— Elie Wiesel (via missrosemaryclaire)
dottedlinegirl said: How do you stay abreast of current events and not fall into a pit of despair? I know for every public act of hatred there are thousands of acts of love and kindness that go unremarked and unrecorded, but as someone prone to depression, it's hard to not drown in the cruelty humanity is capable of demonstrating (and, yes, has demonstrated throughout all of history). In previous times, I've chosen to simply not follow the news, but that inevitably triggers "living in a bubble" guilt. Any advice?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fall into it so much myself — the more news I take in, the harder it is not to even at the best of times. I don’t watch live news or regular TV in general (ever since 9/11), but I skim CNN.com every day and read things that percolate through the sites I follow, and get drawn down into the spiral too easily anyway. Eventually I often have to completely block out some subjects altogether (I haven’t let myself read anything about Gaza for days) or I know I’ll turn into a total wreck. And I also try hard to remember that the news mostly functions by staying turned all the way up to eleven — we hear about the single planes that crash, not the tens of thousands that take off and land safely every day — and that things aren’t always as bad as the profitable marketing of fear would have us believe. (Of course it’s also true that so much awfulness gets ignored or misreported, especially if it doesn’t serve the interests of their corporate masters to have it otherwise; still, I think if fear did not exist, the media would find it necessary to invent it.)
But at the same time, of course, I don’t want to shut myself out (as if that weren’t enough of a problem for me already) and become numb. I’m angry about inequality and corruption, I’m angry about rape culture and the othering of the powerless by the powerful, I tremble at how very powerless all of us are becoming, I’m fucking terrified about climate change (and I think if nothing else, if we don’t get our shit together on that — if it’s not already too late — then no other issue is going to matter much anyway)… and I think we generally should be scared and angry about these things, because they are powerful motivators and gawd knows we need all the motivation we can get. On the social level, I think we need to scream as loud and long as we can — but on the personal level, it’s a voice I know I can’t hold in my own head for long. The only one it ever feels like I’m affecting by the scream is myself, and only ever for the worse.
I still have some very real hope, though; our world is profoundly interconnected now, with more knowledge available to more people than probably anyone could’ve dreamed possible when I was born — hell, growing up gay in sheltered fundamentalism, I made it to my teens before I can even remember hearing about the concept of homosexuality (let alone that other people “like me” even existed), and my mind would’ve been blown more than Lovecraft on meth to know the state of our civil rights today… and I hope that I grew up in the last time when that would even be possible (at least in first-world culture). There will always be fear and loathing, and it will always have more power than it should and cause more damage than we’ll ever fully comprehend, but at least ignorance takes more work now than it used to… and I hope that more good will come from that in more ways — especially among the disenfranchised — than we can hold in our wildest dreams any more than 14-year old me could’ve dreamed of today. We may not have much power right now, but we do have knowledge and interconnection (look at us talking so easily across thousands of miles with the potential for this to be read by thousands of people; I don’t dare ever let myself forget what a human miracle that is) and I have to have hope in that. I may not have much hope, but I don’t think the hope I do have is false. And I may not believe like Anne Frank that all people are good at heart, but I believe that at least those of us who are have got the bastards outnumbered.
All best wishes to you, dear soul (and thanks so much for the ask). :)
— Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram (via devilduck)