The Other I

July 25, 2015

My existential conundrum

Filed under: Just Stuff,Questions beyond Science — theotheri @ 4:09 pm

I don’t remember ever having this thought in my life.  But I was sitting at my desk today and felt a huge desire to stop worrying about the world.  I even want to stop knowing about it and understanding it.  What good, I wonder, does it do me or anybody else for me to understand the problem of the Greek bailout and the faulty foundation of the euro?  or the problem of the Kurds in Turkey and Syria? or the Ukraine conflict? or the economic problems for Scotland if it became independent? or racism, or religious intolerance, or the problem to democracy of the U.S. Supreme Court giving corporations the right to pour unlimited money into political lobbying?  And then there’s Africa, and the entire middle east, and Latin America, and China, and Russia, and climate change, and the rate at which humans are responsible for the extinction of other species.

I will stop.  Probably half the readers of this post have given up reading already.

It seems obvious that the first step to solving any of these problems is to know about them.  But as I look around, I’m not sure that’s happening.  So many of the solutions being offered by both the left and the right seem ill-thought out but at the same time cursed with the kind of righteous certainty that only ignorance can support.

When our problems become too overwhelming, do we as a species resort to this kind of simplistic reasoning we see so often disguised as religious and/or political principles?  or barring that, the temptation with which I am struggling, a self-imposed indifference, a refusal to worry or get involved?

 Is “Digital” the Real Sixth Sense?  

I have always felt at home with globalization made possible by the digital world.  Terrifyingly so, perhaps.

Because I’m beginning to feel overwhelmed by it.





  1. Some we solve, some we leave behind for our children to figure out:-)

    Mercifully we aren’t immortal.


    Comment by tskraghu — July 25, 2015 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • Ah yes, mercifully we are not immortal. Thank you for reminding me. There’s peace in remembering to remember that.

      On Sat, Jul 25, 2015 at 6:02 PM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — July 25, 2015 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  2. Being overwhelmed in this way always reminds me of – was it the Apostle Paul? – anyway – the early church having been charged with taking the gospel to the ends of the earth – and then he has a dream and the man says “come over to Macedonia to help us” – and he heads off that way. I don’t even think he ended up there – but I like the idea of thinking that yes, there are an infinite amount of things needing done – but the most one person can do is head towards someone asking for help because at least that’s a start or a step in the right direction.
    My other great solution for being overwhelmed is to go to bed. I know it ‘should’ be prayer, but sleep helps the worrier too.


    Comment by sanstorm — July 25, 2015 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

    • ​Ah yes – that is all we are meant to do — take that small step. It’s sheer hubris for me to think that if I can’t fix everything, I shouldn’t bother with that small step.

      Oh and yes, there is bed! It’s amazing how sleep can help put things back into reasonable perspective.

      Thank you for helping me put my two feet back on terra firma.​

      On Sat, Jul 25, 2015 at 7:35 PM, The Other I wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Terry Sissons — July 25, 2015 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  3. hmmm after hundred of thousands years of pressure and the right conditions, some coal is transformed into diamonds, but not all. but both have their intrinsic value – does violence, indifference, self-centeredness etc have its own value – and if so, what?


    Comment by kateritek — July 26, 2015 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

    • I have been asking myself some version of this question since I was in Maryknoll. I see how often and destructive anger is. I know the almost indescribable suffering and injustice of innocent people resulting from war. But I have never been able to convince myself of absolute pacifism. I appreciate that WWII was not fought primarily to close the concentration camps. But it was fought to stop Hitler and the Nazi’s. When a system which is so destructive gains power – or threatens to gain power – isn’t there a place to step in and stop it with sheer physical force? Right now I’m asking myself the same question about ISIS. I wonder, even, if we should not have stepped in when Assad used chemical bombs on his own people. Could we have stopped ISIS gaining so much ground and so many followers from around the world? could we have avoided the six million Syrians displaced today and the several hundred thousand already killed?

      Right now it looks to me as if there is some value in violence, indifference, self-centeredness. We need to be rooted in ourselves. We need not to try to manage the whole world. We need sometimes to use force. Because diplomacy, even sanctions, don’t always work. But when and where and how much? I wish I had those answers.

      Do you have any other ideas? Oh please, K, tell me!


      Comment by theotheri — July 26, 2015 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

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