How many times do we look out at the world and groan in despair? How many times do we say, “Look at the horrible things in the world; what is this world coming to?” Yet, how many times do we really step up to do something about it? Most people, myself included, will complain and then turn away to the pressing affairs of their daily lives. Our daily duties take precedence over those events of the world at large, because they are closer to us. Parents must work to support their children and students must study to finish their education. However, just because we have to take care of our normal daily duties at hand, does not mean we must forgo the concerns of the world. A simple, yet crucial way to do this is by staying informed with the various events going on in the world.
One of the most important ways to help out globally from home, is by simply knowing what is going on. This sounds like a very staunch claim, but hear me out. If we look out at the troubles in the world today, how many conflicts could we have avoided if more people knew what was going on? A philosopher, George Santayana once said, “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” Ignoring or simply being uninformed about global affairs can be our biggest error. In fact, being informed can be seen as one of our responsibilities, even if you cannot actively do anything about what is happening a world away. Further, “being informed” does not just mean knowing about the gist of an issue, but really trying to get to know the circumstances and philosophy behind it. For instance, many people are concerned about the threats of ISIS, yet don’t really know anything about them. In cases such as this, ignorance could be our downfall.
This seems like a great sentiment, yet the reality is that it is actually very hard for us to do this. How many of us look at an important headline, think about how people should really do something about it, and then turn away to complete our other tasks for the day and forget about it? This happens all the time. In today’s society, it is so easy to push things aside because we are so busy. We have so many things we need to take care of; whether it be homework, work, cleaning the house, our taxes, helping our families, all of us are thinking about a million different things that affect us directly. I look out on the world full of important and pressing issues that demand my support and attention, and then I look at the responsibilities I have as a student, as a daughter, as an employee, etc. There are so many important things to do, yet how can you get to all of them? There are two extremes that result from this question: not doing enough, and overcommitting. In a culture so centered on busy schedules, more often than not, the diligent member of society struggles with overcommitting. We fill our schedules with things we need to do, and then realize there is not much time for anything else. Unfortunately, this can affect us in how we keep informed about the rest of the world, because it is not on our “to do” list. When we’ve filled up our time with other things, we forget to leave room for important issues and controversies. For instance, being informed about the different presidential candidates, or reading about what ISIS is doing and saying, or keeping tabs on the debates about funding Planned Parenthood, or gay marriage. These are issues that affect us as American citizens, but more often than not, we are just too busy to take the time to know about them.
The solution is a simple, yet difficult, one: become informed, and enter into the “dialogue of truth” with others. This does not mean giving up careers, families and schools; rather, it means opening one’s mind to receive information, discern the truth, and tell it to others. As Hildebrand said, the duty of Catholics is to “fight for Christ in the political sphere with full personal commitment, representing importune opportune (in season and out of season) the claims of the kingdom of God and thus, implicitly, those of morality and the natural law.” (1) While this is a simple concept, it can be hard for us to find the time simply to sit and read an article or listen to a debate when we have so many other things that demand our immediate attention. The alternative, ignorance, far from being blissful, can be a great disadvantage. Next time we scroll through our Facebook feed, or turn on the TV, or glance through a newspaper, we ought to take the time to follow up on the issues that are important for the wider world, not just the ones that affect us directly. In the grand scheme of things, this is a small way we can become actively involved, instead of passively sitting by and groaning at the evils in the world, or by pretending they don’t exist. Don’t let your busyness be an excuse for ignorance.
- Hildebrand, My Battle Against Hitler, 281