In response to an article on Slashdot, about how too many smart people are chasing too many dumb ideas, a number of commentators digitally posted their shrugs and the hoots they did not give…
We’re not leading the way to change the world, indeed we may not all be able to muster such energy when still trying to sort out our own… it’s another thing altogether to say “why the hell should we try?” Some commentators even went so far as to suggest the “big problems” should not concern smart people.
One that stood out to me was the following:
Why the HELL would you go out of your way to broadly sweep a whole section of population under “they don’t deserve our good graces?” Are you actually in the 1% we’ve been squabbling with this past year-or-so?
Oh hang on, wait – there’s also the widening 20-80 divide:
In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2010, the top 1% of households owned 35.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% had 53.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 89%, leaving only 11% of the wealth for the bottom 80%
I added my 2 cents to the thread as follows. Now to see if I get that penny for the thought.
I’d expect nothing less from a 1st world culture in general that says “do what YOU want to do,” “find YOUR dream,” “YOU’re the most important to YOU.” Reading the comments on this thread so far, it is evident that we’d rather remain blissfully ignorant and shift the burden elsewhere.
It’s gruelling work to sort out the world’s problems, and with no one-right-answer, fraught with the possibility of failure, as some commenters here can attest: one commenter demonstrates the core attitudinal problem – it takes effort to connect with someone from a different social background, with different concerns, priorities and fears for continued livelihood, to try and understand the problem, and formulate some answer, ANY answer, but at least to give a damn and TRY; some of us just aren’t up to the task (though we can’t necessarily be blamed for that much so long as we’re not in denial). It’s much easier to cater to the quick-wins, the plugged-in smart-phone-wielding, TV-watching, internet-addicted, money-squandering market and keep them happy. Fast money, cheap glory.
The first commenters demonstate the very sentiment under fire, that rather than recognizing that there are much more worthwhile questions to ponder than how to make the next best cheap app on the most expensive phones to date, or how to make their privileged lives even more privileged, they prefer to suggest that Nnaemeka is the whiny my-problems-aren’t-solved person. Thing is, privileged netizen, YOUR problems ARE being solved.
Thankfully I too know the kind of people “O(‘_’)O_Bush” points out, those who are toiling away, and even setting up locally successful ventures, to make communities, environments and the Environment better; though it’s either an uneven distribution, in terms of attention gained vs actual work being done and achievements being made. I suspect we all know some such people. But we’d rather comment on the “celebrities” than focus on the great things happening on our own street.
We’ve riled as the 99% against the 1% and the sheer injustice of it all, but we forget that we’re still part of the upper 20% that are still quite plumply sitting on another lowly 80%. We are the 20%, and we are unashamed.