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Blood pressure! or Are you not enraged!?

28 January 2014

So, on Thursday, I started using Fitbit. If you’re not aware of how this works, click the link. If you’re not aware of how the Internet works… I can’t help you. How are you even reading this?

Fitbit is great for a number-obsessive stats geek like me. I like collecting data points and trying to modify my routines based on said data; I even track my sleep cycles. I’ve been tracking my blood pressure for at least the last year. To put it mildly, I have a pretty good idea what my corporeal form is up to at any given moment. The goal, I guess, is to (via study and experimentation) gain some major control over my health.

And then I go on Facebook and see tons of people posting things that are generally meant to raise my blood pressure. People are outraged — outraged! — about any number of things on a daily basis. And by sharing this out to all of their friends, they want us to be similarly outraged at whatever that thing is today (there’ll be a different one tomorrow, no doubt).

Two things here — one, as my friend Nate says, “the internet has given us outrage fatigue.” It’s really, really hard for me to give a shit that Beiber was arrested for drunk driving when so many other things are screaming at me to demand my anger and frothing-at-the-mouth rage.

Two… honestly, until most things come and impact me or a member of my family or one of my close friends directly, I generally could not give less of a shit. Yeah, fucked-up stuff is happening. But it’s always happening, all over the world, whether we see it or not. But it’s happening less now than at any point in human history. Violent crime, teenage drinking, deaths from war… all of these are down, no matter what CNN or Fox News or anyone else in the media wants you to believe. Humans are getting better, and so is the world.

Maybe this makes me a terrible human being. Maybe I take apathy too far. But it also makes me someone who has less of a chance of dropping dead of a rage-induced heart attack, so I’ll take it.

Of course, I don’t mind being told I’m wrong, so feel free to do so. Make your point in the comments — it’s completely possible you’ll sway my opinions.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 28 January 2014 1228

    You’re not the only one. I tend to hide or remove those who rant rant rant! constantly, even if I agree with them. It just gets old. If some of those people would channel that steam into something useful, instead of pounding on their keyboard to a small handful of people, maybe they could make even a small change. Or not… who knows. At least maybe they’d feel a little better.

    Anyway, that’s not to say I’m not passionate about things, but I just use my social media differently and would rather not be bombarded by negativity and lots of yelling. 🙂

    • 28 January 2014 1235

      Yeah, the negativity always makes me shake my head slowly.

      And you’re totally right — why not *do* something to help the situation instead of getting angry and trying to spread that impotent rage to your friends?

      (Also, I have never bought that “spreading awareness” was a way to help; in most cases, we’re all pretty much aware of the horrible shit that happens daily.)

      • 28 January 2014 1243

        Exactly! I don’t eat animals. Don’t care if others do, but I will never post horrible photos to “spread awareness.” It always amuses me when the person posting about their love of bacon (nothing wrong with that) also posts about whale hunting and other things involving animals.

        As you point out, the world is safer than it’s ever been. Fewer kids died last year than ever before in recorded history. Still have a long way to go, but things are better. And yet…you see that one sensational story on Facebook and a flood of, “The world is going to shit!” replies by people who once swore that they would never become that kind of adult. But there they are, knocking their kids and everyone else, ranting away as though their say is absolute.

  2. 28 January 2014 1239

    This entry pissed my off and raised my blood pressure!!! 😉

    I’m working on a runsheet for a podcast about stress, and some of this very kind of thing comes up. Cynthia and I recently watched a good documentary about stress…I think we’d seen it before, or that NatGeo did the usual, “Take a bit of this and that and roll it into this new documentary,” thing. But it was a good reminder of the “Chill the fuck out…” part of the podcast’s motto. I don’t understand the need some people have to embrace tension and turn it into rage. I see people I know are intelligent falling for parody news sites. Clearly satire in every way things are written, but I’ve seen some people I once held in high esteem want something so ridiculous to be true, to prove their side of an argument that really doesn’t matter when put against other things, that they post satire as fact, and then the defense when called out: “Well, the other side really IS that dumb…”

    I can’t invite it in. And because of that, I’m pretty laid back. The only real stresses in life I have are stresses I pick up from others because I’ve always been a bit of a sponge that way. So…a supervisor prone to stressing about the future and every project except the one right before us…stresses me out. And, at some point, I just move on or tell them to stop. I like hanging out with you and doing the podcast because we talk about making things and things that interest us. No shit is spoken about others; there are some people out there who do nothing but rip at other people and things. For hours. I’ve finally cut those old friends out of my life because my only exposure to people like the Kardashians and Bieber and others comes from their rage.

    I don’t even watch the news anymore–just focus on the things that make me happy and, because of that, I hope that the attitude transfers to others. Because life’s much better when you build up others and do things you love instead of ripping things apart and spending most of your days complaining.

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