General Question

Soubresaut's avatar

Do you ever get sick of all the talk?

Asked by Soubresaut (13714points) March 6th, 2011

I’m in class, and the discussion turns to the world and all it’s problems. It finally ends, either by the clock, or by a mutual “well, that sucks. Oh well.”

I’m walking down a street in my neighborhood, hearing snipets of conversations as I pass by people. “Yes, that’s what’s wrong, that’s it exactly. Oh well.”

My parents are raising me, telling me of all the problems in the world, and the broken parts in the systems. Then when I get to the age to go out in all of that, it’s “why aren’t you just playing the game? Just play the game. It could be worse. Oh well.”

What’s the point of free speech if all it ever is, is speech? Are people just excercising their right to say things are wrong?

I feel almost like the ability to speak our minds is the biggest joke there is. Don’t get me wrong. The freedom is great. But how much does it really matter? Everyone saying anything they can, and everything kind of blurs and muddies together.
It’s not truly free speech, there are still limitations on it. Protests have to get permits or you wind up in jail—which seems rather odd, no? “Fighting” words, and things that lead to “imminent violence” aren’t allowed.
But at the same time—(in the US, I’m mostly talking about the US, I guess, since I live here) it’s almost like the illegality is what makes things powerful. When flag burning was illegal, people used it frequently as a political protest. When it was decided that it was protected symbolic speech, the practice burnt up into smoke and dissipated, because who cared anymore.

It takes serious unity from serious frustration, like the turmoil (terrible that it’s happening, that it has to happen) in Egypt and Libya, for change to really start to emerge. And even though those people don’t have it yet, they’re going to make it happen.

It’s like our ability to speak our minds just lets off the steam that fuels us? Like the best thing a government can do is say, “say whatever you want” and then let all the conflicting and unsynchronized and unfunded views of the world drown each other out?

I’m not saying oppression is better. Just that it seems only the oppressed really rise up and fight for change, however small.

All this power I’m supposed to be able to have because I’m “free”, and I can’t help but feel utterly powerless. That while I’m allowed to think things are wrong, even say things are wrong, I can’t really do much about it.

Am I way off here?

I can’t help but thinking about the irony of this question…

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20 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

Don’t like it? Change it. You can make a difference in your sphere of control. For example: If you think China is talking over the world by sending cheap goods here, don’t buy them. If you feel the enviroment is falling apart, recycle or use less fuel. Do what you can. Don’t expect to change the entire world. Take care of your own house and try to influence, but not force, others.
The revolutions taking place in the Africa were started by individuals that had had enough talk. They influenced their friends and their friends and…. They made a difference. (Let’s hope they don’t blow it.)
Don’t be discouraged. Get busy and fix what you can fix.

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incendiary_dan's avatar

I guess for me it stopped being just talk a while ago. I follow the news because I understand how world events effect me and one another. And I have a decent understand of why things are the way they are. And most importantly, I’m doing what @worriedguy said and working on changing what’s in my area of influence. I think if you can work all this into some sort of holistic system of life and understanding, it can help.

And I hear you on the sort of illusory “free speech”. Seems pretty inconsequential when complex systems of influence, deception, and thought control exist using mass media. And don’t get me started on the role public school plays in that.

Zaku's avatar

Many adults tend to get into stuck, cynical, defeated patterns of thought that they consider true. Often these are complaining patterns, that give them some sort of fuel that keeps the pattern repeating. Particularly when they have people who will give them agreement.

As you noticed yourself at the end of your question, that observation itself can become the same sort of thing – a fixed complaint that does nothing but get you stuck.

Once you recognize such a pattern, though, you can notice that it’s stuck and choose to give it up.

And yes, there are many very stuck and ironic situations in politics, and many distractions that won’t make any difference. Fortunately, there are also some effective things going on, and smart humanitarian people trying to do things that will be as effective as possible.

Coloma's avatar

Wailing over the woes of the world is a favorite past time of complaining personalities.
It also becomes a habit, and, worst of all, some peeps are just walking grievances looking for a cause.

Bottom line, it’s all negative and one should avoid the whine loop whenever possible.

It’s simple…do what you can, as you can, in the ways you can. That’s it.

Be alert to making your own multiple small gestures and realize you ARE doing your part every time you smile at someone, show respect and courtesy, help someone in some way, don’t litter, don’t harm others, make any efforts to have less impact on your environment.

People seem to always lean towards doom & gloom and it’s easy to recruit a bus full of whiners if you whine enough. lol

Jeez….put the same energy into what is going RIGHT with yourself and the world.

