Growing the Light [DISC/ramble/philosophy]

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Growing the Light [DISC/ramble/philosophy]

Post by Guest on Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:06 pm

Something that's been churning in my head all morning. May not make sense.

I am, like many others, reeling today from the news out of Charleston.

It feels like another dizzying punch on top of so many others -- I'm losing my balance and my equilibrium.

I feel like the reason we can't get our feet under us is that every problem is personal. The nature of news and information in the modern world is this: there are 320 million people in the US. We know a few hundred of those each. And every day, our personal circle expands to include whoever is at the heart of the biggest tragedy. There are photographs all over the internet. There are interviews. We hurt with an echo of their pain, and we feel frustrated fury towards those who don't care.

But the reality is that the families of those people will heal, will find a way to move on, because people do. Because it's what happens in reaction to tragedy.

But we won't be there with them. When we look back at them, they will always be the raw, bloodied people they are today. And then in a week or 3 weeks or a month, something else will happen, and it will also be horrible, and tragic, and personal, even though it's not personal.

320 million people in the US were not killed in a horrific church shooting today. Many of them have their own tragedies. Many of them are doing wonderfully, gloriously GOOD things. Valuable things. Helpful things.

Many of them are making the world bright and beautiful, right now, even at exactly the same moment as a community is reeling in pain, and we are reeling along with them.

How do we avoid getting so caught in the pain that we can't see the light?

I don't know. I believe there is more light than dark in the world. But the darkness is so damnably compelling that we sit in it and bleed rather than looking outside.

I don't think there's a way to kill the dark other than growing the light. I wish we were more focused on that.

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Re: Growing the Light [DISC/ramble/philosophy]

Post by Dan_Brodribb on Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:53 pm

Beautifully written.

It sounds like you're feeling shaken in the wake of the news from Charleston and I think that's a normal response for anyone to have.

One of the things I find seductive about despair and helplessness is that it tells me I'm powerless. And if I'm powerless I can't be expected to do anything,take responsibility, or face the things in my life that need facing.

Someone once told me the opposite of despair is faith. For some people though, I think that can be equally scary. Partly I think it's the wanting to know that the thing we're having faith in is the 'right thing.' Or there's a religious connotation that people associate with naivenesss, superstition, or blind following. Plus faith requires trust and when there are bad things going on and things are letting you down, trust is not an easy thing.

Sometimes I think the faith itself is more important than the place you find it or what you have faith in.

I also think that when things like this happen, its natural to go through a grieving process even if we weren't directly involved. As humans, we feel the pain of others. That's a good thing because it keeps us connected, but it can build up in harmful ways if we don't give it attention.

What do you think?

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Re: Growing the Light [DISC/ramble/philosophy]

Post by The Wisp on Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:35 pm

I once heard a quote which I'll paraphrase (it was originally in the context of sports fabdom, but it generalizes well): it's easy to be a pessimist and to despair, because if you're correct you can say "I told you so" and if you're wrong you can say "well, I'm pleasantly surprised" and enjoy the good news with everybody  else. An optimist, on the other hand, gets no extra benefit from good news but is mocked if they're wrong. To be an optimist actually is more courageous.

I don't follow the news much, particularly of individual events (rather than statistics and trends). The reason I dont is thst our brains weren't designed to think about individual tradegies in the context of hundreds of millions. Watching the news, you'd think children are kidnapped all the time when in fact it is vanishingly rare. You'd think there was a wave of murder and violence with all the news of mass shootings and police shootings and riots, when actually violent crime in the US is the lowest it has been in over two generations. You'd think the world is more wartorn than ever with Syria and ISIS and Ukraine, when actually war deaths are proportionately the lowest they've been in human history (and possibly even prehistory).

This isn't to say that these things aren't tragedies, but that there's a lot of positivity that gets ignored if you follow the news, and the stuff that is covered causes disproportionate emotional pain in me.
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Re: Growing the Light [DISC/ramble/philosophy]

Post by reboot on Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:16 pm

Since my job is focused on dealing with human tragedy on a macro and micro scale, I have had to deal with these feelings a lot. My only solution is that although I cannot stop terrible events from occurring, I can do everything in my power to make the lives of those I interact with and in my community better. The efforts can be big or small, in donations, time or just helping someone.
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