What is wrong with society today?

“koi fishes” by Alice Mourou on Unsplash

What is wrong with our society today?


You probably think I’m trolling here, but hear me out.

In a world where we prioritize the symbols of success and happiness, is it any wonder that people seek these things instead of learning to cultivate happiness in the present moment, despite the evidence that happiness derived from outside oneself is transient? Society is working exactly as it should given the choices we have made.

At a time where we observe thieves, liars, charlatans, criminals and crooks in every institution on the planet, can we really be surprised? Human beings have not set up societies to ensure its survival. As a result, some of us simply die. But others refuse to. They do not have the skills to make it to the top, or they learnt “how the world works” from those who did not have the skills to make a living either. They pry on the fodder of the reptilian brain: fear. Given that we have not ensured the survival of each and every one of us, observing death and those who dare to defy death (even if it causes the death of others) is not surprising and does not imply that something is wrong with society. This is, in fact, exactly what would happen.

Most of us fail to see that there is no enemy. We are all here to experience life. That is the purpose of life. It is so obvious that we miss it everyday and spend years searching for what is hilariously inherent. Yet, we act as if people are trying to destroy the world like some comic book villain. The fact is, we all have different ideas about how to ensure our survival. Some of us think that we should kill certain subsets of the population because they are sub-human and a liability. We call them evil. To them, they are righteous. Most men do not consider themselves evil, and those that do are paying mere lip service because they do what they think is good for themselves. Call the names: Hitler, Stalin, Leopold II of Belgium, Vlad Dracula, Idi Amin, Genghis Khan… These are men who did wicked things. But could I not include Obama, Tony Blair or Bush? Didn’t innocent people die under their command? Dracula is quite the case but one must give heed as to why an innocent child would grow up to become someone who impaled people through their anus for his pleasure. Hell, I could put myself on this list and probably you too. We all want to improve the world, but guess what? We sometimes do despicable things to get to the peace that we want. Our inability to see each other as wanting the same things is what causes the xenophobia, hatred and war. But we still value separation, so separate we remain. Society continues to make sense.

I get it. You might be thinking that I’m circumventing the issues to be cute. But when your laptop doesn’t turn on you wonder if something is wrong with it. If you discover that it isn’t plugged in, was anything really wrong with the laptop? Then again… if there was a virus and the laptop doesn’t boot up, surely there is something wrong with the laptop. And yet, it is operating exactly as it should, given the circumstances.

If you haven’t stopped reading yet, thank you. I’m going to wrap this up now. I still do not think anything is wrong with society, but if there was something I thought would be a problem (but really still isn’t), it would be perspective.

For me, I look at the world and its moving parts and it is hard to ascribe blame to anything one thing. One mind could say the Blacks are the problem. Another mind would say selfishness. Another mind might say religion. Yet another mind could say dualism. If any of these minds had a will to, they could “save the world” and try to destroy these things. It won’t work though, because you always become what you hate. Just ask the racist who got arrested in NY the other day or Stalin or Atheists who NEED you to stop being religious. Case in point: people hate Trump’s violent, exclusionary rhetoric, and then proceed to become violent and hate everyone who doesn’t agree with what they think. You can think you’re right all day long, you’re still a part of the “problem”.

Ultimately, you can list the usual suspects of why the world is bad and I would probably agree. Of course judgment hurts us! Of course greed cripples society! But I see the judgment, greed, indiscipline, disrespect, cruelty, nationalism, individualism, left-wing, right-wing, hot and cold of it all as necessary and useful, hence no problem (but you’ll miss it if you don’t share my perspective). It shows us what we need to correct. We all hate thieves but we wouldn’t have them if we truly were our brother’s keeper. We wouldn’t have suicide-rates as they are if people realized that happiness is within. We wouldn’t need to fight if we remembered we’re on the same team with similar issues. But what is happening in our world is serving us as a reminder of what NOT to do. The fact that it is correcting itself slowly is reassuring. But people complain like it’s 450 BC or 2 AD or 2017. It’s all relative and what you focus on will always yield a matching emotion.

My perspective causes me to see certain events as natural consequences. To be honest, if people continued to be exclusionary and that somehow caused unity, that would be weird! If people became crooks in a society that has equal opportunity and security of life for all, that would be a HUGE problem. If people killed one another to ensure their survival and absolutely no one else came along and tried the same tactic to gain their idea of survival, that would be f*cking strange.

People talk about fixing the world. What exactly do they want to fix? The model is working and has been all along. And while I don’t expect some to get what I’m saying and maybe even get pissed, the anger is still there, working exactly as it would, serving you. But maybe you get what I’m saying. And maybe a change in perspective would cause us to deal with the issues differently.

(Originally posted on Quora)



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Jason Henry

Jason Henry

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”