Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Dealing with Despair

This is a pretty good article about dealing with despair in modern activism.

It's pretty much what I do. When I feel fried, I take a break from trying to save a world that frankly doesn't want to be saved.  I post nature pictures or recipes or other fluff instead.  I go off and read something uplifting.  I go outside and appreciate that the planet isn't dead yet.  Earth may be a mess, but as long as I can go outside without a survival suit, I have seen much much worse.  It's okay to take a break.  

Less obvious and harder to manage: in an emergency, it is essential  to take breaks.  Failure to do so causes faceplanting in the short term and burnout in the long term.  In that case you have decreased the responder count by 1 and increased the casualty count by 1, which is not good.  So remember to eat, sleep, and otherwise take care of yourself.  Encourage others to do likewise.

Something else you may find useful is this tidbit of lore I carry from historic cultures: "An oracle's job is to warn, not to convince."  It generalizes well to many other situations.  Of course you can see what people SHOULD do, and it's maddening when they do stupid things.  But it is not your job to live their life for them, and they won't learn if they don't receive the natural consequences of bad decisions.

How do you get a spacefaring civilization?  By gathering enough people who've seen civilizations collapse that they DON'T make those mistakes this time.  Even if they don't remember it consciously, the experience carries over enough to influence their choices.  It does work.
Tags: activism, how to, networking, safety
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