While partaking of breakfast, I always do a quick (sometimes not so quick) scroll through Facebook. This morning’s contribution to my ever-expanding knowledge of life on planet Earth was the usual interesting mix.

  • Requests for me to sign petitions for the release of prisoners or refugees; education for all children; better treatment of animals; better treatment of women; better treatment of our planet; civil liberties for gays and anything else that would improve our world.
  • Spiritual things: Bible verses from Christians, anti-religion diatribes from atheists; candles, yoga and ghosts from the spiritually curious.
  • A cute/punny/pithy something or other from one of my writer friends about books, other writers or the process of writing.
  • Something about Monsanto, Nestle, IS or Boko Haram doing something evil and heinous.
  • Something political:
    • Messages from the Labor party or the Greens about the incompetency of the Liberal government.
    • Messages from the Liberal party, (trying) to prove they’re doing a great job. (Not too many of those. I have a feeling they don’t think I’m convinced.)
  • Something personal: what people are eating; their entertainment; their hobbies; their parties; their medical appointments; their mechanical problems; their personal achievements; birthdays and anniversaries…and, occasionally, a death.
  • Humour: film clips, cartoons, photos of people or animals (mainly animals) doing something cute or ridiculous or slightly manic, or a dig at grammar fans like me, or a dig at people who can’t spell or get their grammar correct.
  • The occasional music clip – mostly nostalgic because I and my Facebook friends are mostly of a certain age.
  • Bucket-loads of photos of cats doing cute things; dogs doing cute things; goats, horses and donkeys being cute, and the occasional ring in: koala, kangaroo, squirrel, dolphin, penguin etc…
  • Breaking news stories: sometimes really important ones and sometimes about some movie star doing something we couldn’t care less about.

What do I conclude from all this? We humans are a weird mob.

  • We are passionate about religion, whether we love it or loathe it.
  • We are passionate about animals, whether we believe they should be cared for or not.
  • We are passionate about politics, whether we think we are or not.
  • We want girls to be treated fairly, kindly and equitably, while still being happy to exploit them sexually and patronise them politically.
  • We want people in poor countries to have access to clean water, electricity, good sanitation, good health and decent food but, at the same time, we pour our money into the pursuit of entertainment, personal luxury and more and more stuff.

I’m torn. One part of my brain tells me to stop reading Facebook and forget about all the things that give me nightmares. The other part tells me that it’s important to be aware of what is happening in the world. Putting my head in the sand won’t fix anything. Maybe signing some of those petitions won’t fix anything, either, but then…occasionally it does. I’m one small candle shining in a dark world. However, if you join your small candle with mine, eventually we could be the equivalent of a city on a hill, beaming light out into all the nooks and crannies and exposing the nasties that live there.

And, there’s all those cute photos of cats, dogs etc to help lighten the mood.