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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Is the World a Worse Place?

This is nothing new and I have discussed it both here, as well as over to The Rundown, several times before, but this being the holiday season - and due to some personal betrayals lately - it has been weighing on my mind:

Is the world a worse place today than it was in the past? I mean, is there something failing in our general cultural and social values, especially in America?

I realize we don't necessarily throw Christians to the lions and so forth; we have cutlery, microwaves, computers and the Internet, blahblahblah; but I am not talking about technological or similar advances. Life is more convenient, in many ways easier, but that isn't what this is about. I think people today are angrier and more violent than they have been in the last several generations. Or, maybe it's just that there has been a recent dearth of true humanitarian and philosophical advancements to offset Man's nature?

I have spent a lot of time wrestling with this whole concept. Previously, this anger and violence seemed to be aimed at specific people/groups - Jews, Christians, black Americans, homosexuals - and still is, but there is a general anger and hatred nowadays, a blanket frustration with everything that seems always on the verge of erupting into violence. So, to some extent, it can be argued that nothing much has changed, but I remain steadfast in my opinion that the world is just a worse place now than before.

In the past, this anger and hatred was somewhat contained, or at least controlled. Anger, violence, hatred, frustration, and open hostility seem omnipresent across the board today; it appears in popular entertainment, religious beliefs, politics - it's everywhere. Everyone has some group or belief system they "hate" and everyone finds some reason(s) to be offended whenever possible. And instead of encouraging people to work through this, society is actively supporting their "right" to be angry, to be offended, to "vent" their frustrations and confront their offenders and so on.

And yes, venting your anger and frustration is far healthier than denying and suppressing it, but I think the real problem is that society is supporting peoples' right to feel negative, without offering any positive outlets or solutions. We have become a society that validates negative feelings without putting them into context or defining how to handle them. This has lead to an overly litigious, consistently violent society which has become obsessed with finding joy in in others' human frailties.

And while I am specifically talking about America, it's obvious from a quick scan of any day's world news and events that this applies generally to the entire globe.

Of course, I like to at least try to suggest some solution when I discuss a problem, and that's my suggestion: let's try harder to develop, popularize, and promote healthy, positive outlets for this widespread anger and frustration. We can't rely on the courts, nor any legal or political system to do so; such factions in America are concerned solely with profiting from others' bad choices.

I really am going to do my part, because I have been increasingly frustrated and angry lately, and I need to find more constructive ways to not only express these feelings (blogging really is a good way, for me, to express this anger, but it doesn't change anything) but get rid of them somehow - find some way to channel them into something positive and hopefully constructive.

So look forward to more posts along these lines in coming months.

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