With the recent explosion in opinionated and ignorant social media posts, I wanted to take a chance and put in my two cents. I’m not by any means an expert but I do learn through experience. I make observations about the world and try to ask questions that make you think differently about the solutions we seek for our incessant problems. I hope to tackle them one-by-one going off of feedback and the opinions of whoever cares enough to respond.
I see today’s boost in violence towards women as one of many effects brought on by the lack of a proper education and the further development of the “Lazy America.” As a man with a slight confidence issue, I have a very different perspective on catcalling and the male gender in general. I have never seen the female gender as lesser to a male or as an object. I attribute that to my upbringing. From day 1 it was a constant “You will respect women”. “You will never raise your hand to a woman.” “If you ever hit a woman, I will hit you 10 times as hard.” For that I am grateful. I was taught respect. Not just for women but for every human being on this earth. Whether you’re a homeless man or a fortune 500 company CEO, I will never consider myself better than you. Everyone comes from a different walk of life and it is impossible to compare one human being to another. There are far too many variables to make a judgment. People are a cultivation of their experiences and no two people have an identical perspective. That’s part of the beauty of the human species.
I digress. The issue at hand is the mal-treatment of women and of other members of our human race. When did it all go wrong? Why in the last 15 years or so have there been so many hate crimes or explosions of violence in our world? To me, it’s the combination of a few important factors that are incredibly easy to overlook but are absolutely key in terms of a peaceful, sensible life.
Part 1) With the introduction of the internet into our lives a few things changed. We have complete access to the world around us. That satisfies a sweet tooth of knowledge that our generation craves more than anything. “I want to know it and I want to know it now!” We are obsessed with outdoing our predecessors and not living under their shadow. We have a thirst and ambition that has never existed before and I attribute that in part to the way our economy functions.
We are a capitalistic society in which the motto is “I have the right to get as filthy, stinking rich as possible.” We are trained from day one to push ourselves in order to get more. The main goal seeming to be money. More money=an easier life. That’s the American Dream. No financial woes. The issue with the opposing system, communism, being that if we all work for the good of everyone, where is my motivation to work harder? I am not benefiting from working harder. I don’t see any sort of return on my investment. I work twice as hard as Tom next door but we have the same income, same home and same lifestyle. Tom decided that he doesn’t have to break his back because people like me will pick up his slack. Communism fails because mankind is selfish by nature.
We have (according to Freud), 2 instinctual principles that power our decision making on some level or another; protection of ourselves and the protection of our species. That boils down to “we fight for survival and we copulate to protect the future of our species.” The fall of the Communist way of life gave way to the boom of the “American Way.” We look out for ourselves and not much else. That seems to be the motto of our country. That works just fine when it comes to hard work but there are so many flaws and holes in our system that prevent the equation “Hard Work=Success” to ring true. Nowadays it seems that whoever starts with the most, ends with more and whoever starts with the least somehow loses it all.
But back to our selfish nature, it is largely in part of our society and economy that we push ourselves to be the best, to have the most and not accept defeat.
Part 2) Our education system has begun to push itself in the direction of “You need to learn this, not that.” Certain things are becoming emphasized and others are being dropped. We as a generation are picking and choosing what should be taught and what shouldn’t. We are spoon-feeding knowledge to our youth and preventing them from understanding the world on their own. Everything comes with an instruction manual and the foundation of education is being depleted. Our school system has stopped educating and is instructing. The main difference being that we are no longer teaching our students to think. We are teaching them to do. “Here is how you solve a math equation.” “This is how you build a motherboard.” “Here’s a step-by-step guide to painting a tree.” We are becoming sheep that are herded with no ability to think for ourselves.
The video game boom creates a wonderful sense of hand-eye coordination and immerses youth (and adults) in an imaginary world of beauty and at times Violence (I’ll get into that more later). What it prevents is the imagination from flowing. It has a scripted story that was created to keep you engaged. It feeds you the visuals and sounds that you crave like a drug and you are mesmerized; just like many of our modern movies. It’s visual heroin. It keeps us subdued in a way that only an illegal substance can. We need those hours and hours of forced stimulation because we are becoming more and more lazy and don’t want to create our imaginary world on our own.
With this lack of self-thinking, we lose what our generation calls “common sense.” This not-so-common resource was engrained in our brains from a young age. We and those who came before us learned through experience. We touched a hot stove once and never again. We understood that if you make a mistake, you fix it and don’t make the same mistake again. It’s just common sense. We didn’t have the internet to research life before we engaged with it. We ran into battle full force. If we came out with bruises, that means we learned something valuable. Nowadays it’s a constant “I wasn’t told I can or can’t do that so I didn’t.” That is a result of our force-feeding of education and culture in general. We can’t continue to dictate what is learned and how it’s learned. There is no appropriate standard of how each specific person learns because we are all wired differently. That would be like trying to attach millions of different batteries to the same light bulb. Some may work but other cause the bulb to burst and some aren’t strong enough to power the bulb beyond a subtle dim. No two human minds function exactly the same and should not be treated as so.
