Jummah Reflection: Solutions, Please.
Jummah Mubarak, Shabbat Shalom & TGIF.
I’ve been reflecting lately on how much exposure I’ve had to humanity thanks to social media. In the past 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to ‘meet’ a more diverse pool of people than any of my ancestors could ever dream of meeting. I’ve been exposed to an enormous range of ideas and philosophies, and seen some of the best and worst of humanity.
Recently I’ve been reflecting on whether or not this unfettered exposure to the human race through digital mediums has value. Originally, I thought ‘the more the better!’ As a believer in pluralism, I assumed that the more people I could come into contact with, the more opportunities I’d have for learning, creating and participating in important activities in the world.
But I was wrong, wasn’t I?
Because despite the diversity of the human race’s ethnicities, cultures, religions and political philosophies – there are certain things we all have in common. Some are good, of course, and some are very, very bad. And rather than sharpening one another and vetting ideas with these amazing tools, we’ve fallen into bigger and more voracious tribes.
Slowly, painstakingly, I am watching nuance and relativity being destroyed through public discourse that places more value on signal boosting to like-minded camps than in pursuing truths with intellectual fearlessness.
In fact, it is FEAR I see driving most of the public discourse. Fear that comes, in large part, from the incessant drumbeat of rhetoric that is pounded out each day by people who have literally made a career out of pointing out The Problems.
We are almost now in a state of complete societal helplessness. Our first and last response to anything awful we see is to complain, ad nauseam, on the internet. That’s it.
Pointing out problems is the easy part, friends. At a certain point, pointing out problems (and in fact, the same problems over and over again) becomes a way to avoid having to DO anything about them.
We need solutions. Real solutions. Not just a lot of good ideas. Not pep talks, or inspirational memes. Not more affirmation and recognition of our own pain and discomfort.
What are Solutions?
Solutions are ideas that have been vetted, fact-checked, supported with research, tested and found feasible, and had real, sustainable funding/resources gathered to ensure their success. I am looking for people who have solutions. Those are my people. Those are the people I want to work with for the rest of my life.
The Problems are self-evident for anyone who is aware, and those who refuse to see/acknowledge the problems are useless at this point. Their life will be full of hard lessons, and it’s not my job (or yours) to try to teach them.
I’m not talking about “earth-shattering solutions that will revolutionize the planet and bring about peace for all mankind”. No, that’s not how it works. It’s never been how it works. What we need are people working on their solutions where they are, with what they have, in real life. People that are laser-focused on solving things that can. be. solved. right where they are.
There are no cookie-cutter universal solutions to the embedded tribalism(s) that plague our species…everything has to be developed and applied in ways that are relevant. We need custom solutions.
You can’t fight big, bad ideas. Solutions are not about converting other people or trying to make assholes feel sorry for being assholes. You can’t solve racism, sexism, or any other -ism. Those things have been part of humanity since before history.
But you CAN find ways to empower individuals despite the existence of these things. You can create structural tools that help minimize and marginalize their effects. You can make a world of difference in the lives of the individuals that you know and see every day. You can create a community of people that are committed to the highest ideals of your heart and spend what little time you have on this planet making things better for everyone (whether they deserve it or not–that’s really not your call.)
Trying to change the world doesn’t work. We change ourselves, then we empower others around us to change. If we’re lucky, we may only help a handful of people level up in our lifetimes.
But if we ALL committed to doing just this? Imagine that.
I’m trimming the fat. I’m finding My People. I’m looking for real solutions that I can support – spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and financially. Am I looking for you?