by Nathan Arel
I believe there is a grave misunderstanding between people of the world as to which problems are actually important. Of course, all problems, being that they are “problems,” are obviously important. But some are more important to certain people than others, and this seems to upset a significant number of people.
A small piece of conventional wisdom people rarely address is the fact that there are simply too many problems in the world for everyone to worry about at once. This causes most people to compartmentalize an absurd number of issues into the dusty, rusted filing cabinets that reside in the far back right corner of their minds. You know, the one that you have never actually seen, but are fairly sure is inhabited by a colony of large bats and has stalactites growing off the top.
The issue arises when some of the problems you have stored in this cabinet are the universal, omnipresent issues that haunt some people’s every waking moment. The lurking idea that some people simply do not care. Are you chronically concerned with issues of racism? Religion? Gender? Sexuality? Homelessness? Education? Drug use? These are all well-founded concerns, but the fact you must immediately accept is some people simply are not concerned about it.
I know it is painfully obnoxious to accept, but our concern for certain issues stems directly from the people who raised us. Whether we are sympathizing with them or rebelling against them, our parents/legal guardians composed our most prevalent concerns.
I am an excellent example of this. I find drug abuse to be an issue that is crippling the American population; an issue I am loathe to be concerned about for the simple fact that it steers me closer to social conservatism. But I wholeheartedly understand that this concern of mine originates from my parents’ concern about the same issue, because of my family history. And I am comfortable with the idea that some people just do not care. Likewise, my closest friend’s primary concern in life is gang violence. For native North Dakotans, this particular issue seems totally obsolete, but his concern stems from the way his parents raised him.
The idea is not to become insulted when people are not concerned about the same issues you are. We are all busy, we are all trying to fix our own problems. If I felt I had any right to do so, I would simply apologize on behalf of the rest of the world for our lack of concern, if only so that we can all go back to working on our own issues and stop arguing over which ones are important. Because if you really want to know what the one unimportant issue is, it is the issue of which issues are important.