Is engaging worth it?
Lately I’ve been feeling really drained by all engagement with the wider world. As far as skepticism, it just doesn’t seem worth it to argue with creduloids, because it never goes anywhere, and it just raises my blood pressure. If someone is bound and determined to believe that vaccines are a government conspiracy to make people into face-eating zombies (I didn’t make that up, it’s from naturalnews), nothing I say is going to change their mind. Meanwhile, the skeptical community is corroding from within, with a lot of anger and acrimony over sexism and sexual harassment, and I’ve gone from being very invested to just being too exhausted to get involved.
It’s not just all things skeptical – keeping up with the news is even feeling like an emotional burden lately. I’m so tired of turning on the radio and hearing nothing but horrible stories of suffering, intermixed with political horse race coverage. There really doesn’t seem to be a point to listening. (Years ago I stopped watching TV “news” because of the inanity and “it bleeds it leads” philosophy.)
These days I would much rather just tune out all the noise of the world and attend more to my family and my community. My kids behave better and we’re all happier when we focus on each other. I’ve really been missing my involvement with breastfeeding counseling, since various craziness has interfered with me going to regular meetings, and I’m going to work on fitting that into my schedule again.
That’s not to say that I’m done being a skeptic and writing about it, just that I’m seeking a balance and wondering how best to expend my energy for maximum benefit. Do you think that arguing about hot button topics ever does any good? Or is it better to just talk amongst like-minded people and count any “eavesdroppers” who read and listen and eventually change their minds as wins? Do you think there are a lot of undecided people out there who could benefit from skeptical ripostes to the woo the other side disseminates? Or are people pretty much divided between believers and skeptics? If there’s a middle camp, do they even care?
I’m interested to hear what people think. In the meantime, I’ll be teaching my kids how to build a fire and then toasting marshmallows over it, answering breastfeeding questions, and continuing work on organizing and decluttering my house. You know, stuff that matters.