1.11. Why We Can’t Ignore What’s Going On

In this globalized world, you can’t hide. All you can do is forfeit your opportunity to do your part, to make things a little better.


As tempting as it is to become angry or cynical about everything that’s going on, perhaps the biggest temptation is to just disengage.

It’s hard to let yourself really grasp the full magnitude of all the horrible injustices that are happening in the world.

It’s hard to watch so many people expend so much blood, sweat, and tears, trying to do good—and only rarely succeed at accomplishing their goals.

It’s really tempting to just avoid or ignore it all, deny it, distract yourself from it, become apathetic, embrace one of the many excuses or rationalizations people have made up for why it’s okay not to care as much as you should.

Maybe the most seductive of these rationalizations is the notion that the suffering of others is “not my problem,” that our own lives are busy as it is, that we have no obligation to care about anyone other than ourselves and our own.

Well, let me tell you something, folks. There’s no such thing as “you and your own.” There’s no such thing as “me and my own.” We’re all in this together.

We stopped being in this separately when we started building bombs capable of destroying our whole species.

We stopped being in this separately when we started turning up the heat on our whole planet, and turning it, as Pope Francis recently said, into “an immense pile of filth.”

We stopped being in this separately when governments and corporations started developing technologies that can be used in scary ways to invade the privacy of every person on earth against their will.

Don’t let all those silly, made-up borders fool you. This is a truly global world now. Everything is interconnected. Everybody’s fate is intertwined. Things that happen halfway around the world can have huge effects on your own daily life.

We haven’t caught up with these changes yet. We’re still using our old institutional models. We’re still pretending we can just go live on a farm somewhere and get it away from it all, if that’s what we want to do.

But in this globalized world, you can’t hide. All you can do is forfeit your opportunity to do your part, to make things a little better.

Yes, certain problems may be more directly “yours” than others. But in an era when we have the power to kill us all if we aren’t careful, everyone’s problems are our problems.

It takes a lot of courage to face up to that. It takes a lot of courage to wade out there and do your best anyway, even if it’s an uphill battle. Some people are already doing it. A lot more want to do it, but don’t know how to get started.

Just get started!

There’s no magic formula for how best to do it. Your best is going to be good enough. Stop thinking in terms of groups and divisions, and mine and yours, and us versus them—and join this growing global community.

 

This is the 23rd in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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