Letter to the editor: Subconscious rankings

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Instead of pretending like this isn’t on my mind right now and doing a regular post for my Politics of the Environment reading, I’m just going to share these thoughts and rant for a bit. There is so much happening in the world each and every day. So much good, so much bad, so many kinds of good and so many kinds of bad. I’s so easy to allow yourself to ignore the highs and lows that we are constantly bombarded with. As technology has progressed, the frequency and diversity of these highs and lows has exponentially increased. Information can save us and the planet, and the lack of information will lead to the ultimate demise of us and our planet.

I honestly think that the majority of those with access to the vast amount of global information are experiencing a sensory overload. There’s so much put in front of us and we don’t know how it is supposed to make us feel. We don’t know what should be deemed most important, or even if we should be ranking all that comes into our brain.

Before beginning to write this I expected to present the argument that until we deal with our human-to-human conflicts and reach peace as a species, we cannot focus our attention to other issues in our lives, like our relationship with the natural world. But after beginning to write, I realized that this is a foolish distinction to make. We cannot separate ourselves from the world around us. This barrier and artificial difference we’ve created between nature and ourselves over time is what has led to our unsustainable and foolish treatment of the Earth. Also, so many of our human-to-human conflicts are related to the natural world and its resources.

As humans, it is natural for us to first care about human issues and specifically those human issues involving the people who resemble us most. It’s not easy for us to see all conflicts and issues without ranking their relevance to our lives. The headline “Five People Shot At Site of Black Lives Matter Protest In Minneapolis” is what prompted me to write this, and it makes sense that it did. This article involves a movement regarding people who look just like me, the victims of this horrific act could have been myself or people in my immediate circle, and people who are supportive of this movement. We’re selfish creatures by nature. I’m not trying to say that I shouldn’t be affected by this article, but the reasoning behind why I’m so dramatically affected by it, most likely more affected than someone who doesn’t look like me, is where the issue lies. Until we stop subconsciously ranking things and associating them with ourselves or with other people, we will not be able to move forward. Every issue regardless of what it is about should be treated with respect and acknowledged is important. I don’t think the future is looking good for us if we aren’t able to make this mental shift.

I hope this made you uncomfortable. I hope this made you think.

– Chester Toye, ’17

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