So…shit, I dunno. The world just makes no sense to me these days. I’m still recovering from the throat infection, which isn’t helping much; I sleep more than I mean to and struggle to maintain my energy levels. This means I fret a bit about the work I’m not doing, and spend far more time than I should on the internet.
Which means I’m there when people start responding to the deaths of Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.
Which means I’m watching a major publisher and a major bookseller engage in a public relations war using writers and books as their kickball.
Which means I’m watching what happens in Ferguson, Missouri, and what’s happening in the Middle East, and I find that there’s so many things happening locally that terrify me.
Which means I’m online when my government starts engaging in yet more stupidity, claiming poor people don’t drive cars, and blithely continues to destroy the few elements of Australian culture I actually respect. Or when one of the state governments floats a bill offering compulsory voting to businesses.
I’m slightly terrified by the realisation that if I’d turned twenty under Australia’s current government, I wouldn’t be a writer sixteen years later.
Hell, I’m not entirely sure I’d still be alive.
The world scares me far more than it used to. Mostly, I think, because we the internet feeds me far more information than I used to have and couples it with a wide exposure to our culture’s desire to easy answers.
There are no easy answers anymore.
I’m not sure there ever were.
I understand the desire for easy answers, the tendency towards golden age thinking and looking for scapegoats that will simplify things. There are days when I just don’t have the energy to deal with one more complex problem and think it through from every angle.
But I understand the need for it.
I embrace complexity, ’cause that’s the only way to engage with the modern world. The acknowledgement that many things are far more complicated than they used to be, and accepting that none of the answers we’re offered are inherently right or wrong.I hold my tongue on many things, ’cause I acknowledge that I haven’t spent enough time wrapping my head around the topic to offer an informed opinion.
And that’s okay. There are people out there – smart people, well-informed people – who put energy into understanding these things. When enough of them start saying similar things, I’m willing to take it as truth. When enough of them disagree about things, I’m willing to acknowledge that said thing is really, really complicated and I need to be better informed about it.
When people talk like there are easy answers – or even that they’ve got the one true answer – I look on them with distrust (or, occasionally, write them off as utter dicks. I’m looking at you, misogynist dude-bro types mourning the rise of feminism).
There are no easy answers.
Embrace complexity. I suspect it’s the only real hope we have of surviving the next hundred years or so.