Social Justice and Online Zen

Just about every day, I see idealistic, well-meaning people online proposing solutions to social problems. Many of those solutions reflect utopian, siloed thinking, requiring highly unrealistic, comprehensive overhauls to systems that have been in place for a long time.

It kind of breaks my heart. I know people want positive change and improvement. And I’m not so cynical to think that their ideas are always about online clout chasing and virtue signalling; though, there does seem to be a massive amount of that. But I do think the world is an extremely complex, interdependent web of interests, necessities, and dependencies. It’s usually not possible to accomplish anything even marginally helpful without some degree of compromise. Unfortunately, compromise is messy and doesn’t look cool in an online rant.

My advice, for what it’s worth, is that if you really care about something, go about changing it for the better in unromantic, stable increments. Adopt more of the “community organizer” model and less of the Marvel Superhero model. And learn to get excited about those powerful, local, mature, solid improvements instead of the grand cinematic ones that are unworkable long term and probably impossible to even undertake from the beginning. You might not see a total solution in your lifetime, but you might do way more good than a showboat looking for acclaim and overnight change.

I’m not trying to be depressing, overly critical, or defeatist, just realistic and hopeful that someone, somewhere is coming up with more than just romantic, utopian solutions. I also try, when I can, to walk this walk. But I’m just as limited in time, reach, and resources as the next person.

In the meantime, I’ve decided not to argue with people online about their reactive social nostrums. That doesn’t help, either. I’m maintaining as much of a zen calm about things as I can these days. This post is as far as I go.


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