Today I want to discuss one of the Distractions I listed — the Shut Down, since it is now the longest government shut down in American history, with no end in sight.
First, I want to explain why I put it in the category of Distractions — what do I mean by these two categories — distractions and important?
From my amateur philosophical point of view, distractions are issues or problems which I think are potentially/probably self-correcting. Important issues or problems are ones I think may spiral out of control without careful management and intervention.
Everything is in flux, and everything is related to everything else, so by definition every issue or problem can switch back and forth between these two categories. Thus, our priorities for addressing every issue is also in flux.
Let’s take the current partial government shut down in the United States as a case study. What are the chances that it can spiral out of control? Is it not getting enough attention? No, it’s getting a LOT of attention, on almost every newscast. If the unpaid TSA employees go on strike, if the IRS does not process tax refund checks, if the FBI does not connect the dots and another 9/11 happens — won’t these pressures make our leaders solve their conflict in 45 minutes or less? That’s what I mean by self-correcting. As the problem festers, solutions will be found.
I like the civil rights slogan, keep your eyes on the prize. There are a lot of distractions in the world, a lot of urgent matters that can get us sidetracked. If we are in a situation of triage, which I think we are in many ways, we need to be able to distinguish which subjects/issues/problems we need to focus on. What is the prize we desire? Again, from my amateur philosophical point of view — survival of our species, of our planet, of our level of civilization is in mortal jeopardy. With several billion of us to work on current problems, some of us can be obsessed with quote-unquote “distractions” so long as a critical mass of us focus on quote-unquote “important” problems. Let us come back to this philosophical discussion as we look at other case studies in the next few episodes.