February 20, 2021

Choosing not to believe in them doesn’t make them go away


The corrupting vapors of the world are impossible to ignore.

There is widespread political exploitation on both sides of the aisle. Greed seems to be elevated to the status of a virtue. Ruthless bullies are elected into high offices and celebrated as heroes. Public figures are regularly committing shamelessly immoral acts. Multibillion dollar corporations screw over customers and it has no effect on their bottom line whatsoever. Narcissistic power hungry sociopaths break the law with zero consequences.

This is our reality. But allowing the vapors to overwhelm and consume our life is not the answer. Choosing not to believe in them doesn’t make them go away either.

We have to find a way to not give nourishment to the world’s evil.

What is useful is processing those vapors through an awareness plan.

It’s a metacognitive procedure or mental recipe for perceiving and thinking about the environment around you. A lens for interacting with the world. A plugin for the human operating system.

One awareness plan we can use to cope with the crushing reality of the world is the filter of our individual role. As an example, let’s say there was high ranking public official who was crucified by the media for multiple political scandals. Shouldn’t be hard to imagine that.

Depending on your temperament, circumstance and preference, here are several awareness plans you might use in response:

As an activist, use your anger as fuel to fight back and get laws passed that create real change.

As a stoic, accept that the world is fighting an unwinnable battle and focus on your inner life instead.

As a mystic, simply let the chaos drip away like water and go tend to your own little garden.

As an optimist, find grace and harmony in places others overlook and use that energy to infect others.

As an artist, make meaningful use of the chaos by metabolizing your emotions into creations that inspire others.

As a spectator, divorce yourself from the horror and try to enjoy the freak show from a distance.

As an absurdist, surrender to the madness and revel in the sheer ridiculousness of being human and being alive right now.

As a comedian, reframe your pain into joyful moments that give people permission laugh in the face of misfortune.

Which role do you most identify with? Which role was not on the list that you might try?

Listen, there are no guarantees that any of these awareness plans will salve the pain.

But when society seems to be coming apart at the seams, and you start to believe that it’s utterly foolish to try to stop the descent into chaos, it might be worthwhile to bring a greater level of awareness to your response.

What are you still pretending not to know?

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