It’s all very serious

Months ago a friend said, “Well, I don’t take anything I think very seriously.”

This made me pause. Because I knew, immediately: I am the opposite.

I take everything I think quite seriously.

Well, okay, not everything. But warnings, alarms, and worries. Little mental flags waving. Internal reminders. Mental lists. Questions and what-ifs. I tend to take all those pretty seriously.

I don’t want to miss anything important. I don’t want to miss a signal that matters. But there’s so much noise. And it’s hard to differentiate: noise or signal. Inflated what-if anxiety that’s unlikely to occur? Or very-possible scenario that almost certainly will occur if I don’t notice and do something to prevent it?

It’s not that hard, I guess, to differentiate. But it’s hard to do in an instant. To sort things out, I have to think about them. Run a little filter. And until the filter’s been run and I can toss a worry in the not-at-all-likely pile, I take it as seriously as a real signal.

A few weeks ago I watched a documentary about DuPont. The filmmakers discussed how easy it is for companies like DuPont to use toxic chemicals because of the U.S. taking a “‘risk-based’ approach to regulation, which puts the burden on government officials to prove that a chemical poses unreasonable health risks before restricting it. The process can take years while evidence of public harm continues to mount” (Source).

Chemicals are considered safe until the EPA proves that they aren’t safe. So companies are free to poison us, our earth, and our water, profiting off sickness and destruction, until the under-funded and over-burdened regulatory arm of our corporate-controlled government can get enough proof together to say, “Hey, um, don’t use that, okay?”

This is, of course, absolutely backwards.

Corporations should have the burden of proof. Should not be allowed to use chemicals without proof of their safety. Should have to fund the research (which should be conducted by non-interested third parties) needed to determine if any chemical is safe for use or not. Then, and only then, the EPA should review a corporation’s proposed use of a chemical and approve or disapprove it. The end. [If you agree, vote. And don’t vote Republican.]

And now, allow me to create a convoluted analogy which helps me: my overwhelmed filtering process should not bear the burden of proof. Instead, the thoughts themselves should be required to have evidence of validity to even get into the filtering process.

My filters need filters.

Because very few of my thoughts are serious.
And almost none of them are truly urgent.