Today I’m going to write about something that’s on my mind that is not about Japanese at all. I suppose it could be tangentially, but let’s just say it’s not.
Like many in my country, I’ve been inundated lately with bad news. I don’t mean bad news in the sense that it’s bad from a qualitative standpoint – some of it’s actually been pretty good. But I mean it’s bad from a quality standpoint – the news is just bad. It’s badly sourced, badly presented, badly received – just everything about it is bad.
And thinking about it, I came to realize that the news is bad because that’s what sells. People have decided, for whatever reason, to try to stir up fear, to try to stoke fear, anger, separation – so many different negative things that can lead to many horrible consequences. For me, personally, it’s been depression and anxiety. Severe and crippling, even. When seeing so much negativity in the world right now, one could ask oneself “why even bother?”
And then I saw the sunset.
See, I moved into a new apartment here in Austin. It’s got a much farther view than my previous apartment – I can see for miles – and my living room window points right at the sunset (at least this time of year). And I realized the sun goes down, and the sun comes up. In fact, it happens with such regularity we completely ignore the fact that the sun goes down, and the sun comes up. It’s one of those things we just kind of take for granted.
But the sun goes down, and then the sun comes up again.
But if you listen to the news, they’ll try to make you worry that the sun won’t come up again. And if that fails, they’ll settle for the next best thing – making you worry that *your* sun won’t come up again. Or maybe that you won’t ever see the sun come up again. It’s all about fear – fear of the future, fear of repeating traumatic experiences from the past, anything to prevent you from looking at how things are right now, and perhaps even thinking that right now things aren’t actually all that bad.
How much of the political (or even other) news you hear actually affects you? Oh, I’m sure for some of you, it affects you more directly than others, but in most cases, you would have no idea that some of the things are happening if you weren’t told about it in excruciating detail. When you’re looking at a pretty sunset, does it matter what your favorite – or least favorite – politician is (or isn’t) doing? Perhaps it shouldn’t. There’s a sunset in front of you and the news can wait.
I have my opinions about what’s happening politically – who doesn’t, these days. I lean a bit right, so perhaps my opinions are a bit out of the cultural mainstream (as opposed to the general mainstream, which is an entirely different animal), but at the end of the day, that really doesn’t matter. Some of you might read that and then infer a whole bunch of different things about me. That’s wrong and stupid – particularly if you’ve never bothered to talk to me or get to know me. But that’s because people have told you things about me and the groups that I am associated with – either voluntarily or involuntarily. But it’s all fear. Fear is a basic human instinct. It’s sometimes a warranted basic human instinct. And it destroys.
I have my theories as to why this is. I think the root of it is something like man having a natural need for religion, and since we have marginalized – in some cases for good reason, and in some cases or not so good reason – the traditional religions of our culture, we had to replace it with something, and we chose a secular religion that is just as damaging as – and fulfills the need for – the religions that we have, for better or for worse – decided we don’t need any more. But my theories don’t really matter. What matters is the fear that is permeating and crippling my country right now.
I, for one, refuse to participate anymore.
No more fear. There are sunsets, and sunrises, to watch, and I’m not going to be tricked into missing them anymore by a media who has no interest in my well being in any way, shape, or form, except that I keep giving them clicks and attention. It’s past time to say “enough is enough”.
Those who want to continue to live in a world of fear, hatred, and evil can, if they want. Let the dead bury the dead.