BE the change you wish to see in the world. :-)

listener's avatar

Talk is cheap…It doesn’t matter who’s in a debate, the world’s greatest mind’s did not solve the world problems. I can talk all i want about hunger in Africa but i will never eliminate their hunger.

john65pennington's avatar

Dancing Mind, the only true statement I can give you is welcome to the real world that surrounds us. There are those that have and those that have not. Its always been that way and always will. Yes, we have the basics of free speech and that is a lot more than one can say about other countries. Voicing your opinion in some countries, will end your life in a hurry.

I have never wanted to live anywhere else, other than America. I have visited many countries and honestly, we should kiss the ground we live on. America may not have the very best of everything, but it sure the hell beats what else is out there.

I say this, accept what you hear at face value and not as fact, until you have grounds to prove otherwise.

We will always be a nation of complainers. This is what free speech is all about. We may not change things that need to be changed, but like you said, it’s the little people that have the big voices to change things.

They always have and always will.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@john65pennington said: “There are those that have and those that have not. Its always been that way and always will.”

Fortunately, that is false. Just another thing to work towards. :)

Ladymia69's avatar

@john65pennington It is utterly boring when people browbeat you and tell you that you should be worshiping the american ground you live on. That’s just hogwash. Sorry.

Ladymia69's avatar

@DancingMind I understand your frustration. They tell us we have the right to bitch if we don’t like the way things are, but what does it accomplish? My problem is that even though we have some basic rights (or so we are told over and over almost until we are brainwashed to believe it is true), they are overshadowed by the selling of the lie of the american dream to each and every person, to keep us as pacified as possible. “If you do what we did, you can live like this!”

Our freedoms are being trampled on every day. For instance, in my state of South Carolina, our new governor Nikki Haley, trying to “balance the budget”, is cutting all funding for arts education in schools. Therefore, she is snatching the right from every child to have a balanced education, to enliven their right brains so that they don’t grow up lopsided; art education is essential to building important parts of our personalities and lives. This, to me, is a complete infringement on a basic right.

ETpro's avatar

I get discouraged at times too listening to hateful, doomsday talk. But I do not despair, and neither should you. The American people are a resilient lot. We survived the Civil War. We made it through WWI and then the Great Depression. Just as we were beginning to feel good about our chances, as employment was bouncing back from the depths of the depression, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and dragged us into WWII. I just figure, if we made it through all that, this too shall pass.

seazen's avatar

You had me at sick of all the talk.

Pandora's avatar

I know for me it isn’t the talking that I’m sick of but rather the inaction of many of the things mentioned. I use to think talk was cheap but its not even that. When I was growing up Russia, and Cuba were our biggest threats. Now they are no longer. However there is always some country that is nipping at our heels.
You just start to wonder, what is the point in it all. It seems the more things change the more they always seem to stay the same. The best we can do is try to shape the world around us the best we can.

augustlan's avatar

Disillusionment is bound to strike any thinking person at some time, and often more than once. It’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? For God’s sake, stay away from studying philosophy for a while… it will crush you. The good news is, it usually doesn’t last. You figure out a way to do what you can to change things, and it usually starts in your own backyard, as others have mentioned.

Generally though, we do have to talk about these things first. Action usually comes after ideas and talk. When you feel exhausted by the talk, take a mental break. Then come back, refreshed and with a renewed sense of what you can do. Then do it!

Great question, by the way.

thecaretaker's avatar

Sounds like you really understand the world, wish I could give out words of encouragement but yeah what you said is the truth; they deflower then devour.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t because we must continue to speak truth to power. I encourage you to read Gayatri Spivak’s Can the Subaltern Speak?.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

I get sick of the same old complaints when no one is able to draw a larger truth out of them. There are people who can make separate complaints about a dozen politicians, a dozen bills to be passed, and a dozen bogus lawsuits without once coming to the conclusion that it’s the entire system.

Then on the other hand, there are people who care about the problems of the world, and try to demonstrate them to others. Invariably, someone always says, “So what are you going to to about it?” But some people have more ability to write a book or film a documentary than to fix these problems, and that must fall to someone else once the word is out.

Now I’m wondering if flag-burning was legalized for just that reason, so it wouldn’t be as effective.

thecaretaker's avatar

I think our system of doing things is destined to change at some point, its obvious to everyone everywhere that change is going to happen when one or more resources that we have gotten so used to disappears, unfortunately that means dark times ahead

incendiary_dan's avatar

@hobbitsubculture I don’t think you were wondering that much, since I think we both watched this clip together.

flutherother's avatar

Freedom to speak your mind is a bit like the air you breathe, you would really miss it if it wasn’t there.

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