What if there are no simple solutions to the problems that have faced us for years?
What if part of the answer was us getting off our backside, becoming involved & making a difference rather than standing in crowds, waving our placards, shouting our slogans & then going home to our cosy world without having lifted a finger to change anything?
Simple answers are neat, clean & tidy. They make life easier to understand & if we understand things, we feel more secure.
Difficult problems with no simple solutions are threatening & make us feel insecure, helpless, guilty, overwhelmed or perhaps apathetic because they are so big that we can seemingly do nothing to change anything.
But, think of the big movements that changed society, opinions, opportunities, equalities: most of those started with one person holding the conviction that they could change things, followed by the determination & commitment to make it happen.
They got involved with what they believed, not only in word but in action.
How often do we see protest groups that spring up, protest & then disappear without a trace?
How often do we see individuals who protest against these complex problems yet do nothing to help rectify it?
Why does this happen?
Perhaps because it easy to let people know what we don’t like & it is difficult to find a way of tackling it: perhaps it is because we can’t be bothered to get involved in solving the issue because it requires commitment in time & effort & money.
As someone who has suffered from attacks of depressive illness over the past 20 years or so, my life has been filled with the advice & good intentions of others which then melted away when help was needed, especially in the long-term. How did that make me feel? Angry; rejected; of little importance; invisible; hurt & more. Offering help but then taking no action did more damage than offering no help in the first instance.
If we are going to protest, we must be prepared to be part of the solution we offer.
If we protest about homelessness, abortion, mental illness provision etc, would’t it be so much more effective if we looked to provide accommodation for those without accommodation, support for mothers whose babies we are telling them to keep, financial support to professionals & organisations that seek to provide help & healing to the those struggling with what goes on in their own head?
Seeing solutions can be easy. Telling others about the need to find solutions can be easy. But unless we combine those activities with personal action & involvement, we have no integrity & in my opinion, we are worse than those we criticise.
Social media makes it all-too-easy to be an armchair warrior; it also makes it all-too-easy to be seen as hypocrites & cause more problems than we solve.
There may be no simple solutions to complex problems or simple answers to complex moral & social problems, but there is opportunity for us to become involved & start to make a difference. An oak tree starts out life as an acorn; a mighty river starts out life as a raindrop from the sky. Social change starts with a person who is committed & who, above all, demonstrates what they believe through what they do.
The dog in the photo above was abandoned. It could have stayed that way except there were people prepared to set up a shelter, take in the strays, feed them, exercise them & rehouse them. A conviction became an idea which became a reality.
Wouldn’t it be great if doing rather than just saying became the mark of society today & in the future?
But that in itself is a complex issue to which there are no simple solutions, just opportunities to bring about change one step at a time.
Take care until next time …