Actively Passive: Should I Be Listening?

Uncle Doc J

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that is, Do I need to worry about wars half-a-world away? How do they affect me (other than 'changing oil- & gas- & other product-prices)?

What's worse; I'm afraid I'll be another who forms-&-spreads an opinion but -who has absolutely no intention of participating at all. Is it even possible to live a full life without worrying about war?

I think it is. I think about Buddhist monks in war-torn countries: they just meditate & eat & sleep etc. If the WMDs erupt in their midst, 'worrying about it' won't stop the fire they didn't start!
 

Tigoci

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Well in any case, for me, this topic is an interest of mine; directly affecting me or not.
Can you live a life without caring much about war? Most definitely, but it gives you a very shallow world view. All history of any country, was heavily influenced by war, one way or another. To understand the larger context and put history into today's context, you have to care.

I think it is. I think about Buddhist monks in war-torn countries: they just meditate & eat & sleep etc.
I'm not so sure that is always the case. Many countries is in war, yet a large majority of the population continues to life live normally. No civilian population want to be living in a war zone, and have all interests in getting back to normal life.
 

saastil

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The US is in the horrible situation it is in now because of people like you. OF COURSE you have to think about the wars that your country and your tax dollars fund. Maybe you should pay better attention to who you vote for (if you vote at all) and actually work towards eradicating wars caused/continued by the US, and then you won't actually have to worry about them or stick your head in the sand anymore. War does not only cause changes in oil prices, it causes the death of millions of people and the destruction of billions of dollars worth of infrastructure around the world.
 
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@saastil Now that is a very strong opinion, isn't it? Sure, you have to care but not everyone can be bothered by it. Every human being has his own life and it is not really possible to analyse a long (and boring) report and then based on that and weighing the performance of the candidate vote. Also, many operations are off-the-books with no written record so you can't really tell where your money is going. And after all, selfishness is a natural part of humans - we feed ourselves first before looking at others.
 

xTinx

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This wouldn't be the right venue to argue about the virtue of selfishness, but don't you think even the thoughts we share at forums and news sites can be read or seen by people who may have a stake or direct influence in a group involved in a war? It doesn't hurt to care, now does it? Only people who find themselves unable to contribute to society will spare some time to think in such a selfish way. I'm just banking on the idea that somehow, someway, our own simple opinions can change outcomes if not the lives of individuals, even without us knowing it. Besides, when you're in a situation others are in, I'm sure you'd stop thinking of yourself.
 
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You know, there are two kinds of people. Actually three, we can further divide the second type into further two types.
The first type is the ones who care. The ones who actually go out and help the people who are suffering. The REAL philanthropists. They might not have a big bang account but they do have a big heart. But these kinds of people are rare. I'm willing to wager that none of us here on this forum are real philanthropists. Why? Because we are sitting here on our PCs and TALKING about the issues. We're not DOING anything. When I say philanthropists I mean people like Sal Khan, who are actually doing their best to help the others. Khan Academy is a great example: world class education totally free and accessible for everyone.

We fall into the second type of people. The ones who don't give a shit. I like to divide this group into two further groups - people who accept that they don't care. This is again a minority. Because most people like to think they are helping those in need. It makes them feel good about themselves. Most of us are probably in this group. We like to think that by debating here, we are helping those in need. In reality we are not.
 

xTinx

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You know, there are two kinds of people. Actually three, we can further divide the second type into further two types.
The first type is the ones who care. The ones who actually go out and help the people who are suffering. The REAL philanthropists. They might not have a big bang account but they do have a big heart. But these kinds of people are rare. I'm willing to wager that none of us here on this forum are real philanthropists. Why? Because we are sitting here on our PCs and TALKING about the issues. We're not DOING anything. When I say philanthropists I mean people like Sal Khan, who are actually doing their best to help the others. Khan Academy is a great example: world class education totally free and accessible for everyone.

We fall into the second type of people. The ones who don't give a shit. I like to divide this group into two further groups - people who accept that they don't care. This is again a minority. Because most people like to think they are helping those in need. It makes them feel good about themselves. Most of us are probably in this group. We like to think that by debating here, we are helping those in need. In reality we are not.
On the contrary, only selfish people would think so narrow-mindedly. But if selfishness is your virtue then so be it. Besides, it's not like everyone here just comments at forums. Some people are going to school to someday contribute to society while some have jobs so they can feed their family. Part of their income, especially for those who work, are regularly taken by the government in the form of taxes. Those taxes, in turn, are used to fund various government projects and institutions: infrastructures, research and development, military training, weapons, what have you. So basically, those of my ilk are still contributing one way or another. And we do, most sincerely care, that's why we bother to give our opinions. That's our income being spent there, you know. If you claim to NOT really care in every sense of the word, then there's only one clear route: get out of forums and news sites and don't read world affairs at all. In other words, isolate yourself. Be a hermit. Be hedonistic. Whatever. But people pretend to be cool because they "accept their selfishness." In reality, though, they're just frustrated because they can't do anything worth broadcasting. Thus, the negative vibes.
 
