It’s all over on the social media front.
On the one hand, there are all the news stories, memes, and personal posts that imply that the western world is under siege from nefarious people from “other places” – that violence is stalking us and that we must do unpalatable things to keep ourselves “safe”.
On the other hand, there are the news stories, posts, and memes, warning us that our worst enemies are domestic: this marginalized group, or that one, ready to tear our lives asunder out of jealousy or rage or just plain sadistic glee.
And then (on that third paw) those self-same people posting the dire warnings and the consequences of inattention constantly also forward us their motivational words of wisdom…
Do what you love.
Be true to yourself.
Never let go of your dreams.
You have to wonder, some days, whether these people have minds arranged like a modern call-in centre office: every thought neatly placed in its own discrete, self-actuated, and wholly private cubicle, where nothing from any other cubicle even gets a glimpse of another thought, let alone allows those thoughts to touch.
This world is not safe… but it never has been.
This world is many things… but it is not risk-free.
You can fail… and that’s okay.
You can die… and all of us will, sooner or later.
But instead of meeting these things with fear or overconfidence, we need to learn to weigh the costs, and do the right thing.
Not the easy thing.
Not the “sure” thing.
And definitely not the thing that makes someone else pay for our mistakes.