This year I was hoping to help people with some resolutions. As everyone knows, New Year’s resolutions inevitably end in failure, so I’m hoping to offer a couple that will make a difference even if you only do them once.

  • Read books on topics written from perspectives with which you disagree. And I do mean books. Something with citations in the back. A Youtube clip of someone condescendingly explaining how right they are using only the evidence of how wrong their opponents must be based on the actions and words of a few individuals from within that group doesn’t count. We are stuck in a world where passivity leads to echo chambers that are far too easy to get lost in, with their warm, self-righteous comforts. We must actively seek out opposing views if we’re ever going to grow.
  • Express your own opinions. As terrible as that Youtuber truly is, they are still progressing their own terrible views. They own that. It’s their face, their voice, their words. They can’t escape the responsibility of that, and that is tremendously admirable. Re-posting that video, sharing a meme, or even posting an article distances you from that culpability. You no longer become the owner of your own thoughts, and you can maintain that distance as a means to never feel as though you are wrong. Did the meme you just posted make a generalization about a certain group? Oh, well you didn’t make that generalization, so if someone disagrees with that, they’re not disagreeing with you, they’re disagreeing with your ideals which are only partly exhibited in your meme yet are still wholly represented by it. This only ever leads to petty arguing. If you have something to say, say it. Even if it isn’t flowery, or powerful, or maybe it is too flowery to the point of being alienating, it is still yours. You can never add your voice to a movement if you never actually use it.

These are not difficult things to do. All they require is openness and authenticity, but I fear there will be more people lining up for gym memberships that they will abandon in two weeks than there will be willing to try either of these. Feel free to prove me wrong though, and I’ll be quite happy to own that.