Seems to me I am surrounded by people who are oblivious to many things I pay careful attention to.
Is this true for you as well?
I’ve been an environmental activist for more than 30 years now. It’s been a long time since I’ve been oblivious to issues such as climate change, toxics in air/water/earth/food, waste reduction issues, pesticides, air & water pollution, destruction of the ozone layer, cancer prevention, energy conservation, etc. etc. (for many years in there, I was oblivious to the horrific dangers of lead, & wasn’t paying much attention to nukes, either. While living in an area with 2 gigantic nuke plants, no less!? Endocrine disruption I clued into by the mid-1990s, I guess. Geoengineering – “chemtrails” – also in the 90s?). I was definitely paying attention back in 1992 when the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity came out, & was much affected by it.
I learned about successive issues gradually, over time.. By doing lots & lots of research. Reading, you know … certainly not by counting on “the authorities” to tell me all the facts!?
Meanwhile, a very big thing I was oblivious to in my early years of activism was that my marriage was imploding right around my ears. Oops! Lesson? We can be perfectly oblivious to things that will come to bite us quite nastily on the ass. Our not paying attention to them certainly does nothing whatsoever to protect us from this!
(For the record, there were other things I was entirely oblivious to in those days as a young mother. A few of those have also bitten me pretty hard on the ass.)
Fast-forward to 2016.
By which time I was several years deep into anti-nuclear activism (always with the awareness of climate change very much present in my mind, that having been firmly planted there in the late 1980s).
But by 2012, I’d “made peace” with the likelihood that our species will be extinct before too very long. Measures to slow or halt climate change now strike me as a futile exercise in closing the barn door long after the horse has already left. It’s too late! “Tipping” points LONG since passed. I fully accept near-term human extinction. (Writings on this topic, including postings about grief, are in the Collections section of this site. & for the record, climate change is not the only issue we are facing!)
I continued working passionately on nukes, believing it critically important to shut down nuke plants & start dealing responsibly with the scary volumes of nuclear waste that is spread, sadly, all over our incomparable, stunning beautiful planet, on land & in oceans, much of the reactor/weapons waste contained in very poor-quality casks/containers located right beside bodies of water such as Lake Ontario, for a local example. (Yes! Right beside drinking water sources! Silly humans.) Or you know, in & by the Atlantic Ocean. Pacific Ocean. Etc.
Then, in 2016 the vaccine issue galloped rudely up onto my doorstep & grabbed me right by the short & curlies!
I was 63 years old at the time. I had managed to remain oblivious to the vaccine issue for a full 63 years!
Life took me on yet another unexpected detour. (If you look at the main page of this site, on the right-hand side, under the beautiful photo taken in Algonquin Park & the quotations, you’ll see an utterly absurd # of postings under the heading ‘On Vaccines.’ The well on this topic just never quite seems to dry up for me.)
Recently, it’s begun to look as though my obliviousness to tick bites & the risk of Lyme disease may very well be the latest thing to come along & bite me on the ass!
The lesson I am (once again) picking up is this.
While Audre Lorde said
“Your silence will not protect you.” (Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches ) …& btw, I believe this to be true
I say, neither will your obliviousness!
However oblivious you may have chosen to be in the face of environmental catastrophes of myriad sorts & varieties, taking place all around us, for decades now, & all human systems/institutions being irrevocably broken...
(I refer here to our systems of:
medical or “health” care
legal (I do not call it “justice”)
And the creeping fascism (never mind creeping; it’s GALLOPING!) that is (for many of us, at least) now impossible to ignore.
The utter takeover of our lives, politicians, bureaucrats, media!!, universities & science, now, even, by corporate forces so utterly amoral, ruthless and relentless, they are arguably insane, even! (See Science Quotes here for some backup on this.)
The damage vaccines have been doing to our children for decades (& particularly dramatically so since the U.S. Congress released vaccine manufacturers from any liability whatsoever for vaccine injury or death, back in 1986)
& the coming vaccine “mandates” for people of all ages, everywhere.
The risks of contracting Lyme disease in a country where its handling, from diagnosis to the recognition of it, even! … to treatment, I am quickly learning, is nothing short of a national disgrace. (& here I am speaking of Canada, the “true north (true?? hmmm, maybe not so much) strong (hmmmm, maybe not that so much, either) & free!” (& yeah, I guess not that anymore either).
All I’m saying is, our choice to remain oblivious – or perhaps just a tad complacent (something I think a fair number of Canadians are guilty of) – our failure to pay attention to, & be curious about, & take some kind of action on, something in this life – will not protect us.
Hey, I know. It’s kind of un-Canadian of me, to be so passionate … eh?
I do not apologize.
p.s. “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” – Pastor Martin Niemoeller (1892-1964), a Nazi victim who was imprisoned at Sachsenhausen & Dachau
p.p.s. I guess if I were a more “spiritual” person (whatever that means), I would not become so deeply impatient with my fellow humans’ stubbornly sheep-like nature. Ah well. I’m just not very spiritual, I guess.
A Few Quotations That Spring to Mind
“The saving of the world from impending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of the non-conforming minority.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, 1929-1968
“Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as cooperation with good.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, 1929-1968
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, 1929-1968. ** more MLK quotes
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” – Edmund Burke
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
“Evil thrives on apathy and cannot exist without it.” – Hannah Arendt
“Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.” – Carl Sagan (I found it here)
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
“The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the one most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” – John F. Kennedy
“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forbears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy
“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire
“I don’t fight fascists because I think I’ll win. I fight them because they’re fascists.” – Chris Hedges, as quoted by Guy McPherson
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations.” – George Orwell
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” – George Orwell
p.p.p.s. I know, I know! Soooo many quotes here from men; soooo few from women. I am not oblivious to this! Here is a doozy from a favourite writer of mine:
“There is not much truth being told in the world. There never was. This has proven to be a major disappointment to some of us.” – Anne Lamott in the Prelude to Grace (Eventually) – Thoughts on Faith