Without That, You Can Wind Up In A Very Dark Place
How we collectively react to what happened in 2017 -- all of it -- will determine what the future will look like. Looking around, it seems like a lot of the social pressure pushes us toward inactivity in a lot of subtle ways. It can even sound like activism. ("Why bother giving a SANDWICH to A HOMELESS CHILD when the very act of BUYING THAT SANDWICH supports CAPITALISM?") You can wind up insisting on a standard that says anything other than a total overthrow of the system is futile virtue signaling.
For example, I always wanted to share my story above with other people outside the church group, but felt weirdly embarrassed doing it, like a celebrity going, "I'm so stressed out about this school for girls I just started in one of the poorest countries in Africa. I don't know if I'm changing enough lives!" Some of you probably have that reaction to me telling the story just now. ("Did you just call three struggling human beings your 'emotional reward' a few paragraphs ago? Isn't this whole article an excuse for you to boast about what a great person you are? Probably to cover for horrific crimes you commit behind closed doors?")
But I'll admit: I partly do it because of how it makes me feel, because I have found that when it comes to coping mechanisms, this blows everything else out of the water. And damn, are coping mechanisms important right now. When you see that creeping fire swallowing up everything that is good in the world, you either want to give up or lash out -- either through violence or indulging in confusing performance art and getting into a weird arms race with trolls.
Shia LaBeoufActually, what did happen to Shia LaBeouf?
Yes, it's still important to do the boring stuff, to go to city council meetings and circulate petitions to stop putting starfish bait on beaches or whatever is causing this weird problem, and to persist through years of frustrating inaction (the council is in the pocket of Big Starfish Bait). But it's also important to go out to the beach once in a while, pick up a starfish yourself, look it in its metaphorical non-Cronenbergian eyes, and hurl it magnificently into the ocean. For it, and for you.
That starfish story pales in comparison to what the rest of those "Chicken Soup For The Soul" books have. Check one out today.
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