Life can be a real slog sometimes. We encounter obstacles, experience setbacks, and occasionally find ourselves over-matched. And yet, we are expected to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going. But should we bother?
A single person can change the world. There are many different examples, from Gandhi to Thoreau, from Malala to Greta Thunberg. Committed, passionate individuals can make a difference.
But the chances that you will be one of those people is exceedingly slim. There are more than seven billion people in the world, and to stand out among that large a number is difficult indeed.
In addition, there are a number of powerful forces arrayed against you. Beyond individuals who have money or power and unwilling to part with it, there are powerful corporations, brutal dictatorships, and corrupt governments. There are economic, social, and cultural pressures that control our lives.
On top of that, the natural world is at work as well. One person, or even a community of people, have little ability to control or influence the weather, for instance. The best you can due in a storm is to try and stay safe and dry and wait until it is over.
With so much beyond our control, why should we try to control it? When an individual human being is buttressed about by other people, by corporations, by nature, by luck, what is the benefit of trying to assert control where there is none?
Tomorrow, we might receive a cancer diagnosis, or be in a car accident, or have a tree fall on our house, or see a federal policy you don’t like enacted, or something else that is beyond us.
How do we soldier on in spite of that? Why bother?