Today I am focusing on what can be done and not, as I have for the past twenty-six days, on what has happened, what is happening, and what may happen. I've never been able to play Emperor's New Clothes, to pretend and to deny when bad events are occurring. However, the immense amount of bad news and fear has had me paralyzed by well-informed futility syndrome.
I first heard this term while watching Bill Moyers (Moyers & Co.) on PBS in April 2013. His guest was environmental activist Sandra Steingraber. During the course of their conversation, Steingraber said,
"Well-informed futility is an idea that psychologists hit upon in the 1960s, specifically to explain why the people watching television news about the Vietnam War came to feel more and more futile about it. Whereas people who watched less television felt less futile. So it seemed like a paradox, right? The more informed you are, you think of knowledge as power.
But in fact, there is a way in which knowledge can be incapacitating. And so the psychologists went further and now have applied this to the environmental crisis and point out to us that whenever there's a problem that seems big and overwhelming, climate change would be one, and at the same time, it's not apparent that your own actions have any meaningful agency to solve that problem, you're filled with such a sense of despair or guilt or rage that it becomes unbearable.
And so my response to that is basically what the book Raising Elijah is all about. So I try to take well-informed futility as my starting point and let people know that there is a way out of this. But because we can't -- I can't honestly tell you that the problem is less bad than it is, the response has to be that we scale up our actions. So the problem is huge. And so our actions have to be huge as well."
There is no time to waste, no time to be paralyzed with fear. So today I propose we each take one step forward. One way we all can make a difference and do something proactive is by becoming an organ donor. Perhaps some people view this as unpleasant, maybe even morbid. I think people dying because they need an organ transplant and there are no organs available is far more lamentable.
I am an organ donor. I urge you to become an organ donor too. Here is a link to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, about OPTN (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network). To quote from this web page,
119,642 people need a lifesaving organ transplant (total waiting list candidates). Of those, 77,102 are active waiting list candidates. As of 10:25 p.m. today.
What a prescient reminder. I hope it prompts more people to sign up to become organ donors when they renew their driver's licenses. It's such a simple process!ReplyDelete