The blood hadn’t even dried in the Bataclan before every conceivable position, opinion and argument about terrorism, radicalisation, Islam and Western imperialism had been aired. People wanted to find someone to blame – what made the men do what they did? Can we blame poverty and alienation? Were they brainwashed? Are they an expected consequence of Western Imperialism?
Never before have we been so connected and confronted by each other’s beliefs, values and ideas. We are enriched by this sharing of knowledge, but it is also the source of enormous conflict. The more connected we get, the more narratives are added to the web, making it harder to find satisfying answers.
When wars break out, terrorists attack and the economy slumps, who do we blame? Assigning responsibility is made difficult by understanding the interconnectedness of narratives. The world starts to feel overwhelmingly complicated, so disillusionment, with the idea that we can make any difference, sets in.
But while the world can be a miserable place, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to treat those in our immediate environment with compassion and engagement. We are mostly powerless to prevent wars and economic crashes, but we can protect ourselves from the fallout of these crises by developing more resilient local and community bonds.
Not only will this hopefully make us happier, it means we can more easily mobilise against policies that we perceive as threatening social cohesion and well-being. The powerful go to extreme lengths to maintain the status quo, from denying climate to funnelling their money offshore away from the tax authorities. These are real problems and it’s in their interests that we remain divided and disillusioned.
Accepting the benefits of globalisation does not mean we shouldn’t care most about what is happening directly around us. Maybe be taking more responsibility for the health and well being for those near us, we can reduce the chances that our neighbours turn against us when other external pressures are applied.
So that’s our Christmas message – let’s just try and be nicer to each other and maybe read less news. Just not less Murmur, you should definitely keep reading the Murmur.