It probably goes without saying that the five people who bother to read this blog are more aware of national and world events than the average American. I make a point of saying American rather than Westerner because what passes for news in our country is a dismal travesty.
Even if the news in other developed countries has a leftward ideological slant, they seem to at least get a general rundown of what is happening in the world, unlike here in the U.S. We get 50% national political theater, weather, health scares or magic pill news, lots of pop culture, then a footnote of “oh yeah, by the way ” world news.
That’s for those who even bother to look at anything besides their latest Facebook and Instagram feeds.
Ignorance, the saying goes, is bliss. That may be true until the lack of knowledge bites you on the arse. And everything about our current culture is designed to do exactly that; keep us all blissfully ignorant about the state of our world.
The trick is to find out the things you need to know not to mention what is actually true (here is a good piece on that), then measure your responses accordingly. There is lots of money to be made and power to be grasped on the strength of our fears. As a result, we are bombarded with things to be worried about.
It’s all distraction and misdirection, designed to keep you a willing and eager consumer of whatever is being hocked. Not all sales pitches are pitches for things we can buy. There are those with a vested interest in your feeling inadequate, oppressed, rejected, or downtrodden. There is a concerted effort to undercut your feelings of well-being and satisfaction, no matter what they say about how fabulous you are, just the way you are.
How do you go about avoiding the traps? You do it by doing things, developing new skills, reading good books, reading God’s word, prayer, and spending time with other people. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone, to ask questions, and to even risk looking a little silly for the sake of growing in skill or knowledge. Avoid relationships with people who actively discourage you from doing hard things simply because they are hard things.
If your friends tell you your dream of being an American Idol finalist is just never going to happen, you can double check that with someone you trust, or even listen to a recording of yourself. They may be right. You may be the next Adele, but the odds are long, so be sure you aren’t fooling yourself, and be willing to pay the required dues that accompany big dreams. In other words, embrace the hard work our culture actively discourages.
The friend who actively discourages reasonable and progressive spiritual and physical development because it interferes with fun? Look askance at him or her, because they are trying to get you take your eye off the prize, to give in to the distractions. Fun has its place, but our world is set up to make us think that everything, even our work, should always be enjoyed and to discard anything that we don’t enjoy, no matter ow beneficial. That’s a trap.
Set goals, be persistent, and avoid this culture’s distractions.