But what can I do?

 

I felt like writing a less thinking piece. And more of a reflective or opinion piece, based on a feeling, not so uncommon, and not so profound, but worth its weight in meaning.

Something ‘struck’ me. And it’s the idea of reach. Personal reach, emotional reach, the reach of physical work, the reach into the lives and minds of others, and hopefully (if super lucky) hearts of others, and so on and so forth. How far can I possibly go?

Like, if in this endeavour with such a limited capacity in my own life, what could I do? I’m just a person, like most people. There’s small contributions: getting informed, knowing a bit, reflection on these things talking, writing, et cetera, etc. There’s doing composting – hot or cold – to reduce my personal impact on the environment and eventually on the climate. And I know I’m already bad at that. I know that. So I feel as though, at times, it’s like, “but what could I do?” Well, a good first step is to learn about these things. Good.

What then? Well, I’ve done some of the taking in of neat stuff, and then there’s writing. Writing? Yup, it’s the productive phase past learning about things. I can do some kind of mini-outreach to others through this. I can reference. I can footnote or end note. I can think more, and re-reference (and footnote or end note), and on and on. That’s a great tool to learn, kind of.

But does that matter to folks? I don’t know, quite frankly. I have an intuition that there’s some reach there, but is that good enough? For me: no. What then?

There’s reading other peoples’ work. Other articles. Other interviews, even chapters or whole books. But that takes a lot of time. And time is short with lots of things going on. Many folks have kids, have work – have lives. Or, in other words, have resources being spent, resources which are likely quite short, like time, money, emotions and energy, or other, more personally immediate, things. Even after those things, there’s reflection on all of this together, talking straight about the issues, staying positive, and, maybe, keeping persistent.

Persistent writing, persistence reading, persistent thinking, persistent work in general. That’s a good start, and it skips a lot of the issues around particularities and funky little details.

Is this all too much waving of hands, and wishing the wishes? I don’t know, but can see why it might seem like it. Even with that, it would seem wrong to me in that, even though there’s the “but what can I do?”, there’s also the little voice of “but what can’t we do?” ‘cause it’s an organizational message, a collective and communal effort, a group plan, and a unified network of principles. So I don’t know for sure, and could be wrong, but I think the voice of doubt alone can be replaced by a voice of assurance together.

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About the Author

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping and gardening, and runs In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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