12 May 2006


to encourage In These Times to put out articles such as this...


My posting of a Joel Bleifuss article achieved a response, which is a good thing!

Here is Bleifuss' most recent piece for In These Times. Bleifuss explores the notion of "outrage fatigue," this idea that people get tired of reading about outrageous things in the media and of being outraged by them. He suggests:
In the case of a person grappling with outrage fatigue, the easiest solution is to protect yourself from bad news and learn not to care. Another solution is to do something about your outrage. Nurture it. Express it.
Kudos to Bleifuss for exploring this idea.

Let me suggest an alternative to emotional fatigue, and to the solutions Bleifuss suggests -- theoretical preparedness. The idea is that, in observing the news, one comes armed beforehand with theory -- and thus when outrageous news events occur, one can be free to approach these events with a detached, yet concerned, optimism. When in doubt, always choose an emotion that is helpful. Your emotional life is about you and who you want to be.

In that spirit, I would like to encourage my readers to learn all there is to learn about the capitalist system, about how it operates socially and about its metabolic interactions with the natural world. The more they learn, the more they will come to expect what they previously might have been outraged to hear.

One cannot become so "wrapped up" in news events that one loses one's ability to respond proactively. This is what theory is meant to cope with. Theory is overarching knowledge, knowledge that can be applied to events whatever they are, that can be used to form a protective cover for one's emotions. The theoretical perspective suggests: do not "go on gut reaction" when reacting to events. Guts do not form theory without help from brains, so consult brains first. Always try to understand; don't get carried away.


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