Picking Your Battles
One of the great things about the Internet Age is that it has turned everyone into their own Editor-in-Chief. Instead of blindly accepting what the New York Times and CNN have to say is true, we get to pick and choose our sources.
In order to do this properly, however, we have to expose ourselves to a great many more sources. At a certain point that “great many more" becomes too much to handle. Paralyzing. What was liberating becomes the chains on our souls.
There's a reason that politicians and publishers don't make great activists: it's because they have their eyes on so many issues at once it becomes difficult to move any single agenda forward. When great numbers of us are playing the role of politicians and publishers it becomes difficult to move anything forward in our rather stagnated society. We don't need as many politicians and publishers as we do activists, crusaders, and organizers.
Where the network effect of the Internet comes in handy is the idea that it becomes easier to check in with others who share our zeal for change is not necessarily our focus. I Think of the archetype of the superhero team: of the Justice league or the avengers. Each of those characters doesn't just have a different power set, they have a different area of interest. They have their own way of making the world a better place and come together to take on issues that are too big for any single one of them.
I think there's a reason our collective unconscious has found for keeping that archetype around. I think it's trying to tell us something. Not just a lesson about workplace teamwork, but about the kind of thinking and even the kind of internal conflict that is necessary to move the world forward. (Here's where someone reminds me that superhero teams inevitably fight for the status quo. To that person I say “Go read Warren Ellis’ run on The Authority.”)
I’m not entirely sure how this is going to shake out in terms of my own slowly reawakening political side. It might even mean ignoring some issues that I know I can’t be much of a help with. It definitely means picking a fight to make my own… and there are a lot of worthy ones out there.