In terms of how we’re living and all the problems currently facing individual societies as much as the global community we’re all existing within, the sense of what might be realistic, practical, empowering responses is a question affecting us personally as much as systemically. Charting that powerful and emotive set of reactions, values and ideals in order to hopefully lead to lasting improvement seems this incredibly complex task.
Because we all have our sense of what’s normal, right, and expected. Everything we see and hear is presumably run past our own set of judgements, filters, and ideas as to what’s acceptable or would be better. So many conversations seem to run along that track of expressing our own opinions on what’s going on around us, whether we’re watching TV, absorbing news, or commenting upon the lives of others.
We’re often actively taught to approach life that way: forming our response, lining up arguments, and presenting them somewhat definitively to others (see Note One). As thinking creatures we’re being encouraged to pass everything through the reasoning of our own mind, with all its personal, cultural, social, moral conditioning of experience and affirmation. We’re shaped by our world, then pass judgement on that basis.
Which seems to have the effect of making everything quite personal: we feel things as an affront to our very existence and all we’ve been taught to see as right; we might expect our finest efforts at reasoning to meet with immediate agreement, approval and change; we may battle on, hoping to win people over, with our sense of self and what matters effectively on the line.
The idea of how best to apply our mind, our ideals, our words and actions in order to bring about greater awareness and constructive action isn’t easy to resolve. Then there’s the tools we’re using, the ways of going about things that we’ve inherited from the past and repurposed for new ends; including the voice, role and responsibility of modern media and the wider cultural conversations that all sits within (Notes Two).
With thought, we might expect our reasoned responses to be universal – we might think them compelling, obvious and beyond doubt – but, in reality, everyone else’s views are likely to be as firmly held as our own (Notes Three). Logic might be fairly neutral, but how we apply it, the meaning we assign to links in the chain, and the overall picture we see emerging does seem capable of varying for some reason.
So, given all we can now be aware of and the relentless pace of updates and trends appearing on a global scale, filtering all that down into actionable conclusions capable of keeping up with the waves of novelty must be almost verging on the impossible. And not adding fuel to the fires through potentially unhelpful responses stands apart from that as a quite separate challenge.
Somehow, though, we have to navigate this and find ways to communicate about collective courses of action we’re all inclined to sustain.
Notes and References:
Note 1: Pick a side, any side
Note 2: Apparent difficult in finding a voice
Note 2: Desensitised to all we’re told?
Note 2: Concerns over how we’re living
Note 3: Is anything obvious to someone who doesn’t know?
Note 3: The philosopher stance
Note 3: Dealing with imperfection
Ideas of imperfection, change, and the pursuit of ideals were considered in a slightly different light in Dystopia as a powerful ideal.