Passion vs. Politics
As an American in today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to have an opinion on anything without someone, or most people, trying to pigeonhole you into one or another political party.
The overpoliticization I’m seeing in the US right now is like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else in the world. Sure, politics exists everywhere, but as much as it may seem, from afar, that every country has the same polarized political environment we do, this is simply not the case. The existence of government issues, which are present everywhere, does not directly bring about politicization within a society.
The the US, we tend to heavily associate politics with government, but politics and government are two overlapping concepts, and are far from synonymous.
Politics, in my definition, is an attempt and understanding and solving large, systemic problems whose root cause is not identified. Because the root cause is not identified, all attempted solutions will inevitably fail.
All issues have a real interpretation and a political interpretation. An issues goes from being real to political when we apply a trend or phenomenon to a broad group, and attempt to solve it as one large, general problem, rather than a set of smaller, specific ones. It’s this distinction that Americans have lost sight of. We make all issues political, and the reasons for this are 1) an increasing lack of personal “opportunity” due to our country’s declining economic status, which in turn has resulted in decreased satisfaction in our personal lives, and 2) a fundamental desire to be part of something greater.
Therefore, we can say that the root causes of our overpoliticization, rather than the political problems themselves, are the real issues that we should be focusing on.
The solution to #1 is simply to find opportunities. In today’s changing economic ecosystem, this may look different than ever before. For young Americans, good opportunities are harder to come by, and the easy opportunities make it difficult to live comfortably. [A year ago, for me, this would have been a complaint, but by this point, I’ve accepted it as the reality. And by accepting it, rather than complaining, we can take accountability rather than blaming others (or “the system”), and then take action to improve our situation.] Finding good opportunities might entail learning a new language and getting involved in the global economy in some way or another.
The solution to #2 is to find a passion, and follow it. Politics and political issues have often been substituted for real passion, the difference being, no matter how long or how fervently we pursue them, we will not be able to achieve the satisfaction one gets from pursuing a passion. This is because political issues are constructed by our society and surroundings, and do not come from within. If we buy into an existing “cause” or “movement” that has been pre-constructed, there’s very little chance that it will fulfill our inner desire for purpose and meaning, because that “cause” or “movement” was not designed for us, or by us.
Our political issues will never be resolved if we attempt to solve them politically. They can only be solved by self-reflection and connecting with our inner-being, finding our unique, individual purpose in this life and not latching on to an outer cause. The more we do this, as a society, the more our political problems will dissipate.