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When the World is Running Down

The building is quiet, and I’ve been getting quite a bit of writing done. There’s the minimum amount of snow outside needed to make things white, and enough slowly-returning daylight to keep things bright. The heater works. We have ample supplies of coffee and milk. Next to me is a small stack of book and journals and pens. As the Police song goes, when the world is running down you make the best of what’s still around.

When the World is Running Down

On Tuesday I went next door, to the building in our apartment village that houses the laundry room, to do the washing. Yesterday Katie and I walked down to the grocery store, did the shopping, and rode the bus home. I won’t leave the apartment again until next Tuesday, when laundry day comes ’round again. Not because of the weather. Because I don’t have to. I appreciate that, and treasure it.

As of this writing I’ve severely curtailed Twitter. The app has been removed from my phone, and the bookmarks on my Chrome profiles have been deleted. To look at either account I have to type in the domain name and enter the user name and password like it’s 1996. Thanks to a plugin called Twitter Tamer, I can’t see trending topics. With slow and careful curation of muted topics and turning off retweets, I’m insulated from pointless and hateful rhetoric.

On my personal account I’m down to following 19 people; the business account is following 6. Those numbers will go up over time, I’m sure, but a drastic purge was the first step toward conscious curation. For  a while the only post on my personal account will be notifications of these blog posts, and on the business side information about new and upcoming releases.

The Static Hurts My Ears

I’m protecting kindness, treating it as the precious and delicate resource that it is. That means limiting my exposure to the open cruelty that seems to be fueling the world right now. For people entrenched in zero-sum thinking, the only way to win is for someone else to lose. Even if they’re inflicting suffering on themselves, as long as the people they don’t like are suffering more they celebrate it as a victory. They literally don’t know the meaning of the word Pyrrhic.

This is, partially, why presenting the facts doesn’t work. Critical thinking and basic reason have no impact. They know that their rudeness and willful ignorance upsets you, and as long as it does they feel that they’ve won. Sure, democracy is in shambles and the planet’s falling apart and humans are being irreparably harmed, but the people they don’t like aren’t getting their way so ha ha, winning.

You Make the Best of What’s Still Around

It’s a childhood game of “I’m not touching you” writ large, and about as mature. When you get upset, when you haul off and slap them for taunting you, they tell you that you lost because you got sick of their shit and reacted. You only win by not playing along.

Meanwhile, the people who could be doing something about it are having a slap fight, too busy going after each other to team up and go after their mutual adversary.

We’re not rolling down a hill, picking up speed in a race to the bottom. You can pump the brakes on a hill. The possibility exists to stop, or even change direction head go back up. No, we’re about to go over a cliff. The only way is down. The only resolution, the only way that this ends, is to hit bottom. Or, you know, do something before there’s nothing left to do.

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