Ok, less gaming related today.
Two interesting stories to mention. First, that Republicans are feeling targeted on college campuses (NYTimes) and second, that the CIA is complaining that a foreign government had a direct hand in a democratic election (all over but this one from WSJ).
Reading both, it feels like the Onion no longer has any relevant material to write about and that I need to pay double attention to see if an article is real or a joke.
My friends and family can certainly attest that I am far from a bleeding heart when it comes to society. I am a firm believer that people have way more control over their lives than they think they do, and that the wide majority of actions and reactions are based on their direct input. I would say that I swing left as compared to my elder generation, center when it comes to mine, and right when it comes to the younger one.
That’s not to say that the system isn’t rigged against them. You need the chips to play poker, and the collateral to call a bluff. Very few people on this planet have that. I am more than aware that I live in the upper echelons of my country and as compared to the world wealth, I’m in the 0.10%. Minimum wage in Canada would put that person at 3% globally, which is just about our country’s poverty line.
Money is not a cycle, it doesn’t trickle down. Its distribution curve goes only one way. It’s entirely reasonable that someone who tries hard, puts in the hours and effort and loses their job because of factors outside their control would be resentful when they lose their job and their boss gets a raise. (Reminds me a bit of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where all middle managers are sent away on a space ship to colonize Earth).
I get that when someone gets a bum deal, they start thinking about Maslow’s pyramid. If you have no personal safety, or for those you care for, then it is not possible to be empathetic to others. People feel isolated and alone. They make rash decisions that are shortsighted and emotional. I can assure you that I’ve been in that boat, longer than I care to admit. Managing change takes energy, and energy is scarce when you’re just scraping by.
Society then breaks into smaller groups, where sameness is key and threats are diminished. Individuality is washed away, replaced with group-think. Uniqueness, the underlying quality of each of us, is squashed. 2 people become 3, become 5, become 100. Mob mentality, where a sense of accountability is lost, but belonging is strengthened. You end up with Occupy Wall Street, just a rash cry for attention without any goals.
People are not rational by default. We are emotional creatures that need stability, caring and purpose. It is remarkable how easy it is to lose all 3, for the fall is quick is from up high, and we forget the people that surround us when it happens.
It’s just unfortunate that empathy is so difficult to achieve unless someone experiences the same events as another. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes has never been more apt.
I read this back in December, and looking back on it, I still think it’s a great and thoughtful post. Being a rugged individual (or trying to live up to those standards) doesn’t mean discarding empathy and compassion for those around us.
This is one of the few times I’ve read something and wholeheartedly agreed with it.
Thanks for that. I’m glad it resonated.