Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Call to Positive Action: The Burden of Being a Part of an Overly Cynical Generation

No one could have missed the explosion of Kony 2012 this month, and certainly no one could have missed the controversy it created resulting in many a heated argument had over smoking keyboards and furrowed brows. The popular consensus, as it is with all such debates, is that the cynics must be of infinitely superior thought and all those who were naively inspired to be a part of change in their generation must be simple minded and use words such as “like” and “totally” as every second word in their everyday speech.
            I do not want to get into the Kony 2012 debate. I am sure you can guess what side I am on, but I am not likely to change your mind any more than you could change mine. I want to discuss a different issue.
            As of this week I am sure that it will be all over Facebook, Twitter, etc, that Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children and the face of the Kony 2012 viral video, was seen acting irrationally, running around in his underwear and screaming, as reported by CNN. There were hearsay reports courtesy of TMZ saying that at one point he was completely naked and seen to be masturbating in public.
            Well, isn’t this just perfect timing for all the critics to pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on a job well done for spotting the "crazy."
            When I read this report, I was shocked – and then not so much. We live in such a dark and aggressive world where every part of a person is picked apart and analyzed, critiqued, and degraded. How many celebrities have the media driven to the edge? How many politicians? Humanitarians? Now with social networking and the internet keeping everyone connected into everyone’s business one hundred percent of the time, this aggression has permeated all aspects of life.
            People should question things. People should investigate, and remodel, and recreate to find the best solution to every problem - that is our right and duty as citizens of the modern world. However, the opposition rarely plays clean anymore. When the critics came out to have their say about Kony 2012, they did not focus on creating a better solution; they focused on tearing apart what existed, callously beating down the people involved. I blame them for the alleged mental breakdown of Jason Russell and all those that have been destroyed before him by similar means.
            We know so much about everyone and everything that it would be logical to assume that we would feel more connected as people, but I would argue for just the opposite effect.  I think that our analytical qualities have been heightened to the extent that we focus on the facts and trivia of a person, but are deficient in empathy and compassion for the true soul beneath the surface of the person. And in reference to organizations and causes created to help real needs in our world, we as a society are more concerned with finding the faults in the humans behind these organizations than focusing on the problems themselves and finding the best solution together.
            What we have seen with the backlash and bickering that has ensued from the Kony 2012 video is a sad depiction of humanity, and unfortunately it is not the first example nor will it be the last. If you are a regular naysayer, I want to ask you what you are doing with all your pessimism? Who have you helped today and who are you going to help tomorrow? To the go-getters out there, I ask you the same questions. Whatever your disposition in life is, you must do more than just attack those who hold disparate views from your own. You must question new ideas and potential solutions, but I hope that you will be inspired to do this proactively rather than hostilely and help our generation to create a better legacy than the one we are currently leaving behind.