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young Saionji and Touga

Do you guys ever

worry about big social/political/cultural/environmental problems you have very nearly absolutely no control over? Things like, children growing up with horrible parenting, the erosion of diversity in language and culture, the end of the world thanks to global warming?

I've always been one of those people with an aversion to change (it's a miracle that I'm somehow a political liberal), and I've always worried about things in the world basically beyond my control, many of which seem trivial or stupid to worry about to other people. There are little things I can do (turn out all my lights and take the bus, or what have you; or volunteerism for some things), but in the grand scheme of things there's very little I can do. So I want to know if you guys have any methods for just getting these kinds of things off your mind?

If I get really busy or wrapped up in stuff going on in my own life, where I have more control, sometimes that helps me stop thinking about these things... and other times it's almost like I worry about these things instead so that I don't have to think about the things that I can do something about. Like right now, I'm scrambling trying to get another job in time for October on top of my grad school applications, but rather than push these wider world worries out of my head, I keep falling back on them and it's just compounding this apocalyptic vibe going on in my head.

Anyway. Part of it's just that I'm in a mood. But. If you have any experience in this, pointers would be appreciated. =)


I'm embarrassed to admit that I've been ludicrously content, even with the world in the state it's in. I've been wrapped up in my own problems. But this semester, I'm teaching a book called "Waiting for the Barbarians," and it has changed everything. I don't sleep quite the same anymore. I'm kind of loosely haunted by the knowledge that not only am I not doing anything big and powerful-- I probably WOULDN'T do anything big or powerful if it would risk my life or family. That's not who I would like to say I am, but I think it is who I am. I told my students today, "If I had to choose between protecting my six-year-old or doing something that would eventually make the world a better place for her, I don't know what I'd pick." But I do know. At least 90% of the time, I choose to protect her. I use arguments like "she's six" to shield her from even age appropriate knowledge of suffering.

In short, I've recently joined the ranks of those struggling with these problems. But a colleague of mine said something that gave me some peace: he said, "So you drive a Prius... what's that doing to help the Sudan?" and then he laughed and said, "Nothing. But you're not helping the Sudan anyway. So drive a Prius. Do what you can, not what you can't." I think people like you and I hope me are haunted by the knowledge of the things we probably could do, if we took giant risks, but that we don't; the brave paths we leave unfollowed. At least that's bothering me. But what he was saying is that the small things you can do in your life ARE worthwhile-- it's just a different kind of worthy. So. I probably didn't help, actually... but you aren't alone! :)
Nothing to be embarrassed about... would that more people could be as happy! In fact that's one of the things I worry about, that people aren't happy enough, or not as happy as they used (?) to be. What a silly, self-defeating thing to worry about!

I like the "do what you can, not what you can't" mantra... I just wish I could forget about the "can't" part. >.<

And thank you, of course, for your supporting words and always helping me put things in perspective. =)
I think I may be worse than you.

I often look around myself at the commonplace things in our lives (like clean, running water coming out of my faucet in a house that's standing and air conditioned), and I think to myself "this can't last much longer before it all falls apart..."

I'm serious. I have this horrible feeling in my gut that I'm going to witness the end of civilization... or at least some major survival-of-the-fittest shit.

Does this make my hyper-paranoid? Perhaps. But someone who thought the Titanic MIGHT sink was probably considered paranoid/unreasonable too.
I don't know, but I know that you're not alone. I try to comfort myself with the fact that people have for hundreds and even thousands of years thought that the end of the world would be within in their lifetime, or that some aspect of civilization was completely eroding for good right then... and at least in the first situation, they have never been right, and in the second situation, they've probably been wrong many more times than they've been right.

The other, more morbid way I comfort myself is that I figure I'll be dead before any of the really serious shit hits the fan. >.>
I get really, really worried about global warming and I just feel so out of control. Like, the temperatures here this summer have been ridiculous. And they're only going to get worse each year. And it's all because we're depleting the ozone layer with car/truck exhaust, factories, the very A/C we use to combat the heat, etc. And in order to bring about an end to that, it would require the concerted efforts, agreements, and decisions of insane amounts of people and companies globally, and... it's just not going to happen. We are stuck on this path. We are fucking up the world for future generations and it's too late to stop it. It's just impossible. That really, REALLY scares me and all I want to do is run away and I can't. Ugh.

I don't think the true downfall will come during our lifetimes... but we're on track for it, and I wish more people would recognize that before they make some of their wasteful, lazy decisions.

I do think it might be part of an OCD/anxiety disorder worrying thing, how much it bothers me. I'm able to let it go, but sometimes, it really concerns me. :(
I know. And last winter was ridiculously cold across the US, and in Korea the weather patterns have been all out of whack as well. But this is always the problem with environmental issues--since so often we can't immediately feel the repercussions, people, especially politicians with re-election time-lines on their minds, can't bother with their ounce of prevention.

Yeah. I dunno. =/