By Samir Shukla
Our interactions, social and, especially, political, seem to have become a giant compost pile, something we must constantly stir and layer properly, to keep it from stinking and sinking further into divisiveness and atrophy.
We toss food scraps and leftovers into compost bins and piles, so after a while some rich organic material will result and can be used to help bring nutrients back into scarred lands on Earth.
What we also need is more nutrient-rich social compost, to help bring logic and reason back into our scorched political divisions and strained relations (cultural, generational). The prime nutrients needed here are simple: truth and common sense.
A lovely recent morning promised an even lovelier day, the sun was mellow, the breeze danced with the trees, and the temperature was cool, but comfy. I finished the last bit of my morning chai and headed out the door for the day’s work.
While driving to work, a political talking head on a radio station was raising alarms about something. I can’t remember what it was about because I was trying to dodge a speeding jerk zig zagging through traffic, almost sideswiping me, twice. I honked my horn, let out some spicy words and drove on.
Anyway, getting back to the conversation on the radio, the gist of it was that we must do such and such by a certain time soon or all hell is going to break loose. Maybe he was right, maybe he was wrong.
Alarmists, those alarm raisers, who yell wolf, especially without sufficient or logical reason, often by exaggerating or elevating perceived dangers or impending calamities, are mushrooming. They are becoming influencers.
This alarmism, sometimes about the most benign maladies, has the effect of scaring and unhinging even usually reasonable folks.
Our lovely social media and general cynicism are a caustic mix further snowballing this beast. Much of this is not about actual problems, but personal anxieties, hidden prejudices, self serving agendas and preconceptions. Everyone has those conditions. Many people consciously work to reduce those, while others amplify them.
The weather, political madness, wars, viruses, unneighborly neighbors, social deconstruction, all sink into the feeling, “What’s going to happen to the world?” This sometimes becomes a common refrain in conversations when they veer toward political or social discussions.
There’s much dissonance in our lives. Yet, our little blue globe dazzles. A cleansing rain or disinfecting sunlight always arrives, telling us things aren’t that bad.
Alarmism feeds on perceived demons and biases, making folks feel the world is gloomier than it really is. Yeah, the world has problems, but then again, pick any decade out of any century in the past and that era’s problems seemed overwhelming to those who lived through it, but they overcame them, and lives went on.
The reality is that many social ills have been cured or reduced over the years.
Medical advances, economic opportunities, ease of travel and communications, among so many things, are better than they were in the past.
Despite confronting constant negativity, people’s lives are better, albeit economically diverse.
Cynicism, negativity, anxieties, and the ilk are self-defeating. They are the walls blocking solutions. Everything becomes a darkened theater when we dwell upon differences and hazy perceptions, rather than sit down and work to solve problems. Create blueprints of commonalities.
There’s a simple solution. Just stir your social compost piles occasionally, toss your positive humanness into it. Speak the truth, spread common sense and commonalities. Rich mindsets, laden with nutrients will emerge. Spread that far and wide.