As Joanna Macy reminds us, "Information by itself can increase resistance [to engagement], deepening the sense of apathy and powerlessness." Stories about particular individuals and specific situations usually have the opposite effect. By giving unwieldy problems a human face, they also bring them down to a human-and thus manageable-scale.
Those who make us believe that anything’s possible and fire our imagination over the long haul, are often the ones who have survived the bleakest of circumstances. The men and women who have every reason to despair, but don’t, may have the most to teach us, not only about how to hold true to our beliefs, but about how such a life can bring about seemingly impossible social change.