Better Angels of Our Nature

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Abraham Lincoln
First Inaugural Address

For years I tried to warn people about the things that I saw unraveling. I was told that I was exaggerating, that what I saw wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it was. People told me that I was overreacting, that yes, what I was seeing was happening, but it didn’t warrant the response that I was having. A lot of people just simply ignored me, and treat me as if I was a run-of-the-mill crackpot. Some people were a lot more rude, cruel, and willfully ignorant.

Now everything seems terrible, everyone seems awful, and I take absolutely no joy in saying I fncking told you so.

As I minimalist, my mantra is to get rid of what you don’t need or what to make space for the things that you do. It was in that spirit that I nerfed my social media account, dropped most old blog posts behind the curtain, and am trying to reboot a lot of my online presence. I’m trying to shift what I’m putting out into the world, and what I surround myself with, to keep things productive.

Another mantra that I live by is that stress is the disconnect between the way things are and the way you want them to be. You can’t solve a problem until you acknowledge it exists, and then clarify specifically what the actual problem is. As depressing as it sounds, I am realizing that things in the world probably have to get worse before they get better. People will ignore the warning signs until the problem smacks them in the face and makes it real for them. A lot of folks don’t care about things until it affects them personally. Which is why no one listened when I saw a lot of this coming years ago.

So what can I do with that, other than get depressed? Well, what do you do if your house catches fire? You try to save what’s most important to you. At some point you can’t deny that the house is on fire. It’s impossible to save everything, but if you’ve cleared out the clutter and detritus you know what things you need, and what is valuable to you.

Going forward I’m going to try to focus on the things that I feel I need to save. I want to draw attention to, elevate, and sometimes even curate, the things that I feel are important. While it’s important to know about the negative stuff so that we can take action, to acknowledge the problems so we can fix them, I also recognize that I have limited power and influence. My reach is not as far as I’d like it to be, and, again, I don’t always feel that people listen. I can’t prevent the house fire. I can’t put out the house fire. But I try to can save as much as I can while it burns.

3 thoughts on “Better Angels of Our Nature

  1. I find that when I feel terrible about politics, I make sure I vote. There are Swedish parliamentary elections coming up this year, and their politics are playing not evil as much as incompetent moron games, but I will vote and I will vote for whatever looks like the least of evils. There are local and municipal Norwegian elections coming later that I will vote in (in the latter, we get to elect who gets to wear The Blingy Chain Of The Sea Serpent Medallion aka the Seljord mayor and his councilors). There are Finnish local elections that you can vote in. And, unlike in USA, in true multi-party systems, your vote counts. My reach is not what I’d like it to be either, but you and I can vote, and we can vote where it matters.

  2. There is a lot of talk about people getting out to vote, and so far the turnout in special elections since the last big one in 2016 has been up, but we’ll see what actually happens. I do not have a lot of faith in the American attention span.

  3. Yeah. I have been avoiding looking that way because it’s hard to wash the blood splatter off my soul after reading the news.

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