The world is available to us now more than any other time in history. Technology has made it possible to know and experience the emotions and stories of people from all over the globe. We laugh, cry, and encounter world-events all day and everyday.
We can see the shooting in Las Vegas, the earthquake in Chiapas, and the hurricane in Puerto Rico. We see pictures of the rubble, watch videos of the frightened people, and read reports of the death toll.
All these things right in front of our faces. We come face to face with the best and worst of humanity through a rectangle that fits in our jeans.
I have been asking myself lately, “Are these world events too available?” Allow me to explain. We see terrorism, poverty, and tragedy every single day. Images and stories that people 30 years ago needed to wait to read in Sunday’s paper. These are now in our faces every second of the day. Because of Instagram and Facebook, in a matter of seconds we can scroll through a Tasty Buzzfeed video, an image of a terrorist attack, and a GIF of kittens playing with baby ducks.
Tragedy is in our everyday experience.
This does many things to our minds.
One, it can desensitize us to the realness of what is happening. We can be paralyzed by the normality of mass-shootings and human trafficking because it is now a part of the daily media we consume. Destined to be catalogued in our minds under the same category as NFL protests and new yoga pants.
Secondly, it can make us consumed with things that will never challenge our comfortability.
We see literally devastating events happening in the world, but we see them while laying in bed or sitting on the toilet.
This separates us from the realness of what is going on. It can make us feel like we can’t really do anything about these tragedies. Subconsciously we are thinking, This is so devastating! But what can I do? I’m at a Subway.
When a hurricane hits Puerto Rico, we can be consumed with anger as to why Trump isn’t doing what he should or why congress hasn’t moved around disaster relief funding. Never in a million years do we think, What if I moved around some of my funds and traveled to help with the relief efforts? When mass shootings or terrorist attacks occur, we can be consumed with where our Facebook friends stand on gun-policy instead of hosting an awareness event for people to dialogue about the topic.