Option: Accept My Own Insignificance

Things seem....bad.

Offhand, enumerating the things that seem broken in my country right now:

  • Our government isn't really functioning.  The Constitutional Republican Democracy of 1787 seems like a failure at scale.
  • We're more tribal than we've been since segregation, a process that's accelerating.
  • We're in unending, global guerrilla war against people willing to kill themselves for an idea incompatible with our existence as a nation.
  • We have roughly one mass shooting per day.  Yesterday, there was one in Kentucky.
  • We've lost our ability as a society to dream of something bigger: The moon, world peace, whatever.  That seems like a 1960's fever dream at this point.
What can I do about any of the above?  

Nothing.  

I mean, I guess I can argue with people on the internet about it, for all the good that does.  


I could retain crushing anxiety about what might happen, much like when I was a kid having watched The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, convinced the world was ending.  While meds help, stewing in anxiety triggers all day (Twitter) doesn't help.

I could 'prep,' caching food, ammunition, and supplies for the coming devolution and collapse of civilization at 10 billion person scale.  Suuuuure.

Or, I could recognize my helplessness, my hilarious insignificance.  I could accept the coming storm like someone in Pompeii in AD 79 saw that pyroclastic cloud inbound.  Could he stop it?  Of course not!

Likewise, can I do anything about those bullet points above?  No.

I've lived all of my life with an inflated, entitled sense of self-importance and my own agency.  I felt like if I complained and cajoled, enough that I could make a difference.  I've come to apprehend that at scale in this climate that's likely nothing more than hubris.

I can love my family, be a human being to those around me, and beyond that, it's just out of my control.  Maybe that's the growth.  I've long posed the dichotomy to myself that either I stick my head in the sand (denial) or struggle against whatever wrong there might be (anger/bargaining).  

Perhaps, now comes acceptance.  I will one day be dead, as will everyone I've ever known and every material thing I've ever seen will be (at best) dust, pulverized and forgotten.  There was evil in this world before I came, and perhaps more after I leave.  As the Book says, "[He] sendeth rain on the just and the unjust." (Mat 5:45)

It's time to focus away from myself, and stop deluding myself that at scale I can do anything.  My attachment to "people I've never met" as my wife says must go away.  My anger and frustration at the omnipresent wrongs does nothing but distance me from those I actually care about.

So, that's what I want to do.  I'm considering dropping Twitter and Facebook and just being present.  I'd certainly do better at my primary responsibilities.

Is that equivalent to giving up?  I don't think so.  I consider it getting real with what my actual sphere-of-influence is.

Will I do it?

We'll see.

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