Saturday, 31 December 2016

Ushering in 2017

I had lots of plans for things I was going to write about my family in reference to immigration, religion, visa applications, and many other things as a reflection on 2016. But I think my first entry, about poverty, made all the points any further entries in a series would have made: people like to think in black and white. It's our nature. We like to believe we know who is a welfare cheat and who isn't, that hard work and discipline always lead directly to economic health, that the bad guys can be easily picked out of a crowd, that everything can be categorized as good or bad, that we all get what we deserve, and those of us in a position of privilege did something differently than others to get here. Etcetera.

But we're wrong. The world doesn't work that way, and training your brain to see beyond easy and intuitive connections and into reality is hard graft. Which means some of us can't be bothered. We'd rather swallow the blue pill and wake up in the world we've constructed in our mind than take the red one and have to face the reality that what's easy to accept is often a distraction from problems right in front of us. I don't need a whole series of blog posts to reiterate this point. I don't need to provide example after example, because there are examples literally everywhere, all around us. If we choose to examine them, we'll find a complex web of intersecting values that, in my opinion, actually indicates more good in the world than bad. People are mostly good, trying to do what's best, and sometimes getting it wrong.

It is tiring to retrain your brain. It is exhausting to question yourself as vigorously as you'd question an ideological opponent. But it's the moral and ethical thing to do. Even if you can only bear to do it in tiny doses at a time. I challenge you to incorporate this little exercise as part of your resolution.

That said, 2016 can get cast back into the horrible fires of hell, because it's New Year's Eve, and there's work to do. Coming soon, I review Moana. You know you're looking forward to that.

Happy 2017!