it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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Lead, follow, or get out of the way

Dear Internets:

coffeeem said it recently, but it deserves saying again.

The appropriate response to outrage over injustice is not, "Why are you surprised by that?" (With implied scorn for the other's naivete.) A pose of facile cynicism may be a comforting way to express your defense mechanisms, but outrage =/= surprise, and by conflating the two in an attempt to make your neighbors feel awkward and unhip, you are revealing far more about yourself than you are about them.

Outrage is useful, people. Outrage is what gets things done. Outrage is the thing that gets people off their asses to create change.

Telling people who are outraged that their naivete is mockable is the moral equivalent of telling a teenager with a desire to become an artist that they're better off getting a secretarial job than trying for a scholarship, and they should plan for disappointment. Of course they're going to be disappointed. Life is about disappointment.

Living life well is also about doing something about that disappointment. And trying to stop people from making the world better makes us into people who suck.

I understand that it's been a rough few years, and a lot of us are up to our necks in defense mechanisms. And I understand that sometimes it's more comfortable to assume that things can't be changed. But the answer is not to shoot down the people who are making an attempt.

The answer is to go eat a brownie, and then lie down with a cool towel until the apathy passes. And if you can't pitch in to help, that's okay.

But stop telling that kid she'll never even get into art school.
Tags: learned helplessness

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