Okay, Internet, I’m reaching something of a boiling point concerning our modern social networks. Earlier this evening I saw and was immediately somewhat disgusted by an attempt to show support for our military gone awry due to the infamous “Like” button. To save you the trouble of looking for this image, allow me to describe it: a casket with an American flag draped over it alone on the tarmac, the only witness; the bereaved widow leaning against it in tears.
I do give credit to the page moderator for posting this content in an effort to maintain awareness of the sacrifices made daily by our dedicated, woefully-underpaid, armed services, but to ask someone to look at that image and show support by hitting the “Like” button, I think, is a contradiction in ideology that that speaks volumes of the public Apathy Neurosis sweeping the nation. There are a few simple truths I have noticed about levels of attentiveness in contemporary society. The first is that the most vocal among us, unfortunately, tend to be the most obnoxious, opinionated, stubborn, and totally-out-to-lunch genetic dead-ends to ever come up with the wrong idea. Take the recent gun-control hysteria, for example.
Why are people afraid of guns? Answer: Because they’re noisy, they explode, and when used in a certain way they kill things. People are especially afraid of so-called assault weapons because they do all of the above considerably faster. (This by the way is similar to why some people labor under the delusion that computers are smart. Speed isn’t everything, people.) An so, out of fear, people tend to have the reflexive reaction that guns are scary, (“COLD PRICKLIES!” to quote my good friend Lady Imbrium), and seek to take them away from those of us who know better.
Just to set the record straight: I am a gun-owner. (legally purchased, background checks, yadda, yadda, yadda), I own a .12 gauge shotgun. It has a bore about the size of an American nickel and they make hollow-point slugs for this thing. A few rounds from that could drop an angry bear, (and not just the small yellow ones that eat honey), but no one ever seems afraid of shotguns for some strange reason, it’s ALL about the (cold prickly!) assault weapons. Please, America, aim your neurotic, unfounded fears at the right thing.
Okay, take a breather and step back a few paragraphs.
Another simple truth about humanity, is that we are, as a species, a very selfish bunch. We don’t tend to involve ourselves in things that have no direct benefit for us. This in turn has led to a pandemic of motivational speakers and self-help books designed to either get the Western Bourgeoisie off its obscenely rich ass and help the rest of the world OR alleviate the guilt and depression that gradually build up in the subconscious as your lifestyle’s distractions fail to fully hide the fact that you’re a self-indulgent waste of air and a drain on the global economy. (Working-class America, this is not aimed at you.)
The Internet has made this whole problem even worse. Thanks to comment bars and the “Like” button it is now unprecedentedly easy to put your two cents into any conversation in the industrialized world. So, if someone posts an image of a group of religious pilgrims purchasing food for starving children, you need only “Like” or re-post the photo to feel like you’ve gotten involved and viola! no guilt. Most Star Wars (TM) fans I know tend to agree that the first prequel was horrible, but there is one line that pops into my head now as extremely poignant here-and-now, in this galaxy: “The biggest problem in this universe is that nobody helps each other.” Now, most people’s immediate reaction to such a statement is “Okay, Arcticgnome, what have you done lately?” The answer is, regrettably, not much. I’m between jobs and damn-near broke right now, I can’t afford grand gestures of philanthropy. So, I do what I can, which is set down in black and white the chief culprit behind the proto-apocalyptic nightmare we call “nowadays” which is the above-mentioned Apathy Neurosis: a deep-seated need to feel like we care and do something about the pain and suffering of others without having to miss Sports Center.
I do not know the fallen soldier or the widow from the picture I mentioned at the beginning of this post, but I do know soldiers…and I know widows. I doesn’t take much to do the right thing. When you see someone in pain, remember that the knowledge that they are loved is the greatest gift you can give, however you choose to do so. You, like me, may not be in a monetary or physical position to give aid, but you have to care. You have to develop those habits of giving positive energy before you will develop a habit of applying positive effort.
The last truth I’ve learned about life is that it is short, and you take nothing with you when you leave. I caution you all not to exceed your means: you help no one by becoming a charity case yourself, but I would encourage you to make certain before you shuffle off your mortal coil that what you’ve left behind was worth the effort.