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silverfly's avatar

War, corruption, debt, economic collapse, world protests: how can I cope?

Asked by silverfly (4055points) October 3rd, 2011

It’s been several months now since I took it upon myself to learn more about United States economics and politics (partly thanks to Ron Paul’s announcement to run for president again). Unfortunately, the more I learn, the worse I feel and I find it difficult to realize my place within this system. Clearly I have little control, times are difficult and I fear that they’ll become worse as our dollar loses its value, as we persist fighting wars overseas, and as we increase the size of our government.

I struggle with wanting to learn more because I do feel good about knowing the facts and staying informed, but the more I learn, the less I know and the worse I feel. I don’t want to stop learning so how can I find a balance between learning, keeping an open mind, and staying positive?

I need some sort of outlet for the information – conversations, writing, art – I’m certainly open to more suggestions. My mind is so wrapped up in these issues now that it’s hard to know how I should react to the new information. Can any of you relate? What has helped you? How do you read headlines and not become totally consumed by their content?

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18 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve felt like this at points and all I can say is take a look around you and see the good things in life. Go for a walk and look for things that are going right. It might be time to stop reading the newspaper for a while and stop watching the news.

Blackberry's avatar

This is just my philosophy and opinion, but I think at one point, one has to take a break from learning about these things because they seem to be melancholy in nature.

It seems to be almost a fact that we are a cog in the wheel that can’t do much except standby and watch as we’re turned by the “elite”. Sorry to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but sometimes I feel money and power is what is necessary to make any “real” change, and even then, you have to be in agreement with the majority to do anything of value. All the rest is very slow change that will happen simply because things always progress.

So, it is depressing, our state of affairs, and we can keep studying it, but one also has to take a break so as to not fall into a cynical state of hopelessness.

TexasDude's avatar

Aside from more efficient killing technology, I’d say the world is a lot more peachy keen these days than it has ever been. (In before Dan comes and posts lots of articles to prove me wrong, lol). For example, I’d much rather be alive now than in 1918, or during the Hundred Years War, or during the Reign of Terror, and so on.

If that doesn’t help, just repeat the mantra: “It’s all crazy, it’s all false, it’s all a dream, it’s alright!”

CWOTUS's avatar

Stop watching the news. Seriously. I’m not saying “bury your head in the sand”, and I’m not saying “don’t learn about current events”. But definitely stop watching television network “news” – of all kinds. The networks like to show train wrecks because it sells advertising time. If there aren’t enough train wrecks, then they predict them to fill the void.

There’s plenty of ways – and good ones – to learn about what’s going on, but understand the “train wreck theory” about anyone who is selling advertising time. (Typically, the more their advertising sells for, the bigger the train wrecks have to be.)

The world is the same world that it has ever been. Better, in a lot of ways… but those ways don’t sell television time. You have to actually walk around and talk to people to see those ways. I recommend that, too.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

May I introduce you to Nihilism?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I cope by taking a Serenity Prayer approach to a lot of things:
1. I ask the Universe for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, which is about 99% of what goes on.
2. I ask the Universe for the courage to change the things I can, which is usually limited to my attitude about the state of events in my life.
3. I ask the Universe for the wisdom to know the difference, which is the hardest part for me sometimes.

I came to peace with the insurmountable problems of the world a long time ago. It’s too big and there’s too much I have utterly no control over. Even in my daily life, I have little control over many things. I can’t control my health completely. Germs will do what germs will do. I take care of myself as best I can and choose not to worry about the rest.

I recommend—and I’m not kidding—exercise, meditation, and laughter.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I call it the lawn chair theory… When the big one is about to come, you get a keg, a hot guy or girl and do it nekked on the lawn. Breaking every social rule possible in the moments right before we all go up in flames.

Yeah, like that.

In other words… if there is nothing else you can do and all options are exhausted, you suck it up cupcake and learn to swim! *And never EVER forget to laugh!

dreamwolf's avatar

It is all so much to consume. I think just to read about it is good enough for me. To try and sway someone is an activists job. For me, a simple good political read, and my vote to the polls is all I want to control. If you feel the conviction to carry the burden of spreading a movement then you’re an activist, if you’re just overwhelmed with politics and just want to live your life the best way you can without invading others spaces, then I invite you to how I do my politics :). Don’t get me wrong, I still get opinions fired up on my end, it’s just that there’s a time and place where your opinion actually matters, hence the polls, or taking signs to the streets, etc.

augustlan's avatar

I can so relate to this. At different points in my life, I’ve lamented learning about certain things, and honestly wondered if ignorance really is bliss. Philosophy was one, politics another. It’s overwhelming, and so damn bleak! People suck! Existential crisis!

