Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why I Continue To Have Hope

Yesterday, I found a passage of Anthony Giddens' book The Consequences of Modernity that struck me as really relevant to yesterday's conversation.

Giddens discusses "adaptive reactions" to risk and classifies our reactions into four broad areas:

1) Pragmatic acceptance- this involves not really thinking about the risk too much because, ultimately, it's out of your hands. 
2) Sustained Optimism- faith in rational thought and science; a trust in the ingenuity of human beings
3) Cynical Pessimism- often involves use of black comedy to alleviate one's emotional response to risk
4) Radical Engagement- engagement in the risk to reduce it; a belief that we can practically mobilize to diffuse risk

Honestly, I've fallen into all four categories at times, but yesterday I was in cynical pessimism mode.

Today, I'm in radical engagement mode. 

You see, as I read your wonderful comments, and then Chile, Rob, and Crunchy's blog posts, I realized that we can mobilize, and we are mobilizing. And maybe our individual contributions are small, but to paraphrase Barack Obama, collectively, we are more than the sum of our parts. 

How can I be a pessimistic cynic when you all, every one of you, show me what's best about human beings on a daily basis? How can I be hopeless about the crises we face, when people I have never met, from all around the world, are rallying to cheer me up? How can I believe that human beings are fractured and doomed, when I see so many people of different religious affiliations (or non-affiliations), political parties, and ethnicities uniting together to drastically reduce their impact,  to give to others, or to pee on their plants.

I can't.

I believe in the power of us, because I have seen us. You have shown me, you continue to show me, what is so wonderful about humanity.

Thank you.


annie said...

wait, didn't we just have a conversation where you thought i had made up structuration?

ruchi said...

I'm brain dead; did I just describe structuration?