Dean.
Sahra
32

I’m not sure whether pacifists have more fun, but I think that more of a pacifist CAN have fun.

To explain what I mean by that, a few preparatory remarks. First, as long as we are conscious, the will is always acting, whether it be the will to fight or the will to submit or the will to something else. Action of will, or “belief” as it’s commonly known, is the elemental force that guides thought, and because thought is the raw stuff that our minds use to form our emotional landscapes, it also shapes our feelings.

If all that is true (a big if, but one I’m comfortable with), then a pacifist (someone whose will is turned to submission) is acting as fully as possible to accept the situation they’re in. The effort of pacifism is often the effort of NOT acting. And what I’ve found is that, when I don’t act, I’m able to appreciate more fully the things that are happening around me without any input on my part. I’m able to engage in new and exciting ways with previously irritating, boring, or confusing phenomena and situations. I’m open, and it’s a completely new experience in every moment because I’m bringing as little of my past as possible with me into it. Suddenly, staring at the ground is fun. Examining the bathroom at work for possible improvements is fun. Feeling the effort of my legs when I’m biking is fun. Even arguing with people who have hateful beliefs is fun! Within reason, of course. Even I have my limits.

To your other points — every system of communication degrades in proportion to the thoughtlessness with which it is used. FB, twitter, Medium, LinkedIn, etc — they’re all fine, and they’re all useful tools. But nothing good happens until and unless someone is actually there to listen. And with corporations trying so hard, and through so many clever and well-intentioned human vessels, to mimic the legitimate calls for our attention that we want to respond to, it’s of course predictable and reasonable that most people are disengaged most of the time. No one IS listening, and thank god for that. Imagine the other stuff they would hear if they were listening closely enough to hear us.

My question to you, as a veteran of non-profit work who is also an engaged and articulate empath (and I admit at the asking of it that it’s unfair and exposes my awful degree of privilege), is: how am I supposed to do anything? I try to take care of my loved ones, but my feeble attempts to actually join organized efforts to help always just exhaust me and lead me to recoil into privacy. I want to do more, but then I just…don’t. What in the hell?

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