A lot of adults go to therapy because of problems stemming from their childhood. I’m convinced this is because many people grow older and never learn to reconcile their past. They just get better at hiding from their feelings or distracting themselves with media or drowning out the pain with substances.
Acts of dysfunction like violence and abuse arise out of an inability to communicate our innermost thoughts and feelings. I’d go so far as to say most people lack the self-knowledge and reflective discipline to conduct regular psycho-emotional system status checks, so they can’t tell they’re driving through life with their check healthy emotional regulation light on.
In school, they should teach us applied ethics. Teachers are so caught up with teaching facts they fail to develop well-rounded, cognizant individuals. Imagine if we had daily meditations on the relationships between social conformity, misaligned societal norms, and unrealistic media portrayals. Or the rise of industrialism in America and how Andrew Carnegie and Rockefeller destroyed families and people’s health to become evil tycoons. Or how anti-trust laws are becoming weakened and the consumer protection bureau has no teeth. Or thoughtful interventions regarding the nuanced discussion that should be had about historically prejudicial race and gender relations.
Kids can’t be kids. Those high school actors are in their twenties. And I know a grandma who remembers when women were finally allowed to wear jeans in America.
What would it be like if as early as age 13 girls were welcomed to a discussion on the pressures of feminine mystique and Western culture’s sick propensity for hyper-sexualization and the selling out of our kids’ well-being through objectification?
Shocking, I know, to try to provide an anti-venom to the viral Internet.
There are no role models. There are no leaders. The moral vanguards are hidden behind the gates of academia because ethics ain’t profitable. Shout out to Matha Nussbaum and Peter Singer. There is no voice of reason, yelling from a bully pulpit the urgency that is our kids’ well-being.
But, please, accept these thoughts and prayers.
We’re so caught up in keeping up with Joneses (or Kardashians), chasing the almighty dollar, our own emotional issues, our fear of lawsuits, getting by on jobs we hate so we can afford things that don’t satisfy us, the selfishness of our neighbors, earning social media likes, becoming famous, or finding the next big thing that we never stop to consider the damage we’re doing to each other.
Here are some facts that we should be talking about probably on a weekly basis:
1. Despite the social hierarchy, we all fundamentally want the same things.
2. These things are acceptance, inclusion, belonging, and love.
3. Even though we want this love, most people expend way too much energy judging the inadequacies of others, most likely because people tend to operate on a vicious cycle of ego-tripping.
4. We’re not happy, and no one is being honest about it.
We’re letting the media decide our debates. Caravans of immigrants aren’t the problem. Political corruption is a distant issue. Instead, leaders need to be addressing the fact that:
- The majority of the wealth being generated in the world is going to a fraction of a fraction of the global population;
- Millions are going to die because of corporate greed destroying the earth;
- Corporations can anonymously funnel money into campaigns;
- Great, unbiased journalism is threatened internationally by assassination, hot takes, and pandering for views;
- Almost 1/3 of the global population doesn’t have access to safe water;
- And poor Americans can’t afford quality dental care or access to mental health resources.
We’re eating dinner alone. We’re lonely. We’ve stigmatized mental health but we celebrate the grotesque fakeness of pop icons. They’re packaged. They’re surgically improved. It’s all smoke and mirrors. And too many of us are eating right out of the hands of these savages.
We don’t know how to fix ourselves.
And no one is talking about it.
So talk about it.