What the hell are we doing? What is happening to society? Is this the hyped up version of the Instagram world where people need to commit acts of violence and atrocities to get their 15 minutes of fame? It can’t be. It must be something more.
I blame capitalism and the social fabric it has woven over the last few decades. Too many people are being left behind, too many people are being marginalised. Add to that the advent of social media, and the ease by which we judge others, and we’ve got a lot of people with messed up minds. We all fall victim to the feeling of shame, degradation, and hopelessness (unless you’re a wealthy white male, then you’re all good). It’s how we get out of that that truly defines our actions and, but sadly, people aren’t being equipped with the ‘hop out of this hellhole that I call my mind’ tools that they desperately need. Unless you have a stable childhood full of love and affirmation, chances are you’re going to turn out pretty screwed up.
Thanks to capitalism, we are pushed around a cycle of trying to find happiness elsewhere- in iPhones, alcohol, material things and quick highs. But when the happy wears off, we’re left with a lot of darkness to contend with, and oftentimes, it gets spelled out in violence. It can be as simple as swearing at the whole street because your parking coins don’t work, roughing up a fourteen year old kid for wearing the ‘wrong’ sneakers (sorry I mean trainers), or smashing beer bottles at a wall in an abandoned parking lot. It can also get more complicated, and I don’t need to imagine anything because we’ve seen well-covered violence happen all over Europe (particularly Germany and France), especially lately.
My one steadfast response to this is: WHOLESOME EDUCATION, and very few countries in the world, let alone education systems, actually do this. I’d say no country in the world focuses on personal growth alongside academic growth but there’s so much praise for Finland and Denmark I’m not going to be quite so outlandish. Children need to learn from a young age what responsibility is, how their responsibility affects other people. They need to learn the impact of their work and actions, as well as gain mediation tools and self-reflection. Constructive criticism goes a long way, as does being able to let negative emotions go, or work through negative emotions rather than let them grow and create a harmful environment for themselves and everyone around them.
For me, if you can help nurture a society in which people are able to deal with other people and most importantly, deal with themselves, then already we will deflate a lot of conflict. The one thing that I learned in three years doing Peace Studies is that peace is cheaper than war. Peace is cheaper to instil than it is for us to wage a war. But you know what? Capitalism profits from war, which is why we are being kept pushed down, stifled. Because Capitalism would rather we foot their fat pay checks than for us to actually live out peaceful happy lives.
In order for us to have meaningful change, we need to stop hashtagging prayers and actually start changing the system. Let’s start with education, let’s start by giving ordinary people the tools to help themselves from themselves. Let’s start by making society an easier place to live for everyone, by actually instilling social change rather than listening to Jeremy Corbyn go on about it. Let’s educate children, let’s give them the tools to advance themselves and improve themselves. Let’s slowly chip away at this war-hungry system that we have somehow gotten ourselves into (not by accident, I’m sure).
Yes I’m idealistic but so was Nelson Mandela once upon a time. As he says, ‘Everything is impossible until it is done’.