I was listening to this podcast in which the hosts, Hannah and Edward, discuss how to approach people’s enthusiasm about the long-awaited killing of Osama bin Laden.
The death of Osama bin Laden means quite a bit symbolically, but I don’t think that is going to translate to that much real-world effect, and it sounds like Edward and Hannah don’t think it will, either. If you ascribe to this point of view, it means that a lot of people are confusing the way in which this event is significant.
The question they ponder is: Should people that don’t really think this is going to change much just go along with the people that think this defines the start of a new era? Maybe this is a case in which the enthusiasm and positivity is more important that the reality of the situation, Edward ponders.
I think it’s trouble when enthusiasm is built on a false premise, like I think Hannah was saying. Man, just writing that last sentence felt totally wet blanketesque and possibly sanctimonious! But you gotta be willing to risk sanctimony in order to make sure as many of us as possible are focused on the real deal.
I do agree with them in that there’s no gain in smacking people down for feeling good. You cannot deny the honesty of their reactions, even if you disagree with the conclusions that spring from them. So, it’s a pretty fine line to walk, what with the keeping people you know connected to reality while also not being a shit. I think I’ve settled on, “I am glad you have achieved closure at last! However, feeling closure doesn’t necessarily mean the world is significantly better.” Which, again sounds a bit sanctimonious! I’ll have to work on that.
But better to be sanctimonious than to tacitly help build a false reality from which bad decisions are made. Many of our biggest problems today grew this way. And I know that there’s a lot of people that are mostly interested in believing in whatever what makes them feel good. It is still worth trying, though. Even if it makes you look like a shit.