When you witness something you dislike in a distant sphere, it can be very upsetting. A politician says something you dislike? A tragedy in a far-off city? A growing movement of opinions you disagree with? All things that can rattle you.
The natural inclination for many is to seethe and outrage. To scream into the void, probably finding other voices like yours to scream with. You’ll let that thought rot and fester in your brain and heart. You’ll bring it up in every conversation – at least until the next outrage displaces it. And all your sound and fury will signify nothing. It won’t make a lick of difference. Not only will you be doing a bunch of damage to your own life, but you won’t even be trading that for helping those you feel for or hurting their oppressors.
I would like to offer you an alternative. You should pay a dollar not to care.
The second – the second – something outrages you, find the best charity or fund that exists in support of the side you support. Give them a dollar. Post the fact that you did so if you want. But then immediately shut off all awareness of it. Mute the relevant keywords, unfollow the accounts, or turn off the black mirror entirely. Live your life.
And live it well, and sleep soundly! You did more with one dollar than all those screaming voices did. If all those outraged souls shut up and gave one dollar each, much more would be accomplished. Your conscience is clear. Why one dollar, and not more? Well, first off: give as much as you want. But if you make it a dollar, you can probably safely give without further thought, every single time. A larger share of your wealth requires more consideration and you may have to do more picking and choosing, but the point is not to do that. The point is a quick escape from the trap. One dollar is already more than 99% of the outraged will give to help, and it does help.
And it lets you disengage without turning your back. Sometimes, it may even be a great filter: if you give a dollar and still feel like you want to do more, listen to your soul and do it. But once you give that dollar, you can’t go back to pointless outrage.