Saturday, September 29, 2007

What's the right thing to do?

Because I follow alternative energy news so closely I usually can't help but to follow the rest of the news that goes on around the world to some degree. Which isn't to say I'm actually interested in what else is going on, to be perfectly honest. I find the bulk of news that comes out is either entertaining or boring, not pertinent, passionate, or inspirational.

The problem with this sort of selective apathy I've acquired comes when I come across a particular event outside of my admittedly narrow scope that feels like a punch in the stomach. In this case, I'm referring to the protests in Myanmar.

This is certainly not the most major human rights violation this year but it highlights what I'm talking about. It freaks me out a little bit to hear that 9 people were killed during a peaceful protest but the part that affects me the most is the questions that I am left with...

Do I know the whole story? Was it really peaceful?
What does this say about Myanmar? Democracy? My own country?
Do I care? Why do I care if I do and why don't I if I don't?
Is it truly important to stay on top of world events?
What could I ever hope to do about it?

The most ubiquitous news in America is fluff news, crap news about celebrities, stories about the iPhone. As such, I'm so used to tuning the news out and customizing my news channels for the information I want (Google News Alerts for alternative stuff and for net buzz) that I miss out on a lot of the stuff other people are talking about (conflicts overseas, political stuff at home, etc). I find myself stuck in between wondering whether I should care and what it means if I don't.

I'm drowning in information 24/7. I've got 4 different subjects to study at school, a research project with additional information, I've got the regular day-to-day information about those I love, I have all the stuff from my side projects and work and my book PLUS anything else on top of that like pop culture and entertainment and anything else I want to stay informed on. No complaints here whatsoever but how is a 2007 student with a job and a life and a cause supposed to process anything outside of his current bubble of information?

Is it heartless to avoid seeking out knowledge about what goes on out there?

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