The good news is, your brain will eventually assimilate all this new information, and you will settle down to a ‘new normal’. You will be able to enjoy the world again, I swear. First things first: your outlet. This is as good a place as any to have deep, meaningful discussions, and having them will help, at least for a while. Just being able to get it all out of your head helps you see different points of view, and hash it all out. Then it will likely feel overwhelming again. That’s when you need to take a bit of a break, go have some silly, meaningless fun. When your ‘new normal’ hits, jump back into the fray.

As for the bigger picture, the conclusion I’ve come to is that I can mostly only influence my little corner of the world, so that’s where I concentrate my efforts.

Soupy's avatar

I can certainly sympathize. I took a politics course right out of high school and spent a year learning about the international responses to various genocides. Highly depressing stuff.

The bad news is that you’re right – there’s a lot of stuff that people like you and I have no hope of ever changing.

There’s more good news that bad though. After the initial period of shock, your brain settles down and you can keep on keeping on. I find it helps to have people to discuss things with. I like to bounce my thoughts off of my partner.

More good news, there are things you definitely can do to change things. While it’s impossible to just dive in and change the big stuff, you can get involved in grassroots projects that you care about. You do have influence, and if you find other like-minded people, your sphere of influence may grow. Find something you can do to help and concentrate on that, rather than on the large scale doom and gloom that’s going on.

woodcutter's avatar

Don’t feel bad about that, you aren’t the only one. It isn’t so bad that I would subscribe to the idea I have heard some say ,they would rather not have kids to grow up in this terrible world.

Man, just get a new puppy. Worked for me.

silverfly's avatar

Great answers everyone! I feel better already just knowing that I’m not alone in the vast place, I just sometimes feel like I wasn’t meant to be here. It’s a process… always is.

KidCurtis's avatar

I just take solace in the fact that I can’t really influence it, whatever is going to happen in regards to such big issues will happen whether I like it or not. Leaves time for more positive things to focus on.

gondwanalon's avatar

I definitely feel your pain. We definitely live in a troubled world. To make matters worse is that I have to question the validity of all so called facts and information. Liberals say one thing and conservatives say the opposite. It is campy, bizarre and crazy like something out of a Franz Kafka book. My response is to question everything and trust nothing.

What do I do to cope? I do hard vigorous physical workouts. They help me to think more clearly. I ponder various issues while in a sort of meditation like state while I’m swimming, jogging or cycling. That helps but I still suffer from not knowing the complete truth.

GladysMensch's avatar

Maybe you should do something to help those who are in need. Volunteer to help those who have been directly wounded by the policies that you oppose. If you’re concerned about banks foreclosing on families, then volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen to aid the homeless. If you’re concerned about war, volunteer at a veterans hospital. There are lots of ways to help people, even in minute ways. You can’t change the system, but you can have a direct impact on those who are affected by it.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with what some of the others have said. I checked out of all media and primetime TV after 9/11.

Being obsessed with the state of the world is extremely unhealthy and self defeating.
Find something you can DO to make a difference and yes, I think it is imperative for your mental and emotional health to go cold turkey and check out of media and other sources that fuel your masochistic streak.

Sorry, no offense intended but it is true.

Do you not realize that the media has you exactly where they want us all to be, hooked up to the slow fear drip of their promotion?

Knowledge without application is useless.

Coloma's avatar

I’d also like to say that @Hawaii_Jake ‘s “laughter is the best medicine” theory is 100% TRUE!

If you lose a sense of humor, irony, satire, you really have NOTHING!

Also…yes, if we are what we eat we are also what we think.

Change your diet to positive fare, junk thoughts. will make you sick.

Find a good news station and tune in. :-D

john65pennington's avatar

Grab that book that says Holy Bible on the front.

You will learn so much about our current situation and what is ahead for humans on this earth.

Don’t be afraid…...the Bible will not bite you.

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