⋆。゚☁︎。⋆。 ゚☾ ゚。⋆

your role in things

I think in this time, when we are always feeling pulled to have an opinion about every little thing, it can be powerful and honest to say "I don't really care" or "I haven't made up my mind yet" or "I feel neutral about it".

Though I have to say, I always become a little disappointed and occasionally shocked when the people I know do not feel a certain way, or even care, about a really big issue that is impacting us all in some way, that they regularly engage in.

No one has to justify themselves to me or prove anything to me, however I like to understand how the people around me think and what they stand for. And admittedly, I enjoy to sometimes poke holes into their reasoning or moral inconsistencies (why do you support x but not y?), but never in bad faith or to seem as if I am better than them. I just try to understand and empathise, and for that I tend to ask a lot of questions and present them with some arguments to see how they respond to that. I try to be the least amount of draining I can be in that process and have successfully trained myself at this point to not argue to the bitter end and cut it short in favor of not causing upset and to not make them feel backed into a corner. I have the tendency to think and research deeply beforehand and come prepared into a discussion, so I recognize it's not really fair to expect other people to come as prepared to a spontaneous exchange. I admit, I really wish more people were readily available to do a little mini speech on why they use a service or buy a good, like I am because I deeply think about my impact on the world, but I recognize this is an unrealistic wish.

All that considered though, there are some things I hope that the people around me have good reasons for, or at least an opinion, no matter which one. Obviously I do not care about your stance on ice cream flavors or a random online shipping war, but a bit bigger stuff - maybe important local politics, or climate change, pollution, or the rights of specific groups of people, or the support of specific industries and services they pay for.

Sometimes when I discover people really do not care or even know why they still support something or have not looked into something they are really involved in, I can't lie, it does change my image of them a bit. Are you lazy, or uncaring, or are there other reasons? It may not seem like a fair approach to others and I get that, but I simply feel a bit frustrated when too many people around me use "there is no ethical consumption under capitalism" to not even try, and when they are so disillusioned they think they have no agency in life, their vote won't count etc.

For me, simply put, your continued support of something with your money, your data, your account etc. is to me like you are member of an organization, or putting your signature on a petition. You do vote with your wallet and what you give your attention, your time, your engagement and data to. It shapes you, even.

Now, what we can choose to participate in is obviously limited. We are forced to rely on things we don't really support because we have to participate in the system. I'm not gonna be all "yet you participate in society, curious!", obviously. And we have to pick and choose what we care about, because there are a lot of issues in this world and we can't dedicate ourselves to caring and understanding them all because that would burn us out and drive us into depression.

But what you can do is, in my opinion, at least have reasons for your actions/consumption that you can justify to yourself and that are more or less in alignment with your morals and values, and question and reassess your consumption of things and services every now and then. You can always pledge to do better or admit that there are issues with the stuff you like or use. Reduce, delete, stop what you can, instead of going "I can't stop it all so I will bother with none". You really play a role and your existence has an effect! <3

I get the feeling that one part of where we are right now is also because of giving up and losing sight of what consequences our actions have because they are invisible to us. We do not see the ripple effect, how we amplify things, see that it adds up.

Where I live, we don't have to see the sweatshops, or the garbage piling up in the countries we export it to, or the areas that are hit the hardest in climate change; we don't have to enter an Amazon warehouse if we don't want to, we don't have to look into the slaughterhouses and can ignore the videos posted online. When social media is responsible for the erosion of democracy and genocide, the service operates as it usually does for you and your feed seems quite normal. When a million users delete their accounts in protest, you don't even notice, and you think you deleting your account is pointless because you're just one person and "it won't make a difference". But it does make a difference. We are where we are because most people think they are powerless and their actions are a drop in the ocean, but imagine what we can move if everyone realized their power (sounds cringey and fake-deep, but I don't know how else to say it). Your drop adds up to a million other drops. If everyone thought like you, nothing would change.

Of course I won't grill you like in an interview or pressure you, but if it comes up, I kind of wanna know your opinion on the things you use, especially when there are current news about it or you complain about them to me (which I fully understand). Like for example, why do you still have Facebook after all the data scandals and bad effect on society plus the misinformation campaigns? I am always relieved when people at least know of these things and thought about their response to that, and simply concluded to keep it (I don't like it, but I take what I can get in discussions) instead of there being zero thought and just a shrug.

