Stay Calm. Enjoy Life.

July 07, 2021Categories: Health and Fitness, Positive Humanism

The Dr. Bo Show with Bo Bennett, PhD
The Dr. Bo Show is a critical thinking-, reason-, and science-based approach to issues that matter. It is the podcast of social psychologist Bo Bennett. As of 2020, this podcast is a collection of topics related to all of his books.

A friend of mine shared a quote that had me thinking for days: "Some poor, phone-less fool is probably sitting next to a waterfall somewhere totally unaware of how angry and scared he’s supposed to be." I found this quote to be both laugh-out-loud funny and deep, which is unusual for a quote. I found it funny for obvious reasons, and I found it to be deep because it reminds us that optimal well-being is about finding balance.

There is an unwritten and unspoken social law that tells us how good a person is, is positively correlated with how angry they are about the world's injustices. Also, the more injustices one is angry about, the better the person. This is nonsense. This idea has been reinforced with the oft-cited quote by Eldridge Cleaver, who wrote, "If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem." Think about this for a moment. There are literally millions of social issues and injustices. What are you currently doing about child pornography? Nothing? According to Cleaver, you are now part of the problem. But it gets worse; many people would also have you believe you are also complicit in child pornography. These groups and organizations are using classic persuasion techniques to spread their message and get followers to their cause. These are the same techniques used by religions throughout the ages: guilt, shame, and fear. Jesus is quoted as saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12.30) The Christian Bible also makes it very clear what happens to you if you are against Jesus (i.e., not with him). Guilt. Shame. Fear. To maintain your own well-being while improving others', stand for something, not for everything.

The main problem with trying to be a part of the solution to every injustice you are aware of, besides the constant feelings of anger and terror, is that there are far too many issues for your to be sufficiently educated on each one to know what actions to take that will do more good than harm. As an example, a friend of mine recently posted a list of companies to boycott because they advertised on Fox News, and a guest was on Fox News who said some objectionable things (even by Fox News' standards). My friend thought they were doing good for "liberal justice," but what they didn't realize is that one of the companies on the list was Gillette, the same company that was applauded by liberals just weeks before by releasing a controversial commercial addressing toxic masculinity and supporting the #metoo movement. While boycotting sponsors that advertise on programs that have objectionable guests might be seen as a good thing by liberal activists, the boycott, if successful, is likely to hurt their cause far more by affecting the advertising budget of companies whose ads benefit their cause.

More common is when political activists are ignorant to the arguments and facts surrounding an issue because they exercise their willful ignorance by refusing to venture outside their ideological bubble. This results in them fighting a highly exaggerated "enemy" or worse, an enemy that doesn't really exist. For example, Donald Trump often repeats the false claim about doctors killing newborns. Who wouldn't be against this madness? Who wouldn't be furious if this were really a common practice? The problem is, of course, it is not true, and the average person can not be expected to research every issue, so rather than remain agnostic on issues, they listen to "their side" and passionately join in on the outrage de jour about which they are actually ignorant. By pretending you know more than you do about issues rather than remain agnostic, you pointlessly take on the burden of anger and fear.

The world needs more happiness, cooperation, and understanding, not more hatred, anger, and fear. Make the world a better place by choosing issues about which you are passionate, and you can devote the time necessary to each issue and become a real expert in that area. Stay calm. Enjoy life. Perhaps one day, you can be that poor, phone-less fool sitting next to a waterfall somewhere, totally unaware of how angry and scared you're supposed to be.

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