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On the contrary, only selfish people would think so narrow-mindedly. But if selfishness is your virtue then so be it. Besides, it's not like everyone here just comments at forums. Some people are going to school to someday contribute to society while some have jobs so they can feed their family. Part of their income, especially for those who work, are regularly taken by the government in the form of taxes. Those taxes, in turn, are used to fund various government projects and institutions: infrastructures, research and development, military training, weapons, what have you. So basically, those of my ilk are still contributing one way or another. And we do, most sincerely care, that's why we give your opinions. If you claim to NOT really care in every sense of the word, then there's only one clear route: get out of forums, news sites, don't read world affairs at all. In other words, isolate yourself. But people pretend to be cool because they "accept their selfishness." In reality, though, they're just frustrated because they can't do anything. Thus, the negative vibes.
I am certainly not trying to be 'cool' by accepting my selfishness. I am merely stating the truth. I hang around the forums and true to contribute because I DO care. Deep in my heart, there is a little part of me who wished he could do something. But I can't. Because I have a life.

I am pretty sure my rants come off as confusing and ... wierd, I guess? This is because they are. I am not a psychology expert, I am just trying to make sense of what I perceive, from the behaviour and actions of the people around me. There is a little part of every human being that genuinely cares but it's oppressed by the part that is unable to care.
 

Goblinforhire

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It's very human to care, to watch TV and say 'Oh, that's so sad that people are dying in Sudan' and then go back to eating dinner. Most people on this forum are well informed and have opinions about what's happening beyond their borders, and this sounds passive but what can we really do to change it?
We can protest and we can vent and tweet but in the end we do not hold the guns, we do not make the laws, we cannot sway the hooded man who is killing innocent hostages on camera. Some of us will live our whole lives without experiencing conflict (war, coups or uprisings), should we feel guilty about this?
The truth is, the word is a messed up place and we should just do what we can for whomever we can and just try to be more empathetic.
 
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It's very human to care, to watch TV and say 'Oh, that's so sad that people are dying in Sudan' and then go back to eating dinner. Most people on this forum are well informed and have opinions about what's happening beyond their borders, and this sounds passive but what can we really do to change it?
We can protest and we can vent and tweet but in the end we do not hold the guns, we do not make the laws, we cannot sway the hooded man who is killing innocent hostages on camera. Some of us will live our whole lives without experiencing conflict (war, coups or uprisings), should we feel guilty about this?
The truth is, the word is a messed up place and we should just do what we can for whomever we can and just try to be more empathetic.
That is EXACTLY what I was trying to say! The only way we can really do anything is by going out there into the field with the gun, but we are unwilling to do that.
 

Uncle Doc J

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This wouldn't be the right venue to argue about the virtue of selfishness, but don't you think even the thoughts we share at forums and news sites can be read or seen by people who may have a stake or direct influence in a group involved in a war? It doesn't hurt to care, now does it? Only people who find themselves unable to contribute to society will spare some time to think in such a selfish way. I'm just banking on the idea that somehow, someway, our own simple opinions can change outcomes if not the lives of individuals, even without us knowing it. Besides, when you're in a situation others are in, I'm sure you'd stop thinking of yourself.
No matter how much I try not to focus on myself, myself is still there---SCREAMING for attention. "Does it hurt to care?" Yes; if I care for others it takes away from caring for myself.

If any leaders are looking in on this discussion, I hope that's what I help lead them to deduce---that their constituents only care about their own safety (and that you can get support for foreign war-efforts by informing possible supporters that you are defending THEIR OWN SAFETY by eliminating threats while they're still far away.

On the contrary, only selfish people would think so narrow-mindedly. But if selfishness is your virtue then so be it. Besides, it's not like everyone here just comments at forums. Some people are going to school to someday contribute to society while some have jobs so they can feed their family. Part of their income, especially for those who work, are regularly taken by the government in the form of taxes. Those taxes, in turn, are used to fund various government projects and institutions: infrastructures, research and development, military training, weapons, what have you. So basically, those of my ilk are still contributing one way or another. And we do, most sincerely care, that's why we bother to give our opinions. That's our income being spent there, you know. If you claim to NOT really care in every sense of the word, then there's only one clear route: get out of forums and news sites and don't read world affairs at all. In other words, isolate yourself. Be a hermit. Be hedonistic. Whatever. But people pretend to be cool because they "accept their selfishness." In reality, though, they're just frustrated because they can't do anything worth broadcasting. Thus, the negative vibes.
I think something is getting lost in translation---something between 'caring about the problem' & 'taking it as OUR problem to solve.' I think when he says "really care," he means the latter ... if we really cared, we would be more active than 'just discussing it in a forum.'
 

xTinx

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No matter how much I try not to focus on myself, myself is still there---SCREAMING for attention. "Does it hurt to care?" Yes; if I care for others it takes away from caring for myself.

