Wise words from David Cain at Raptitude, in a post titled, “Why most internet activists don’t change any minds”. I’ll have more to say about it below. Cain writes:
On Facebook I quietly unsubscribe from friends who regularly make angry issue-related posts, even if they’re right. I don’t want to be pummeled by “truth,” no matter how true it is.
I understand why they do it. I’ve done it. Ignorance — of overfishing, of puppy mills, of normalized sexism, of what vaccines can and can’t do — can be genuinely dangerous, and wanting to reduce this ignorance is understandable.
Some are able to do it carefully and diplomatically, and I have learned a lot from these people.
But most internet activists let contempt seep into the message. It becomes about making others wrong instead of trying to help them be right. Just visit virtually any issue-related message board. It’s adversarial. It’s normal to blame people for their ignorance.
Ignorance, if that’s what it really is, isn’t something people can fairly be blamed for. We don’t choose what not to grasp, what not to have been taught, what not to have understood the significance of.
Ignorance is blind to itself. When you’re trying to rectify ignorance in someone else, it’s easy to forget that you’re ignorant too, in ways you can’t know. Read full post at Raptitude.
“There is such a thing as doing too much to make your life better. Running, vegan eating, meditating, two blogs, cooking for myself… I think I overwhelmed myself and ended up just feeling like a disappointment.”
Sound familiar? I found the above quote a few months ago at a blog called “Refocus – using 100 words to change my world,” and put it aside for later comment.
This is another downside to all the wonderful information that’s available all around us, the million voices telling us how to improve our lives. Even if we granted that a lot of the advice out there is junk, there’s still a tremendous amount of helpful skills and habits you can acquire, wonderful things to experience, and books that YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST READ. Not to mention blogs that are devoted to drawing your attention to even more cool stuff.
We simply don’t have enough time or energy to experience even a fraction of what’s out there, and that can result in guilt and frustration. Living in a connected world means having to develop a new skill that doesn’t come easily to many of us: the ability to find something new, something that will enrich your life, improve your health, and make you a smarter, better, and more interesting and creative person… and then say to yourself, “This new thing is great… and I’m going to admire it for a moment as it floats on by.” Continue reading
One of the big cottonwood trees beside the Elkhorn River at Yellowbanks Wildlife Management Area, near Battle Creek, Nebraska…
“Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth, I believe. He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it. He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to its sounds that are made upon it. He ought to imagine the creatures that are there and all the faintest motions in the wind. He ought to recollect the glare of noon and all the colors of the dawn and dusk.”
—N. Scott Momaday, “The Man Made of Words”
I enjoy blogging, and I love the web, but I want to talk about a few of its downsides before getting back to this quote. I have three things in mind. Each is both a strength and a weakness of the web: Continue reading
You know the type. The kind of people who are rarely bored and rarely boring. They’re always doing something interesting, discovering something new, stumbling upon the most amazing stuff. It just seems to happen to them. But somehow, they’re good at it. They can find the unusual inside the most ordinary of circumstances. They can take something plain and transform it into something extraordinary.
“What do you mean we’re not going?” Boo and Tuxedo are nothing if not curious. Boo’s eyes appear in the banner above.
They are the curious people, ever learning and endlessly creative.
I’m not talking about the show-offs. I’m talking about the people who draw attention not to themselves but to the world they’re forever in the process of discovering. They’re not people who make you feel small in their presence, but who make you feel that the world is large and that you too could dive into it as they have.
I want to be one of those people. Do you? Continue reading