Global Knowledge, Local Action
This weekend, I went hiking, and at one point, I found myself looking down into the shallow part of a pond. Lots of little fish were swimming around, darting here and there rather quickly. Then a curious thought suddenly popped into my mind. It was silly, but perhaps you can relate to it too. I thought,
“These fish don’t know about Donald Trump.”
I stood there and let myself expand on this silly thought. These fish don’t know anything about our news cycles. As human beings, our actions obviously affect them in some ways, but. . . They don’t know about the threat of nuclear war. They don’t know about the anguish of DACA ending. They don’t know about white supremacy or Islamophobia or Democratic rollback or unchecked, out-of-control, capitalistic greed. Quite literally, they don’t know any of these things.
And this is perhaps the silliest part: I suddenly felt a little envy. I wondered what it would be like not to know these things.
Of course, I don’t really wish not to know. Ignorance may be bliss for a while, but solidarity calls to us. It is crucial to know each other’s pain and be present to one another. So I am also grateful to know.
But those fish invited me to think well beyond my initial, silly thought. I began to ponder this too: Our vast amounts of connectivity are really quite new in human history, and likely, they are changing our biology and human experience. Social media, for instance, allows us to express solidarity and empathy in times of crisis quite quickly and on a large scale.
And at the same time in this era — the first time in all of human history — we are exposed to knowing pain, violence, and struggle around the entire globe. Our brains have probably not fully evolved and adapted yet to having this much awareness of pain. Throughout most of human history, we only knew what was local.
But in this era, we do know, and it will change us, including our biology and human experience.
So in light of that, here are some questions for reflection:
How is this changing you?
How are you caring for yourself in this?
How does your global knowledge lead to local advocacy and care for others?