THE IMMORALITY OF INACTION
"It's not your fault, you had nothing to do with it"
"It's not your fault, you had nothing to do with it" we've all heard said but then again, there's also the slogan "if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem", so which is it? The latter.
In grade 6 "Officer Vicky" came to teach our class about drugs etc and taught us a valuable lesson about "The Bystander Effect" and the murder of Kitty Genovese. It was, of course, reviewed in PSY100 and many other PSYCH classes but I had long before those classes resolved to not be like the bystanders who simply watched Ms Genovese die when they could have acted at no real risk to themselves!
Today, we are all those bystanders, or those of us who feel this mass sense of paralysis which overwhelms us are, which is most of us today, who feel the wrongs wrought in the world and either dissociate and blame those who remind them of their laziness, or blame themselves, engaged in system justification, not for their inaction, but for their very nature or moral worthiness.
To act is to heal. The philosophical idea paralyses many: the idea that inaction is somehow morally neutral whereas action is to be morally liable. This is merely a convenient social fiction, invented by humans, like the moral indulgnces of the medieval church which prompted the reformation, for it is a moral distinction without a metaphysical difference: there are merely different ways you can spend your day, and an opportunity cost to each. Some of those may be labelled 'action' and some even 'activism' but when you compare possible days, there is no meaninful grouping into the days where you do nothing or the days where you do something: it's all something, and you know that, because you live through the something others call 'nothing' when you're doing nothing of value to them, in their mind.
Some of us are applying ourselves as well as we can, but most of us are not--whatever we're spending our time on, the opportunity cost is massive. My grandfather instilled in me a deep sense that most people waste most of their time. Today, he could only be more right, our attention is captured by third parties who don't have our best interests at heart, massively beyond what happened to the couch potatoes of yore.
So act today, and heal, because paralysis is not morally neutral: it is the bystander effect. We have all been collectively traumatized recently as a planet and we are unsure how to proceed. Finger pointing is about to begin amid two proto-nuclear wars and a third one brewing in the midst. What are you going to do?
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