The world in which we live. Why is there so much injustice and yet so little of it is touching me? I don’t feel as if I’ve been especially adept at manipulating my life to avoid it. I certainly have my advantages–middle class, white, college educated, male, American. But, I could have just as easily slipped off into trailerparkland like so many people I knew from my high school. I could have crashed and burned for good after college when I was trying to see which one I could ruin faster, my liver or my credit.
I seem to have escaped any number of layoffs at places I worked, and I don’t necessarily think that the work I did was any more relEt than the work of those laid off. I’ve escaped bankruptcy, though I came very close twice to declaring it and going home to live with Mom and Dad.
It almost feels like I am being intentionally kept away from so much misery. When I go out and seek to help others who don’t have it so good, even then, there is this bubble, this shield, this sense of being kept away from it. Sometimes, it feels like God is helping me, other times it feels like more sinister powers are keeping me from being exposed to what most humans are experiencing, so that I will continue to be a good little member of the economy and play along with perpetuating the status quo.
Wouldn’t it break your heart if you were to learn that something about your lifestyle was causing millions elsewhere to suffer and die? Or, would you, like so many others, continue to believe that the misery of others is of little or no consequence to your own lifestyle?
The problem isn’t so much about the rich getting richer off of a system that can’t sustain itself. The real problem is that there are enough of us living comfortably enough and happily enough to believe that we are benefiting from the system, rather than getting screwed by it. As long as there are enough people who are well enough off, there are enough voices to silence anyone who is peaking behind the curtain that would expose how the majority of the world lives.
The number one site when you google “injustice worldwide” is a video game where you can pretend to be a super hero fighting the kind of injustice that shows up in stories about superheroes. In other words, you really don’t need to worry about real injustice happening when there is fun to be had.
And, how do we really start to think about worldwide poverty and injustice all of the time? When we read statistics about billions suffering, but look out our window and see everyone more or less prospering, we can dismiss statistics as being mere statistics, or assume that billions suffer because they have chosen not to have governments and economic systems like ours. If we go looking for the faces and voices of those who suffer, we can start to feel like we are on the receiving end of the most manipulative ads for our charitable donations. We really aren’t connecting with the rest of the world anymore.
This is the problem. We are happily isolated. Most of the time, that is, except when we aren’t. The very act of being more isolated in our homes and not out exploring even our own neighborhoods has turned us into being suspicious of our own next-door neighbors.
I can’t speak for other people, but I have routinely returned to trying to keep myself more conscious and informed about how most people in the world are living, and it’s like a force of nature that pulls me back into simply existing in my middle class world, surrounded by the entertainment, the food, the gadgets, etc. Years go by, and then I remember that I really do want to be on this earth to do more than just exist.