To go with the example: Lots of people have used FB for easy signup for other services, and terminating their account would make login to these other services impossible. When I wanted to delete mine years ago, Spotify did not let me unlink the FB account, so I had to make a completely new Spotify account and transfer my playlists etc. and then delete the older account and then the FB account. I acknowledge that this is simply too exhausting, annoying and not worth it to others, especially with many services, not just one. I hate that it is intentionally designed to be such a hassle and don't blame anyone for not wanting to deal with that. And people building their businesses on social media engagement have very good reasons not to miss out on that! It means their livelihood.

But I am really disappointed if people simply don't know or don't care and also have seemingly never thought about what they're supporting, and seem to not wanna catch up on that even when the discussion or news come up. People who are not in any way reliant on it, too.

If you wanna find an organization to donate money to or to volunteer for, I'm sure you would research their causes and practices, where the money goes to, if it is a scam or not, and if it's something worth supporting. I wonder why you don't do the same to other parts of your daily consumption like your social media profiles, your Amazon account or what you buy at the store.

I wish we were less complacent and would prioritize our own comfort less. I too, have continued to use Amazon all these years despite knowing about everything they do. I did not feel ready to give it up yet, because it was too convenient. From the outside it must have looked morally inconsistent when I deleted my accounts on so many other things, went vegan, changed a lot of what I buy to a zero waste/plasticfree solution, being anti-capitalist and so on. I will now finally delete my account, because I see no benefit to keeping it anymore. The fact that it was not their offenses that made me delete, but the offenses plus becoming a garbage platform full of bad deals and low quality scam articles, is certainly debatable. Ideally, the bad practices against workers and the environment as well as the political issues should have been enough.

And once again, in a throwback to the FB-Spotify thing, I was hit with discomfort: the whole issue of losing digital goods I paid for, because we do not truly own those. It was once again on me to find a workaround to make a deletion possible. I won't lose my Kindle books now.

I also rarely buy from fast fashion, usually once a year or less. I recently did so because it's cuts and material that I can't buy and create myself in a reasonable time yet. I already have enough sewing projects I don't have much time for and I really need to improve my skills for some of these types of clothes and fabric to not be a huge failure (and I don't have the space for a huge amount of fabric). But in the future, I hopefully will have enough skill to create whatever I need, and I usually never need more than 1-2 pieces at a time every year or so, so that is realistic and doable. The things I bought will help for envisioning and comparing the final product, as the aphantasia makes it hard for me to envision things and having a finished product around is great for me. Buying the fabric and supporting pattern creators is better than supporting fast fashion, but for now, I settle for these rare purchases while I try to become better at it. I think my pink faux fur jacket project will teach me a lot of stuff. I envision independence from fast fashion in the future.

The point is, it's not always possible to stop using a service or product, but I think you should still be aware of what that means for your environment and what it can say about you and your values. You should have reasons that seem good enough for you. When anyone asks me about it, I am informed, acknowledge things and have a stance and plan. It can be uncomfortable to be frank with ourselves about where our money or other support goes to, but I think it's worth it. Our lives and our planet depend on it, and the rights of people worldwide. Just research and know why you do things, maybe quit/delete, re-adjust, reduce as you go over the years, instead of putting your head in the sand. You have my immense respect if you do that.

Today I read someone say "“I am not a bigot”/“I am a good person”/etc. cannot be your starting premise for justifying the actions you take. It must be a conclusion that follows from the things you do and support." and it's so true.

(And we shouldn't kid ourselves... keeping your account and simply not logging in is not "owning" the people profiting off of that site or service by "wasting storage space they have to host". Your tweets don't cost them as much as you think they do, and your data of the last 5 years they can and did sell is still making up for the supposed cost even if you choose not to use it anymore for the second month in a row now. Just be realistic.

If you really do not use it at all, bringing up deletion should not make you defensive at all. Why keep a dead account you allegedly do not care for? You can back up its data and move on, take your business elsewhere. Just look at some other services that were shaken up by cancellation waves and either justifiably went bankrupt or backtracked their unacceptable changes. :) )

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