Thursday, October 07, 2010

Now, I'm not a positive person. I don't tell others to smile or that their problems are unimportant because of the starving kids in Africa. But I think that some paths to problem solving are dead ends of despair. And one of those dead ends is thinking that getting people to make decisions you approve of is the path to societal change. It can be fun in small doses- I like getting riled up and complaining as much as anyone. However, if all we got is telling our cousin Mookie, random acquaintances in the grocery store, and strangers on the internet to close their legs, to not choose to parent when they want to parent, to stop drinking all that soda, well, we're doomed to failure.

People rarely change their behavior because someone says so. For example, I hear all about how fast food is horrible. There are websites and national campaigns against eating factory farmed meat products. But I still eat it. Why? Several factors- it's quick and I can go to a fast food place without being late for work tasks, it's avaliable, it tastes better than food I make myself, occasionally others buy it for me, it's familiar and comforting.

If you want me to stop eating McDonalds, a lecture won't work. You're going to have to identify my reasons. You can't do this by arm chair psychoanalysis. If you want to change the behavior of one person, you'll have to actually try to talk to them on their level. Figure out what drives their behavior and what help they want, instead of what you think they need. Then instead of focusing on their behavior- focus on your own. How can you promote the opening of restaurants with quick, healthy, and inexpensive food? It may take work- the good part of the finger wagging is that you don't have to do anything. All you have to do is complain, and complaining is fun.

But it's passive. You're waiting for others to come around and see your obvious rightness. You feel productive, but you're standing still. In terms of social change, you might as well have been writing Gakuen Alice fanfic. In which they are all furries.

1 comment:

da midwif said...

can i borrow your second to last paragraph? i can't come up with anything on my own right