I’ve just started reading “The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama. In the first chapter, he talks about a change in how politics are being made. Before the change, people would reason which each other and seek compromise. With the change, they started to go for the jugular.
Which got me thinking: Yeah, I feel the same way. For some reason, people got more radical and absolute in their beliefs. More fanatical. Fundamental. Even here in Switzerland. But why?
We all have a growing feeling of helplessness. The flood of information that overwhelms us every day creates an illusion of “I know everything” and at the same time, our options to influence even the things at our fingertips seem to vanish. Bills are passed that make you weep because of their stupidity. A small group of people (several thousand) ruin the world economy for billions and get a bonus for it instead of 120’000 years of prison. Some art project is supported with millions of tax money but the street in front of our house keeps its holes. Companies announce billions in revenue while our bridges collapse.
So the desperation is a result of the feeling that the world is falling apart and can do nothing about it. The constant flood of useful information is fueling our own fears of insignificance.
It’s the same thing the politicians feel. When something comes up, even the worlds best expert can’t tell them anymore how to fix it. The world has become too complex to control and thanks to the many source of information we have today, we know it.
So what can we do about it?
Nothing. Accept it.
Or maybe you can stop reading newspapers and watch TV. Or at least stop watching the news casts and documentaries. Most of the information you receive this way will only make you mad or fuel your feelings of helplessness. So getting to know more doesn’t help. Focus. Get a local newspaper unless you can change things on a bigger scale. Take a hundred bucks, drive to your local do-it-yourself, buy a bag of gravel and fill the holes in your street yourself. Instead of shoveling your good money into a financial system that can ruin a medium-sized country like, say, America, search for local entrepreneurs and give your money to them. That way, you at least have a face to scream into when it’s gone. Or maybe it makes the place where you live a better one. Hollywood is already good enough.
Do you really need that 60″ LCD TC? How about taking a week off instead. To fix your house. So you smile when you return home instead of thinking about all the things that you can’t or should change.
The audacity of change.