It seems that every day I’m presented with another “historic event.” Just two weeks ago I witnessed an armed crowd try to topple the government to which I stand every day and pledge: for liberty and justice. Not to mention, this happened amidst the largest pandemic the world has seen in a century.
Now, we are closed off from what was normal, and isolated to computer screens for companionship. The sound of chaotic rooms filled with strangers, the anxiety of crowds, once a dreaded experience: even I often prefer that to the deafening silence of a loading Zoom. Nothing could have prepared me for life in 2020, but it has prepared me to be more aware of the society I live in. Living in a global society is an art form. It’s subtle and intricate. I’m realizing its problems are multidimensional, which require focused education and independent investigation beyond local narratives.
Even from a small place like Idaho, lacking in diversity in nearly every form, I have come to understand the necessity of being an informed citizen. People are no longer bound to one region, one way of life, a single story. Transportation and the internet have allowed for the nearly limitless exchange of information. Yet I encounter peers who oppose the notion of civil rights for all, who bear flags symbolizing hate, who find every opportunity to diminish the power of others in the name of patriotism. I regularly think to myself “if only they could hear themselves.” However, ignorance is bliss and to have a multifaceted worldview is to condemn oneself to a life of discontent.
To be informed is to see the flawed world we live in. I believe it is the responsibility of every person to not shy away from this truth but to confront it. When I’ve got a spare minute, I’m the one watching TED talks about the geopolitics in the South China Sea. We should all strive to continuously expand what we know by becoming familiar with issues that we must face, sooner rather than later. If we are to live in a society that unites in a fight against disease, terrorism, and injustice in every form, then we must all be held to an accountability of awareness. We must be aware that we do not just live in Idaho or any state for that matter, but on a single planet with 7 billion other people just as complex as ourselves. It is this complexity, derived from the tribulations of all people, that creates global consciousness. To be aware of issues in our world is to be aware of this and to subject oneself to the imperfectness of our reality. It is difficult, but ultimately a necessary sacrifice to be informed.
Living in a frequently narrow-minded community has forced me to see the limitations of this oblivious ideology. I do not want to be the kind of person others hear speak and think to themselves “wow, if only he could hear himself.” Being closed off from the world, from diversity, from everything that makes a place cosmopolitan, has instilled a drive to explore the limits of what is, and what can be, rather than accept bliss as the default. I hope to interact with other people who will show me their perspective, their narrative, their ideology of intolerance to ignorance, and allow me to be a part of their global consciousness.