Grey Notes: The Futility of Activism

I’m introducing Grey Notes: Brief blog posts about topics when longer responses are not needed.

Activism is like a cart driver dangling a carrot in front of a mule, where the carrot is whatever news the activist has latched onto and the mule is the activist. Or running on a treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike, etc. In either case, there is the illusion of progress in that there is action and movement, yet futility. Activism is repetitious, beating on the same issues, memes, and stuff over and over to no avail. Activism and wishful thinking are also related, in that it represent a longing or ‘ideal’ that is never realized or fulfilled. Another problem with activism is that it’s focused on short term, day-to-day developments, which at the time seem urgent and demanding of attention, but in retrospect is just noise. Consider the stock market rises 100 points, then falls 100 points the next day, rises 100 points the next day, falls 100 after that, etc. for fifty 2-day pairs (total 100 days). Activism is like celebrating all the ‘up days’ but forgetting or not realizing that over the 100-day period the market did absolutely nothing. Activism enriches people who make money on noise, while people who are looking for direction get nowhere.

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