It wasn't my idea, honest. I've spent several days of the last week traveling for work, and when I wasn't actually working, or sitting in an airplane seat (doing work there as well), I was sleeping (and still on East Coast time, no less). But it's not like I don't have anything to say about all that's been going on — it's just that most of what I could say is redundant, and that I find it's best to listen rather than talk when times get turbulent.
It most likely won't surprise a soul reading this to know where I stand on a lot of things. I thought the massacre in Orlando was unconscionable and horrific; I thought Brexit was a bad idea whose full impact we won't even be able to assess for years to come; and so on. I don't have any insight to offer on any of those things, and when I have no insight I always feel like merely offering my sympathies isn't enough.
This is hard to explain without sounding like a jerk, but here goes.
I'm not apolitical; far from it. Nor am I insensitive and uncaring. At least, I don't think I am, which puts me in the same camp as just about everyone else warm and drawing breath.
I just find that 99.99999% of the way politics gets discussed is counterproductive and ugly, that most of it consists not of analysis, but of easy emotional appeals to people who are most likely already in your camp. Or, when it's not even that, it degenerates into people standing in opposite corners of the room throwing soggy factoids and undercooked statistics and dubiously sourced anecdata at each other. Nobody learns anything; nobody wants to learn anything.
This is not something I think started recently, either — it's been like this for a long time, just not as noisily prevalent. We have always been very good at simulating wisdom.
So, when things get ugly and stormy, I get quiet. It's not because I have nothing to say, but because I know on some level it will be better for me to hear everyone out — good, bad, and stupid — than to just open my mouth and submit canned opinions to the world. It is impossible not to take sides in this lifetime, but the last thing I want to do is get stuck on one side forever.
If I'm not talking, it's because I'm listening. Or at least trying to listen. I'd rather do that than just repeat, tiresomely, what most everyone else out there already knows and has most likely already heard.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind