I recently read a blog post from my friend that made me think of a few things.
Whenever I hear somebody go “Well, how does what I do matter anyway?” I always think of this:
“You can’t change the world, but you can make a dent.”
(Bonus points for whoever can nail where that quote came from.)
She argues that protesting doesn’t work. I would argue differently. Mostly because the type of protesting she is describing is called eco-terrorism. It is just like any form of terrorism. It is what happens when fanaticism happens. Fanaticism is dangerous, because it produces people willing to go to any extreme to get what they want. It’s a form of selfishness more dangerous than any other and on top of that, the person (or people) have deluded themselves into a state I could conceivable diagnose as a mental disorder under the DSM.
Most of the type of protests that go on (and what she is describing doing) is non-violent protest. That’s still protesting, by the way. But that’s what a hunger strike is. That’s what a boycott is. That’s what a march is. And a lot of historic events in this country and in the world wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for non-violent protests. (Course, violent protests got change done too. The Boston Tea Party wasn’t a non-violent protest. But we wouldn’t be here, like this, without it. Though it is not the best way to go about things.) So to say that you don’t protest, you just boycott is to be completely full of it. Simply voting for a Green Party candidate when you don’t like the other choices is a form of non-violent protests. Get used to it.
Eco-terrorists are terrorists. You are a protester.
That aside, she starts talking about things you can do to protest and give yourself a better life. I thought of a few things myself. Because to me, being an objectively thinking person and looking through all the evidence for and against something and coming to your own decisions make you a better person. So here are my bits of advice:
Beware of anything that you could find in a “self-help” section of a bookstore.
Do your own research. Be wary of articles or films with a distinct, opinionated bent to them. Find things that are objective and non-opinionated. Focus on the facts and check their sources. Scientific facts should be able to be replicated in more than one study. Read things that argue the opposite of your opinion. Form your own opinions based on what is put before you. Do not let others sway you with fear tactics or charisma.
(This is one of my pet peeves.) Be equal in your treatment of harmful substances. Cigarettes are not more dangerous than alcohol or any other drug. For every one picture of lung cancer on a pack of cigarettes, there should be one of liver cirrhosis on a bottle of beer. For every one ad that shows a child with asthma due to second-hand smoke, there should be one of a mother crying over the body of her child killed by a drunk driver. For every one commercial showing a cancer patient in the hospital from smoking, there should be one showing an alcoholic in detox and all the seizures and other stuff they go through.
Most of the huge pop stars you see started out as small-town locals. The Goo Goo Dolls played in bars right here in Buffalo before they made it big. Justin Beiber was just a kid making YouTube videos when he was “discovered.” Lady Gaga performed as Stefani Germanotta (her legal name) before she became who she is, also performing in high school musicals and did audio for a children’s books. Katy Perry put out a Christian album before she hit it big (and was turned down by three other record companies.) Kelly Clarkson was a small-town girl who took a chance and auditioned for American Idol. It’s stupid to stop liking a band just because they became famous. It’s stupid to deny liking music just because it’s popular. It’s stupid to refuse to listen to something just because it’s on the radio. Listen to everything. Develop your own tastes. Listen to what you like and don’t worry what anyone else thinks of it.
Remember that some of us have a music player (regardless of what kind it is) because they don’t just want to listen to music at home. Sometimes it’s inspirational to us in the most inane of circumstances. I developed some good scenes for my stories just by listening to music while walking home. A song happened to inspire me. Some people find that it keeps them moving during their workout. Not everyone works out in their living room. Some people use nature as their gym. Some of us simply find it’s a better alternative than talking to the crazy/creepy guy that inevitable sits next to you on the bus.
Don’t you find that odd? It’s way too far for me to walk or bike to work. Owning a car is a hassle and costly (and you could argue the environmental side of it.) Public transportation is my only option. It takes me an hour on a good day to and from work on public transport. But everybody and their mother that you don’t know want to talk to you like you’re their best friend on the bus. There’s no polite way to get out of it. Even if they see you wearing headphones, they just go on like there’s nothing there. Sometimes, the only polite thing to do is smile, nod, and turn up the volume.
(I read on the bus and it happens. What part about my nose in a book means I want to talk to you about your parole violations?)
I love my friends. She had some good points. I just wish that people would look objectively at things before they dive into them. Instead, they let themselves get swayed by books and films deliberately trying to mislead you and by charismatic leaders at seminars. There is too much stupid in the world.