This post is not going to be necessarily deep or complex. It is just going to be about some thoughts that deeply trouble me as I start the work week. Sometimes I feel like I do not recognize the world I live in – of course, these are only generalizations.
*People are exhausted but have no choice but to keep working and working more. Work for the sake of work is valued in our society. The other day I saw the cashier at Wal-Mart with the energy drink, and I felt for her. Rest and relaxation are becoming more of a rarity.
*Good is only valued if it can be showed off on social media. Good has to be tied to a profit, or a celebrity, or a selfie. Do not forget that you should never feed the homeless on the streets though.
We are more “connected” than ever right? We can access others’ lives at anytime, but the human element is missing. Social media often creates envy and jealousy, not love and friendship. Every time I post about this, I get comments on how it is just a tool, and it is how we use it. However, I have to say that it is not only a tool when Facebook admits to purposely manipulating its users. It is not a tool for a 14 year old, waiting for 300 “likes” on the latest selfie. The problem is that balance of social media is not promoted, and now everything is connected to social media. There are countless studies on the negative aspects, yet they are mostly ignored. It is not *only a tool when we are the tools.
*We spend endless amounts of money to go to college and get a degree, only to end up jobless and drowning in debt.
*We are giving our youth the full power of adults before they even understand and know how to handle that power. From choosing their genders to getting phones in the 2nd grade, our kids are being treated as if they are…well…not children. Do our children have their childhoods anymore? Do they play outside? Or are they glued to their phone as soon as they get home from school? I am throwing a lot in here, but as somebody who works with children, I do not envy this upcoming generation.
*Our food makes us sick, and even when people DO have health insurance, it is still terrifying for most to go to the hospital, even in an emergency. There is no denying that food is more processed than ever, and there is no denying that our health care system in America is a joke. This is NOT a conspiracy, really.
People may have food, but that does not mean they have nutrition.
Let us not forget for those who live healthily and do all the “right” things, cancer rates (among other diseases) are on the rise.
*Our education system is a disaster. I have written much about this all over Reddit, so it is hard to summarize everything here. Let’s just say that poor schools are punished for poor performance, and their funding is cut. Wealthy schools are given more money for good performance. If there is any sign that our schools are failing, it cannot be more clear than the treatment of teachers. Underpaid, burnt out, and villainized, more and more teachers are leaving the profession:
The issues in education are endless, but do not worry, because the testing corporations are still making their money!
*We hear all about love and breaking boundaries and barriers today, but doesn’t it feel superficial? It is so easy to preach about love, kindness, and compassion for others, but our actions always speak louder than our words.
*People can call me old-fashioned or too “conservative” but what are our morals and values today? Who are our role models in increasingly broken homes? All I ever here is “do what you want as long as it makes you happy” but is this really the right way?
*Materialism, consumerism, and greed. What do people live for? Is there time to think about the existential questions of life, or is it more important to make sure our social media presence reflects how “happy” we are…Is there any depth in our daily lives? Or do we live through mindless celebrities? One of my favorite books is called “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, and I feel the title is quite fitting for this world. The constant stress to “keep up”, and the illusion of the American Dream…are what we live for?
*Speaking of books, nobody really reads anymore. I am not talking about reading celebrity gossip websites. I am talking about reading that requires discipline.
What do you feel the consequences will be?
*There is an emphasis on youth and beauty, but the wisdom of the elderly is denied. More and more have become obsessed with “living forever”, a theme prevalant in pop culture. Transhumanism is no longer science fiction. Yet, technology is good for the sake of technology right? The ethics issues behind incressing use of technology are simply ignored.
*Mental illness and suicide are on the rise. Yet people have to hide their true feelings from the world. It is almost impossible to get “good” mental health care that is not atrociously expensive, even with “good” health insurance. More and more are suffering silenty with anxiety and depression. Mental illness and suicide are on the rise among Americans. But do not worry – one of your friends just posted a status about how great their life is on Facebook!
I can keep going. As I get ready for work, these thoughts just bombarded me. Many may say I am ignoring the “good” in the world, or that I am being too serious. I disagree. I feel our society chooses to ignore the “bad”, and until a person is directly affected by something I mentioned in this post (or something I did not have time to mention), empathy for others is nonexistent.
Solace comes for me in the beauty of nature (which is continually being destroyed), the power of words (even if people are increasingly apathetic), and my relationships with others (though I find them harder to maintain as people, at least to me, are increasingly self-absorbed).
The world feels upside down today, but I am going to work now, and I have to tell my students that they will be okay. (Non-intended rhyme).
What are your thoughts?