Hello, apparently this blog has been around for 2 years now – wow :o.
Last time I said that I would write about an important topic, so here it is – what to do about major, seemingly inevitable, problems that have no clear solution &, if left alone, will lead to disaster. This isn’t me telling you what approach you should take, rather this is a short musing of how people tend to approach them, & perhaps get you to think about your own actions.
I originally was going to explain how this came about, but that ballooned into several hundred words; enough for it’s own post. For the sake of saving time & getting to the real point, here’s a summary of some concerns from the past few months:
- Knowing for a long time that there’s something very wrong with the world, but only recently getting an idea of how bad it is. If we keep going this way mankind will destroy itself in a few generations (if we haven’t already doomed ourselves to this fate).
- Discovering what neoliberalism is, the effects of it, & how it permeates virtually everything in our global society today.
- What my life is now, what I want to do with it, & what effect it could have on the world.
In coming to terms with such things, I’ve realized there’s about four broad approaches to seemingly inevitable major problems:
- Ignorance – you avoid the problem.
- Despair – you give up hope in finding a good solution.
- Self – you focus on your own well-being.
- Consideration – you try for the best possible solution.
Let me explain a bit more.
By choosing Ignorance you choose not to know about the problem, or even acknowledge it. People taking this approach tend to believe the problem will not happen or it’s not worth the effort of solving it; perhaps it’ll even solve itself. Some are so terrified of it happening that avoidance is the only way they can cope. The most extreme will completely deny any semblance of the problem & will do everything they can to turn denial into “truth”. Ignorance is bliss right?
The next approaches at least acknowledge the problem.
In choosing Despair you feel powerless to do anything about the problem. Some people may reason that there’s no point in trying to solve it, that it’s best to live with the consequences. Besides, everything is destined to end right. This often means life becomes sadder, & this can have a snowball effect as lesser problems becomes overwhelming. The most extreme may even encourage the inevitable to happen faster &/or seek to end it all; at least it will be over & done with.
The next approaches focus on taking some action to fix the problem, in a manner of speaking.
In choosing Self you seek to make the situation as good as you can for yourself. People may say everyone’s just looking out for themselves, or that we shouldn’t be responsible for the lives of others; besides, interfering could actually make things worse. Life is cruel enough as it is so why shoulder the burdens of others if it’ll just hinder you. Right & wrong don’t matter in the end & are often just perspectives of opposing sides. This approach can lead to neglect & future problems for short term reward. Egotism is an extreme of this.
The last approach is perhaps more impactful, yet more complex.
With Consideration you focus on finding the “best” solution to the problem, despite the consequences seeming so inevitable (I guess you could also call this Responsibility). Some say that our actions ripple into the lives of others & what we send out is returned in kind; so we must act in a way that helps us all. While life may end in death, the time spent between now & the end can mean everything to us. While this approach is the hardest to tread & guarantees nothing, it may be the only way to truly fix the problem. Be aware that doing “what’s best” is often murky even when the distinction seems so clear; the consequences of your actions can be very unexpected. An extreme version of this is altruism, yet another is fanaticism.
In regards to the concerns I mentioned above, Consideration is the path I want to choose. I don’t want to just watch the world take it’s course, I want to at least try to bring about a better future. I have no intention of going into politics or taking any radical action, that goes against my principle of free will. Rather I prefer to encourage people to think better.
I believe that the only true way to set things right is to change our philosophy. I want thought, truth, understanding & compassion to be some of the virtues we live by as a society, but most importantly I want people to make this choice themselves (who am I to know what’s best for you, only you know that). Hence if I have to tell anyone anything it’s this:
Think for yourself & question everything.
My preferred way of reaching people is through the media I create, particularly games. The experience of playing a game can be very personal & can have a profound affect on us. They have a unique dimension of interactivity that allows us to see the power of our own choices. They’re also a great way of showing how systems drive & manipulate people, so maybe they can be used to find a better way to live. Making games is something I really need to try again at (perhaps now that I’ve got this post done I can 🙂 ).
I’m under no illusion that I can change the world; it takes us all to do that. Unfortunately, I know that most people won’t change the way they are unless put in a situation where they absolutely have to, & even then some will be unable to change. So I’ll settle for those willing to listen & leave the choice up to them.
I guess this post serves as a good start. Thank you for reading.