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MLA Full: "History Is Happening." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 19 December 2017,
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The Project for Awesome t-shirt:

In which John discusses scrolling, dread, the social Internet in 2017, the Project for Awesome, and whether history is something that happens to us.

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Good Morning Hank it’s Tuesday and I AM TIRED.
I don’t mean just physically tired, although I am that, I mean like metaphysically tired.

I feel like my brain and also my voice are kind of limping to the finish line of 2017.  This is eventually going to be a happy and celebratory video but first I have to tell you what’s wrong with me.

Some of it is just my mental health problem, too much work and travel and not enough sleep and exercise are bad for my OCD.

But there are also larger forces at work like lately I feel compelled to scroll through my social media feeds for hours on end even though the scrolling generally makes me feel worse.

Because of my mental illness I’ve often felt like a passenger in my own consciousness with no sovereignty over the thoughts that are called mine. And lately scrolling through the social internet I tend to feel like a passenger in the larger consciousness. As if history isn’t something that we make together but instead is something that is happening to us.

James Joyce called history “a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” and the history around us does often feel like a nightmare to me.

I don’t know if this is true for other people but I often feel powerless in the face of injustice, and inequality, and violence, and also social and political structures that don’t just allow for oppression but in some cases actively encourage it.

I mean I’m just one person and I tire easily and I feel like I can’t do anything except scroll.

But that is a lie and this weekend I was reminded that it’s a lie when thousands of people came together from all over the world for the eleventh annual Project for Awesome, which as I’m recording this has raised almost 2 million dollars for charity.

By the way you can still donate until midnight tonight at where there are still great perks available including New Zealand nickels, and Project for Awesome socks, and signed copies of my book Turtles All the way Down.

And also at you can get this amazing Project for Awesome t-shirt, all proceeds go to charity.

But whether you participated in the Project for Awesome by donating, or making a Project for Awesome video, or by commenting, or by joining us in the Live stream, Thank You.

Thank you for reminding me that the social internet is not only about passive scrolling. It’s also about hearing stories we wouldn’t otherwise hear and becoming better informed, and making deeper connections with each other.

You reminded me that social internet can be a platform for activism and fundraising that truly does make the world suck less.

And along the way you reminded me of something else, it’s not just that we as individuals CAN change the world, we ARE changing the world every day, each of us through the choices we make.

The world isn’t somehow separate from our actions, and passions, and beliefs. The world is made out of our actions, and passions, and beliefs.

During the first half of Project for Awesome this year we raised money for two great organizations, Save the Children and Last Mile Health. And the CEO of Last Mile Health, Raj Panjabi who grew up in Liberia, share with us something his father often told him “No condition is permanent” 

Not the good conditions and not the bad ones.

Inequality of access to healthcare and educational opportunities are not permanent conditions, we know this because we’ve seen dramatic reductions around the world.

But political and social stability also aren’t permanent conditions, nor is peace or progress.

No condition is permanent and while there are big forces acting upon and within us, we are not mere passengers in history.

The human story isn’t something we’re scrolling through, it’s something we’re part of. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Hank I’ll see you on Friday.