Warning: you may not like what you read today. And if it piques, ask yourself why.
What strange times we live in.
Imagine you are not from the country that you live in. Take a moment.
Now look at it with as objective a view as you can.
Do the people in your country care for each other? Do they work together in harmony? Do they strive to make it a better place to live in? Or, are efforts made just for the few?
Now let us step away from that country, pull back as though you were a camera lens, a film shot pans out, and we see the Earth. Ask the same questions.
Are you satisfied with what you see?
Are there people in this world who do not have what you have? Are there people in this world who do not even have the basics for sustainable life? Are there people dying needlessly? Are children dying needlessly?
We think we are being a good person when we make a donation to a charity. We think we are a good person when we drop coins into a ‘begging bowl’. We think we are good when we buy a poppy, a copy of The Big Issue, use a charity shop, recycle.
But we need to seriously ask ourselves the question – Who am I doing it for? For many, this is actually a self-serving activity. We tell ourselves, ‘I’m a good person because I ….fill in the gap…’
But are we doing this to make ourselves feel better? To alleviate a little guilt? To be able to proclaim to others that, yes, I am a giving kind of person.
We live in an age of self-obsession like never before. Of course there have been cultures in the past, in which people have been worshipped and adored; the ancient Greeks, Gladiators and Romans. But because they did it, does that mean it is alright now? Are we not a progressive being; do we not strive to improve?
We all know how easy it can be to get attention via social media, and the biggest item used by regular folk today is the selfie; the ultimate tool in the self-obsessives kit.
Now that we have the front-facing camera on our smartphones, the way we take pictures and share them has changed. So convenient, so ‘trendy’, so self-obsessed; we never to stop to ask – is it good for us, good for others? What a bizarre question, you may say, but if you step back and apply the ‘imagine you’re from another planet’ test, you begin to see how truly strange this activity is.
Why do we think anyone wants to see our every move? Why do we think the rest of the community wants to see our pouting lips, thrusting hips, girlfriend’s arse, boyfriend’s pecs, a new hairstyle, lipstick, every inch of the human body has been photographed to within an inch of its life. We all have one, so why do we feel the need to show ours to everyone else?
We are so self-obsessed, that when someone ‘famous’ dies, or an horrific incident kills many, there is a public outpouring of grief, a gross display of ‘how I feel’. People don’t want to hear this or be honest about it, but there is a strange reaction to the victim(s) and the event: around the inner circle of family and friends, a second layer begins, the people who did not know those involved, but ‘want to express their love’. Outside of this, complete strangers arrive to ‘show solidarity’ at this sad time.
But, we must ask ourselves, who are we doing this for?
Are we actually empathising, feeling the sadness of loss that the family feel, or are we pandering to our own, selfish need to feel like we are a part of it? Can we not feel something without a public display? Why the need to be seen placing flowers at a site that has absolutely no relevance to us, other than, the true answer – I need to be seen to grieve, I need to be seen to be a feeling/thoughtful person. I need to be seen to do something.
I need to be seen.