Proversatin’ Ain’t Easy

Posted: November 30, 2018 by Brian Johnston

It’s been some time since I’ve posted anything new here at The Proversation. This hasn’t exactly been intentional, but I am struggling to find places where my words can gain traction internally. Very simply, I’m finding the current climate of divisiveness difficult to navigate while maintaining my proversational mindset. Many times I feel like I am swimming as hard as I can against the current and yet I’m still losing ground.
The thing is, not a whole lot has actually changed. People are just as angry today as they were two and a half years ago—maybe even angrier. The memes that come across my social media feeds are just as volatile as they were before. The invectives come just as strong and as swift during the Trump years as they did during Obama’s tenure. The problems facing our nation are just as significant today as they were before the election. So what has changed?
I think I can boil it down to a single word: FATIGUE. I watch the news with as much concern and interest as always, but for whatever reason, I am less motivated to resist. I am less motivated to stand up. I am less motivated to provide my two cents’ worth. I guess I am simply less motivated.
Fatigue is a powerful feeling. It first sends up the red flag to give pause to whatever issue is wearing on your nerve at that particular moment—that, ‘Oh my God, not this again,’ feeling that washes over you with every unsolicited opinion. Then fatigue seeks to resolve that red flag with a resounding sigh of indifference. “Yeah, but whatcha gonna do?” is the phrase that pays, with the answer to the question being unwritten yet completely understood: NOTHING.
That is a very uncomfortable place for me to reside. As a philosophy, The Proversation centers on the concept that the world is not binary and that a wide spectrum of diverging opinions can be held by individuals in a society while society moves forward as a whole. Diversity of thought is a necessary feature that provides the strength of a proversational society—it is the tree that bears the fruit of progress. Unity comes not from the unison of everybody singing the same note; it comes from the different notes working together within a structure to form harmony. It is much easier to find consensus from this mindset because we are not a cookie-cutter society and one size never truly fits all. When we realize that our ideologies are merely different means to the common end of a better world, we tend to find the good in one another and we seek the order of consensus rather than the chaos of discord.
Actions speak louder than words, and at least on the surface it seems I’ve been awfully long on words while short on action. Perhaps my silence has actually been part of that action. I take my words very seriously. I reread my articles and gut-check the things that I write before I post them: Do I actually BELIEVE what I wrote? It is quite jarring to spend a couple hours honing an idea in an article only to find after the fact that I don’t even believe my own bullshit. But it has happened, and those words never saw the light of day. They couldn’t. I have a responsibility to myself let alone any potential audience that might stumble across my ramblings: To thine own self be true. That’s easy to say but sometimes hard to do. Proversatin’ ain’t easy.
So forgive my absence as an intentional attempt at quality control. My commitment to The Proversation is a simple one: Mean what I say and say what I mean. If I am unable to crystalize my thoughts, then those thoughts are not well-formed enough to be thrust upon the rest of the world. Maybe if everybody held themselves to this same standard, we wouldn’t be so fatigued in the first place.

Brian Johnston
Author: Brian Johnston

Author, podcaster, optimist, guardian of The Proversation.

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