I want you all to take a half-hour out of your life and watch that above video. Not because you’re going to get cool points, but because we as human beings are dangerously close to self-imploding as a species. Our technologies are changing faster than we can keep up with them and there is so much pressure from the mass media to keep up with the Joneses that we are completely blinded to what’s going on outside of our own tiny little bubbles. There’s a whole world out there beyond our iPods and hybrid cars.
I’ve said this before: as an actor, as a creator, as a filmmaker… it is my job to make people think. It’s my job to stir up catharsis and feelings, and in some cases remind people that they need to feel, period. The way we “interact” now, in 140 character updates and through text messages is bringing us dangerously close to a global disconnect. We’re so easily distracted by the next status update or other shiny thing that comes along that we overlook atrocities; friends and strangers suffering in pain get lost in the overwhelming bombardment of too many things to pay attention to.
Don’t get me wrong – our new ways of interacting and sharing news can be fantastic. Take this campaign, for example. Several years ago they were told that it would be “impossible”, and now through an increased awareness steps have been taken to find and take down Kony because more people are adding their voice to a call for action.
The issue here is that we can’t forget. We have to keep caring and not let ourselves be swayed by a new video game or product-named-after-a-fruit. We have to stand together, not only to ask for change but to take actions ourselves in whatever way we can, whether it’s donating money, travelling to provide aid, creating documentaries and bringing issues to public awareness… wherever our talents may lay, we MUST use them not selfishly but to help others as much as we help ourselves.
Recently, I went through something fairly traumatic that has caused me to relapse into having wicked insomnia and panic attacks, along with some PTSD symptoms. That is NOTHING compared to being forced to kill your own parents, to have to maim and mutilate others, to being forcibly raped over and over. I know how good I have it, how good we all have it; in comparison, I don’t even want to talk about my experiences because I’ve always been safe, I’ve always had a roof over my head and food in my stomach. As educated, reasonably wealthy (on a financial scale), first world citizens most of us have never had to beg for food, let alone experience any of the above. We don’t have the screams of the dying echoing in our heads. As children, we never feared abduction or wished for death because it would be easier than living in constant terror.
With our priviledge comes a responsibility to aid those suffering. Victims of Kony, victims of police brutality, victims of female castration and honour killings, victims of circumstance that leave them homeless and hungry and exposed to the elements no matter where they are in the world. Imagine how they’ve suffered, and immerse yourself in it. Empathize until the tears stream down your face, and know that what you’re feeling for them is only a fraction of the daily hell they’re facing.
Once you’ve swallowed all that, push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of to help. It’s the only way we’re going to stop monsters like Kony and make this planet better instead of worse. There’s so many worthy causes out there. You owe it to yourself as much as you owe it to them to get off Twitter and Facebook and go out into the world and take action.
The question is not “can I?” but “how will I?”