If any leaders are looking in on this discussion, I hope that's what I help lead them to deduce---that their constituents only care about their own safety (and that you can get support for foreign war-efforts by informing possible supporters that you are defending THEIR OWN SAFETY by eliminating threats while they're still far away.


I think something is getting lost in translation---something between 'caring about the problem' & 'taking it as OUR problem to solve.' I think when he says "really care," he means the latter ... if we really cared, we would be more active than 'just discussing it in a forum.'
I know why you sound bitter. Perhaps because that's what you guys do - just discussing in forums? What you fail to take into account is that NOT all people who comment at forums are doing nothing. Some people work so that the government gets the right amount of taxes that will enable them to fund military operations. Some people are mothers, fathers, children, students, proletariats, bourgeoisie, NGO members, volunteers, what have you. NOT all of us can be part of the military and die for the nation, right? If so, who'll feed the children? Who'll pay for your home mortgage? Moreover, who'll pay the taxes? How about those people sick in the hospital and who aren't well enough to join the military? The least they can do is comment at forums, right? Some people love to care, some people like to be involved through forums and news sites. And of course... some people would like to condemn themselves for being useless. That's about it.
 
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Goblinforhire

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That is EXACTLY what I was trying to say! The only way we can really do anything is by going out there into the field with the gun, but we are unwilling to do that.
You misunderstood me, I'm not advocating that we should all arm ourselves to fight. I was trying to convey how helpless most of us feel when we see what's happening out there.
I can't even imagine what it's like to head towards gunshots like those in the armed forces do, they are much braver people than I am.
 

xTinx

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That is EXACTLY what I was trying to say! The only way we can really do anything is by going out there into the field with the gun, but we are unwilling to do that.
Tell that to the mothers and fathers who work day in and day out just so their children would have something to eat. Tell that to the students who study their butt off just so they could one day give their family the life they deserve. So, if we're all "brave" and "patriotic," if all of us are soldiers who fight wars left and right, will you be able to go on fighting without people's taxes - much less their knowledge of weapon creation? Besides, why are you still here in the forum? Go out there and enlist rather than rant yourself away. You're only adding up to your own frustrations. Everyone is fighting a different kind of battle. When you don't even know what their battles are, do you think you have the right to judge them or tell them they're not doing anything? Nope.
 

starshine

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No, your attitude is completely selfish. That's okay. Some people truly believe this brings them happiness, or they just are not able to have an all-compassing vision that goes further than their own needs. To be frank, I could care less about you, but since you ask, here's the thing:

If you were an ermit, a hobo, some homeless person on the street, I'd say sure, worry about your own problems, you have enough as it is! Besides, it's not like in those situations, you would elect some assholes and then pay tax money to pay the salary of politicians who make it their missions to fuck up and destabilize so many other countries! It's not like, if you were homeless, you would pay tax money to invest in wars and weapons! It's not like, if you were an ermit, you'd buy tons of products that would destroy the planet (either because of their lack of ethics or because of their lack of sustainibility).

If you live within society, you impact society. Because of the way society is running now, by being your kind of neutral, you're just lending weight to the snowball of Bad Things Happening.

You can act like the people who just talk about things on forums just "pretend to care" but don't have much impact. I'd probably agree. I don't really like the fact that I don't have the impact I want. I tell myself, oh, but at least I'm not from the States, so my tax money does not go to useless wars or attempts to destabilize poor country just to my politicians can then abuse the situation. But I'm from Canada and even if our country is (or was) better (yay, people of my country don't have to worry about healthcare!), we have the Harper business, and there's only so much I can do even for my own region.

I can protest in the street, I can write articles and essays, I can take part in a strike, I can have as many conversations as possible to see if people could be open-minded and care enough to pay attention to what the people who care about the future of the country and of other countries are screaming in the street and explaining more quietly, but with the force of more details, on paper and online.

Because it needs to be both -- the people who go and protest and who organize projects can DO stuff all they want, the majority of the people stays silent and uninterested in the fate of the world, and then the politicians point at those people who will never budge (unless it's something that they care about very personally), and they use those quiet and uninvolved people to say, "Yeah, so you have a minority of people who do things, and then you have another group of people who send us letters and petitions and talk bad about our laws, but look at this mass of people there, they just want the subject to go away so they can focus on entertaining themselves."

The silent majority.

People like you.

People who just don't care, and who are proud of it, and who do have a stupid weight and I wish you didn't.

End of the story:

Everybody has an impact -- if you don't want to orientate the direction of yours yourself, someone else will be happy to do it for you.
 
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