In a poor ‘Yoda’ impression: “Discontent leads to frustration, frustration leads to anger and anger leads to suffering.” In the twenty-first century mankind stands at a stalemate, so much has been invented, discovered and achieved in such a short period of years that we can’t, not only, keep up but are losing that most vivacious and significant spark of our natures, that of hope and aspiration.
To quote “The Lion King” or “Doctor Who”, “There’s more to see that can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done…” and globally we are starting to feel that. We either contort those words to become, “What can I see that has never been seen, what can I do that has never been done” or we are continually vexed and plagued by them.
A century ago, within living memory of some of our own relatives, life was not necessarily better but it was simpler. There was great inequality between the sexes so that woman couldn’t battle and change the system overnight. They had a cause to fight for but this now has plateau-ed. The class system was rife and mankind had to find contentment at their level and though they could aspire for more there were limits.
Now, however, continental travel is cheap, products and services are accessible and that ‘something’, which people believe will bring them happiness, is now so near but still elusive. We want so much more because we know that we can have so much more. Things that were impossible to achieve just a hundred years ago now taunt us. Everyone wants to live a good and full life and now there’s no time to do everything that’s possible and less of a restless need to explore and invent because there’s so much else to work to own.
In this way our achievements are always undermined by our potential goals and job satisfaction becomes the daily grind that is a means to an end. There is a hopelessness in society that hasn’t been present for generations because as we have advanced the width and breadth of our possible goals has become seemingly insurmountable. We can never keep up with the Jones because the Jones are no longer our village neighbours but a global media network where someone will always have more.
This feeling of failure and insignificance to change and further the world leads to depression, self-anger and inactivity as tasks seem impossible and too scary and lofty to even aim for. There is an increase in mass media, watching TV, reality shows to live vicariously through others. Families are strangers due to the fact that the job market is so poor that everyone has to go above and beyond, work longer hours for lesser pay because they know that there are a hundred other people that could easily replace them. The developed world is educated with more degree graduates than jobs so that so many can’t find career fulfilment or stimulation.
The one thing that saved people in such a crisis in the past was looking for wisdom, leadership and purpose in religion but now, with so much apathy, too much knowledge and a depressing realism of the world that rips at dreams and fantastical theories, even that is empty to many.
Thus there is an increase in alcoholism and smoking, even though we know the determents, they don’t matter as much anymore in life’s monotony and an increase in violent crime and sexual perversions – something, anything to make mankind feel and experience again.
We are our own undoers but no society can thrive like this. Even basic scientific principals state that there is a survival instinct in every organism and the world is one giant organism. Society will be shaken up when those with influence speak out. At the moment the powerful of our nations do not want to disturb the status quo as the material things we are encouraged to want encourage capitalism and profit but true happiness will come from a sense and understanding of self and embracing the real relationships and memories that make us want to live and fight on and that day will come again.