Thursday, July 3, 2008

Shallow vs. deep thoughts

Sorry folks about the radio silence here at Properly Salted. I'm not sure if it's the freaky weather, the job search or what but my head has been way more in the outernet lately. My life offline hasn't even been that exciting which makes it that much more deplorable. But anyway, here's a big thought for you:

I was recently reading this article about unemployment and came across a quote that rang so completely true with me I had to share it. In the context of getting laid off, the author affirms his belief in the concept that "nothing happens until it happens to you." Read that quote again and really think about it. Because I've been thinking recently about the big world issues facing us these days and how I'm so nearly completely estranged from all of them. I know I should be more concerned about so many things but at the risk of sounding totally self-absorbed (which is not my unique problem), I just don't think about it all that often. But that alone concerns me. It seems so foolishly American to be largely unbothered about issues just because I haven't been an eye witness to their by-products. Sure, my gas costs just as much as yours (maybe more) and snow in April is by no means normal but what does it take to really shake me up?

I think I have a hard time because I vacillate between feeling empowered to change through small actions, supporting the right types of people and businesses and speaking up ...and then feeling totally powerless because of the sheer scale of these problems. I don't have the time to lead marches nor the voice to give a battle cry when I'm so busy most days that my seven minutes of reading takes place in the bathroom. But is that the ultimate in apathy? Is that the epitome of selfishness? (Not the bathroom part- the "too busy" part...)

And then I start to actually feel guilty. Guilty because when I have an extra fifteen minutes I'd rather be blogging than discussing the inescapable issues that refuse to solve themselves. And I know so little in reality about these issues that even attempting to discuss them seems disingenuous. Blogging doesn't really seem to have an adverse effect on my life or anyone else's and you could certainly argue that the sense of community is kind of nice. So I guess maybe, part of it is I'm wondering: is doing no harm (but no specific good either) and having an awareness of these problems, better, worse or neutral in comparison with doing nothing at all? Or more succinctly: just how bad of a person am I if I don't really want to talk about the war/the presidential campaign/famine/natural disasters/strife/economic turmoil/etc., etc., etc.?

Is it enough that I'm concerned or is that not sufficient? Where's the measuring stick for me to gauge where I fall on the scale of self-involved, insulated, asshole? Any thoughts? Part of me believes that bloggers, like entertainers, allow people to escape their own lives for a few minutes to immerse themselves in another world or mindset. And that alone is of some value in times of difficulty. But I'm no Bob Hope on tour with the USO. I'm just Salty.

I need to think about this.

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