We give a fuck about the NFL, because we’re told to.
…not because it’s important.
We give a fuck about irrelevant stuff all day, because we’re told to.
We’re conditioned, as we grow up, to care about what we are told is “important”.
But as we get older, we have the opportunity to educate ourselves, apply critical thinking, and make our own decisions.
Terrifyingly, not many seem to be taking advantage of these freedoms.
Instead, we turn on the tv (or any media), consume whatever is fed to us, and like lemmings, we begin to care about whatever we just saw/read/watched/ or heard.
This may seem familiar, if you’ve ever read George Orwell’s 1984 –
“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”
The US Army Rangers have a motto, “Sua Sponte” which is Latin, and means “of one’s own accord; voluntarily”. I remember when I first heard this motto, and how it impacted me. It forever changed me, giving me a goal, eternally just beyond my reach. Then over the years, I worked for some special leaders who possessed what I felt, was the spirit of Sua Sponte. I saw the embodiment of this motto first hand, and I was no doubt protected by it more times than I can recount. I cannot emphasize enough how necessary it is to strive toward this. To be autonomous; to be able to educate ourselves, apply critical thinking, and make our own decisions.
This is more important than just being able to make our own decisions. This is about doing what’s right, when others won’t, it’s about choosing when and where to spend our time/attention, it’s about setting the example for others, it’s about having empathy, it’s about helping the less fortunate, it’s about being able to decide first what we care about, instead of reacting to only what we’re told to care about.