in Motivation, News, Philosophy, Psychology

Damn Foreigners! – So Glad I’m A White Male In My 30’s & Live In Sweden

I’ll preface this by saying that I know far too little about the intricacies of the so called “European refugee crisis” to have a well informed opinion on the matter.

Yesterday several people posted an article about what had happened when refugees tried to get into the Ukraine. Basically saying: “Look, this is what’s going to happen in Sweden as well!”

I had to take a few seconds to breathe because it pissed me off so badly. A part of me wanted to reply by simply saying: “You’re acting like an asshole. Please stop spreading this shit. Please. Just stop.”

The other part of me felt that getting into an argument on the internet would render me an asshole too. So, I didn’t say anything. Maybe if Facebook had rolled out that dislike-button already. Then again, how clear would that message be? Do I agree with their positions or not? We need to get clear on the rules here peeps!

Facebook DislikeDislike dis like.

On the other hand it’s good to have people with a differing views on the matter. We might gain insights into things we wouldn’t have otherwise, despite the fact that we don’t agree.

“That’s great Zac, but would you open up your home to refugees? Would you serve them in any capacity at all besides disliking negative comments on Facebook and writing about your uninformed opinions online?”

No, I would not. And there’s the rub.

I’m fully aware of how lucky I am to be a white male, living in a decent neighborhood in Sweden. Sure, I pay +30% in taxes but I’m way too comfortable to lift a finger and actively do anything for these people myself.

However, should it mean that my taxes are raised by 5% as a result of Sweden taking on more refugees? Yeah, I’d probably be OK with that.

As long as it doesn’t effect my, or my family’s, level of comfort too much.

That’s kind of horrible really. For all the talk about wanting to help people, when it comes to this I feel like I can’t handle it. I’d much rather throw money at the problem and let others handle it. Maybe it’s for the better, maybe not. But it’s the decision I feel I need to make.

Humpty DumptyRemember when Humpty Dumpty decided to build a wall too keep all the damn foreigners out?

So, with that out of the way here are some thoughts about what I feel we should do differently.

Number one, stop calling it the “European refugee crisis”. I understand that we need to label things but the ways in which we frame an issue subconciously influences our approach to it.

If we label something as a “crisis” it invokes panic and fear. Why not take it down a couple of notches and calm the fuck down. Words like situation, fact, matter, item, status or event are far more boring but at least they don’t necessarily force a certain emotion about the issue at hand. Oh, add “issue” to the list too.

As much as we really need to look at the situation we’re often only shown the worst possible behavior and since that’s what we see in the news we start believing that it’s more common than it really is.

Think about it, we’re usually presented with the worst possible things humans are capable of doing toward each other. Yet, the world still turns and 99,999% of us go about our daily business doing our best to be decent, caring people.

The flip side is that if we don’t look at the harm we’re capable of inflicting on ourselves and each other it can grow stronger. Remember that we are better than we give ourselves credit for.

Right now we might be scared about the possible ramifications of keeping our borders open. We might be afraid that we aren’t doing our best to help our fellow human beings. But what we’re really doing is experiencing the growing pains of an inevitable future.

Crystal Ball EmojiPut your trust in The Great Emoji!

While the reasons might be varied, the dividing lines between our countries will sooner or later disappear. The internet has only accelerated that evolution.

We are going to leave this planet and go exploring new frontiers. Perhaps we’ll be the unwelcome travelers ourselves in a distant galaxy.

Hopefully we’ll remember this period of history and others like it. Hopefully we’ll understand their reactions and manage to show that every race and species can accomplish far more together.

The hard thing to see facing it now is that as a whole we’re going to get through this. As long as we keep fear from governing our decisions.

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  1. “While the reasons might be varied, the dividing lines between our countries will sooner or later disappear. The internet has only accelerated that evolution.”

    Well said!

    But what about the dividing lines between people? Maybe the Internet is only making those lines sharper, dividing us all into segregated “communities?”

    • You’re right. =)

      While it’s given us this amazing possibility to build connections with people and experiences we never could’ve come across otherwise we’ve done poorly in utilizing it. The internet is still grossly underestimated by every single one of us.

      It seems like we’re simply emulating our real world behavior (sometimes bringing out and exaggerating our worst sides) in terms of community.

      Too rarely do we strike up conversations with strangers in the real world. Probably because we’ve been fed the idea that there’s a lot of dangerous people out there. Which there are but probably far less than we might imagine.

      While this is easier to do online we’re still not using it to its full potential.

      Perhaps there should be some “filtering” and “regulation” where content on different platforms that promote connection and empathy is promoted.

      Take Periscope and Meerkat for example. While there are plenty of good people there it’s more about “selling” something, be it products, services, entertainment etc.

      While I don’t like the idea of having “gatekeepers” perhaps they could give certain content that lets us see what it’s like at a refugee camp, “Doctors Without Borders” or something like that a higher rank?

      Also, we need to understand why people behave like they do on the internet and what we can do to promote more cross-pollination among different groups. We humans are inherently lazy and strive towards comfort. So we need something that more or less forces us into a new type of behavior until it becomes a habit.

      I think that if we can find the “Candy Crush” equivalent of getting people to interact with each other in a “public square”-type site on the internet we could grow past it.

      Exactly how that would work and look I don’t know, but I think with wearable technology (that could also promote real world interaction) and moving from a text based internet to a 3D based one it’d open up new possibilities. =D