If someone walked up to you on the street and asked you "what is your cause," how would you respond?
You might ask for clarification. "Are you inquiring about my origin, or my purpose? Where I came from or what I'm pursuing? What caused me, or what cause I am passionate about?"
If it's the former -- what caused you -- then that's a pretty deep question, not to mention a personal one, and depending on your ontological perspective, your response may range from the scientific to the divine.
If it's the latter -- what cause are you passionate about -- then you may be one of those people who is heavily involved with a particular cause, perhaps a disease or condition that effects you or someone you love(d); or you may be the type who is involved in a variety of causes, who rallies to the aid of anyone (or anything) disenfranchised or vulnerable; or you may be too busy for any cause other than providing for those who rely on you to pay the bills and keep food on the table.
And of course, regardless of the intent of the question, the answer may simply be "I don't know. I don't know how I got here or what I'm supposed to be doing." And not knowing is okay. Not asking, however, is unacceptable.
How can we be alive and not wonder why we live? And not just wonder about life, but wonder at life -- marvel at the enormity of it, the complexity, the profundity. Good or bad, life is awesome. It is full of possibility and opportunity, and it demands from us to know how we will utilize this life that we have been granted (whether by chance or by providence) to do something productive and purposeful. "What is your Cause?"
Of course, once you start to delve into the question of your cause, it isn't long before you will start to wonder about your effect. Am I effectively fulfilling my purpose? Am I affecting any positive change in those causes that I have chosen to pursue? Can I ever really succeed in doing all that needs to be done? And not succeeding is okay. Not attempting, however, is unacceptable.
It is particularly unacceptable today, when there are so many ways to be cause-conscious and to make a difference. It used to be that activism demanded significant energy and time. With the advent of the internet, however, we do not have to travel to the other end of the globe, or venture into dangerous situations closer to home, to witness the plight of those who need our help.
In addition to this greater exposure and awareness, we are also granted endless ways to participate from our own living room - donating, volunteering, signing petitions, etc. This type of "clicktivism" has been derided by some in the activist community, but while it may not replace the need for more committed engagement, it can assure that every single one of us is doing something positive, rather than just those zealots who are willing to devote themselves completely.
Cause-consciousness does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. Rather, it can be the infusion of thoughtfulness and generosity into every mundane activity that we perform. With an increasing number of "Social Enterprises" surfacing daily, we are now able to purchase a wide array of products and services that promote sustainability and provide a portion of proceeds to organizations and individuals in need.
eflixir.com is one of these new social ventures, the first which curates thousands of uplifting Hollywood movies and donates to charity every time you watch. In addition, every film is linked to a handful of thematically related causes so that viewers can immediately act upon the inspiration they get from watching. eflixir is based on the incredible power of film to inspire people and on the notion that we can be cause-conscious at all times, even when we are simply kicking back to be entertained.
What is my cause? Encouraging people to constantly think about, and act upon, their cause. What is my effect? That depends, in part, on whether you share this article and help spread the good word.