Just about everyone has some sort of cause that they support. Just scroll down your Facebook news feed and you’ll see a whole bunch. Right now I’ve got a complaint about tuition fees, one environmentalist post, and a couple of people speaking out against an anti-terrorism bill. Pretty typical stuff, albeit lacking the usual post cursing the oppressive patriarchy.

And what about me then – what’s my cause? Even if you know me very well, you probably can’t think of anything off the top of your head, can you?

That’s because I don’t really have a cause. There’s not really anything that I feel strongly enough about to get up onto a pedestal and scream and shout about it. But what I will do is gaze up at the pedestal where other people are screaming and shouting and tell them that there’s no need to scream and shout about whatever is it that they’re screaming and shouting about.

I’m a passivist. And I know that’s not a real word, but it’s the best way to convey this idea that I have.

Simply put, a passivist – not to be confused with a pacifist – is someone who opposes activism. And to a fairly large extent that’s what I do, isn’t it? I look at the issues people raise and I usually respond in at least one of the following four ways, though there are others:

1. The problem that you’re complaining about isn’t really that big a deal.

2. The method of protest you’ve chosen is going to be completely ineffective at achieving your stated goal.

3. Everyone already agrees with you.

4. You’re demanding the impossible.

 

Now personally, I think that passivism is one of my greatest strengths. Anyone can freak out about something. Anyone can make a mountain out of a molehill. But not everyone can say “Everyone chill the fuck out, this isn’t actually a big deal.” Not everyone can analyse a controversial issue with a level head, see both sides of an argument, and tell both sides that their problems are not as big as they seem. To me, that’s a valuable skill, and it’s one the world could use more of.

The problem is that very few others agree. “Passivist” isn’t something you can put on your resume if you hope to get hired. No interviewer is going to be impressed when you tell him that your biggest passion is telling other people that the things that they’re passionate about aren’t all that important. No one wants to hear that, no matter how true those words might ring.

Being a passivist is a job that commands virtually no respect, but it’s an absolutely vital one. And although sometimes I do wish I could be the sort of person to rant and rave about something – anything – this is the sort of person I am, for better or worse. I can be no other.

 

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