marveled at the indifference of the world


“He marveled at the indifference of the world, the way it kept on, despite everything.”

Anthony Doerr


To do or not to do. That almost always feels like the question.

Google “what should I do” and you get about 4,710,000,000 results in 0.57 seconds. The top result is “live life to its fullest!” (the exclamation point is theirs, not mine).

Google ‘making decisions’ and you get about 1,620,000,000 results in 0.69 seconds. The top result is actually ‘tips for making decisions’ of which the 5th is ‘consider all possibilities.’

Look. The average person makes about 30,000 decisions daily. Each is a nudge to an indifferent world. Each is kind of a ‘hey, you may be indifferent but I am not.’

I am not really sure there is a point there other than to maybe suggest in an indifferent world what actually makes a difference is your choices and decisions. To do or not to do is, well, a decision no matter where you land.

That said.

If you buy into the thought of an indifferent world, more than even thinking about doing or not doing, we should be thinking about the world in which WE reside, exist, survive or get the life sucked out of us. In other words, how we control our environment, i.e., the context in which we will have to make all those 30,000 daily choices.

So, the thought here is if the world is indifferent than it is also malleable to context – not the overall arc. In other words, you can shape, in some form or fashion, your situation. Not everything, but some things. In fact. I would argue that this is also a sliding scale in that in some situations you can control a shitload and in others you are hanging on for dear life to the few things you can control. But. Control is control and, especially if the world in indifferent, controlling some shit is better than controlling no shit.

Which leads me to my last thought.

Here is a weird thought. Many people find the thought of the world being indifferent, well, an uncomfortable thought. So, they actively seek out narratives to explain the world in some weird ways. While the truth is that the world is increasingly complex and increasingly difficult to ‘see’ causes while there are hurricanes of effects buffeting us, we seek simplicity and simple answers. Its natural. The unnatural aspect resides in how far you go to seek that simplicity. One brain tactic is seeing patterns that do not exist. That ‘created pattern’ becomes not some fantastical shapeshifting of reality, but becomes seen<in one’s mind> as the one enjoying a moment of deep ‘critical thinking’ and clarity in a messy world. Unfortunately, that misguided view of critical thinking (poorly crafted critical deconstruction) is grounded in some desire for a ‘cause’ to match up with an effect. And therein lies conspiracy theories and a bunch of other misguided thinking. And, for today’s discussion, people do this because, well, the world is indifferent and rather than marveling at it, some people don’t accept it as so.

And maybe that is my lesson for today.

Don’t try and explain the indifference of the world.

Don’t fight the fact the world is indifferent.

In fact, we should marvel at the indifference of the world and go about doing what we need to do make a difference.


Written by Bruce