I’ve got to stop hanging around with people who think big thoughts. They lead my brain down unsettling pathways.
I’ve also got to stop reading Ecclesiastes, even if it is one of my favorite books of The Bible. It too makes me think, reflecting on society – where it is, where it is going and what it could be.
I live in my own little subset of Canadian society. I think most of us do the same wherever we are. Eat, drink, sleep, work, spend some time with family and friends. The wider world and existential ideas don’t intrude on our daily lives. We’re just trying to get by, or sometimes desperately trying to hold on.
As I ride to work on this bus on a Monday morning I can pretend that wars aren’t happening in Yemen, Sudan, Ukraine and a few other global hotspots. I can ignore inflation and civil service strikes. All I have to worry about is if the train is running. Which, given that I am in Ottawa is a constant worry.
An I my brother’s keeper? Humans have been wrestling with that question for millennia. And apparently not coming to consensus. How much responsibility do I have for foreign conflicts? What should be my role in bringing them to an end? Or should I not bother?
What have I done to make matters worse locally? What changes do I need to make to reverse that? Given societal issues, what impact can I have if I alone decide that yes, I am my brother’s keep and act accordingly?
What can I do to tackle systemic racism – much of which I believe to be unconscious. How can I address poverty? There are so many people in need. And so many questions on this Monday.
Maybe the first thing to do is take a deep breath. Relax. I can’t solve all the world’s problems by myself. Neither can you.
Maybe just pick one area to concentrate on. Is eliminating poverty or racism more important than stemming climate change?
That’s the wrong question. It isn’t that one is more important than another. It is what will I do about any of them? We don’t all have to specialize in the same thing.
It is Monday morning and the work day is about to begin. The bus is about to arrive at the train station, so I’ll stop here. Some days my thoughts are more random than others.