On the best way to take care of the world

This meme caused a mild furor when I shared it on Facebook the other day. As memes go, it’s packed with an unusual amount of implied meaning.

A professional journalist and former colleague took umbrage at the description of news as “a scripted drama.” But I have come to believe that “the news” really can be scripted dramatics more often than not, outside of accidents and acts of God. Does anyone really believe anymore that anything on the political stage is sincere, spontaneous or contemporaneous? Every statement, every scream of supposed outrage, every word out of the practical politician’s mouth comes after much calculation about how best to position one’s self for the next election. Chuck Schumer is reading from a script in almost every sound bite I’ve seen, for example.

Some people were unhappy with the meme’s notion that if they are upset about recent events, they have been “triggered by every news event.” (For readers in a more enlightened future, “triggered” is a word describing the emotional reaction to a word, phrase or event.) In this illustration, the person riding the bus on the rocky side of the road is reacting to the Menckenesque onslaught of alarming hobgoblins that are served up constantly by practical politicians.

I acknowledge that the setup leaves room for debate — easy to acknowledge since debate has occurred since I posted this — but I wholly endorse the meme’s payoff: “The best way to take care of the world is to shut off the TV and become the happiest, healthiest version of yourself.”

Notice that the meme does not talk about the best way to ignore the world, as some of its critics have said. It cites the best way to take care of the world. By concentrating on becoming “the happiest, healthiest version of yourself” rather than bemoaning the endless litany of external troubles, we take care of the world through positive transformation of the one little bit of the world we can control: our selves. 

Makes sense to me. That is why I happily shared the meme on social media and now here.

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