaniacs sang Nations of the World.
The news is reporting a War on Police, but in fact Police fatalities are at a 20 year low.
Despite a Harvard study that has some holes in it, many people agree that Blacks are being targeted by police in America at an increasing rate. I am not so sure that its happening more than it ever did. Instead I tend to think that the proliferation of video cameras on both citizens and police are allowing up to bring attention to a problem that has always been there, but been denied.
Trump is the logical conclusion to the GOP strategy of gaining votes through making people feel that their way of life is under seige. I still meet people who believe Obama is a Muslim Terrorist despite the fact that he has been in control of the most powerful military on the planet and not done a damn thing that you would expect a terrorist to do. You cannot spend 15 years telling people that their way of life is threatened and that extremists have overthrown the constitution without them eventually electing an extreme candidate that matches the rhetoric.
Clinton is likewise the logical choice of a DNC that is absolutely dominated by insider politics and an obsession with the halcyon days of the last Clinton administration.
At this moment in human history there are virtually no large nations at war with one another. Yes, there are civil wars in Syria, South Sudan, and Libya, disputes in the China sea, unrest in Iraq, and a host of terrorist actions, but compared to many other periods of even recent history we are in a pretty peaceful time.
In Western countries women and LGBT peoples are making unprecedented strides in human rights. There is still much to do but things are moving in the right direction. You can even see recent racial unrest as a reaction to the strides made.
The environment is one area where we are perhaps screwed good and proper, but we are WELL past conserving our way out of this mess. I hold out hope for climate control technology to arise and have faith that as it becomes profitable and necessary – solutions will emerge.
I keep in mind that there are 7.4 Billion people on the planet right now, so the horrors of any given day are far outweighed by the people that just lived a normal day.
Speaking of population, 20 years ago the great fears were about overpopulation. Now it seems the fertility rate is declining dramatically and world population is expected to decrease. This solves some problems, but of course creates others. Funny how that happens isn’t it?
I am not saying the world is peachy. There are incredible amounts of suffering and oppression, and a need to fight the good fight.
What I am saying is that this is how it has always been, and in many ways the feeling that things are worse, is just a feeling. An illusion cast by those that profit from spreading fear and paranoia – either for ratings, or money, or votes.
My advice is to seek out the news that is important to keep you informed then shut it off. Decide what you are going to do in any given week towards helping the situations you know of, then do that and get on with enjoying your life. Do some magic to make it better.