Recently I was at work having a similar discussion with two fellow employees and there was a school group present doing a scavenger hunt through the visitors center. My colleague noticed that the door to the courtyard was stuck open and the AC was flooding out the door. The door stopper had fallen down and was loose. She proceeded to take a screwdriver and fix the door with the children careening through the halls. As she was bent down in front of the door tightening the screw, a student around the age of 12 had to enter the courtyard for a part of the exercise. Rather than using the door to the left he attempted to open the door that my colleague was fixing. Nothing in his head told him that there’s a person working on the door and that he should use the one next to it. There wasn’t a presence of this so-called “Common Sense.”
So with the combination of this lack of common sense, the desire to push ourselves to be the best, and the laziness that has characterized our society, we start to see a few effects take shape.
When it comes to dating and relationships, we all try to outdo each other. In the male mind it’s a constant “I want that girl. She’s hot.” It becomes a competition. Sometimes with others, sometimes within themselves. The last 20 or so years have given dating a whole new face. We no longer wait until marriage to engage in a physical relationship. I probably can name 4 people that I know are still virgins and I have the utmost respect for them. Our bodies have changed from something that is sacred to something that is a fun hobby or something to take the stress away. It used to be that the most personal thing you could do with a person is engage with them completely; physically, mentally, emotionally. Now it’s impossible to get that same connection with a human being because those emotions are no longer present when the physicality is engaged.
Whose fault is that? Everyone’s. Society has pressured both men and women in different ways to proceed with this sort of behavior. Online dating and even social media has put forth information and images that allow us to materialize each other and find out more about someone than we ever will through conversation. Guys are once again thrown into a competition of “Who’s got more game?” and it’s nauseating. The ones who fail at this competition are mocked, bullied, ridiculed and it takes a toll on them. With the recent shootings in Santa Barbara, we see proof that people will crack when put under this pressure. I’m in no way justifying the shooter or sympathizing with his point of view. He needed help and it was far too late to give it to him. I’m trying to identify the main cause of the issue so we can prevent it from happening in the future.
For the women (from what I can see/understand seeing as how I am in fact not a woman), the whole subject has snowballed. In college, even high school in a lot of cases, there is a pressure to please your boyfriend/significant other. If you don’t, he might not stay around because he can get it from another source. Sex is no longer a showing of love. It has become an attempt to please someone in order to make them stay. In some cases, the women are playing a game similar to men in which they are trying to just hook-up with whoever they find attractive. As a male who has never joined the so-called “game” I can only comment as an outsider with limited access through conversations with friends and significant others who have participated and been found wanting. This “game” everyone plays is the reason why it’s all getting out of control. Men pressure the women, if they give in, they’re just allowing the men to win that round which then gives them the thought “I can just pressure and get what I want.”, if they resist and deny, the man will leave and look for it elsewhere. If he continues to get shot down maybe he will learn that sex and love are not a game and that they are more than just a fun activity to pass the time.
The issue with that theory being that some men, even some women, won’t take that lightly. They don’t have that common sense understanding of “no. you haven’t earned it so why should you get it?” To them, it’s “give me what I want or else…” and that is the scary reality that we’re now living in. The respect is gone. Not just the male respect of the female gender but complete respect for each other. We are all fighting battles that no one could ever know so why do we insist on making things worse?
This issue doesn’t only exist in the realm of relationships either. All across the board we are seeing a boost in insensitivity between people which directly correlates with a spike in the sensitivity of individuals. We are becoming more and more rude and nasty to each other while taking extreme offense to everything we see and hear. Nothing can be seen as purely satire anymore. Everything is over-analyzed and put under the proverbial microscope. In fact, as you’re reading this you’re likely jotting down notes to tear me apart in the comment section. That’s fine. I want to hear your opinions. That’s why I created this post. I made some observations about the world around me based on my experiences and I want to see where your experiences have led you. But be wary, don’t be petty and simply hide behind your keyboard and screen. Be honest but not disrespectful. That is another factor leading to the downfall of the younger generation.
They, having only existed in the digital age, interact mostly via virtual means. They never had the opportunity to see the looks of distress on the faces of their victims when something hurtful was said. They don’t feel the hurt that they inflict. They type some words and hit submit. The common sense of “wow. Maybe that was over the line.” was never instilled in their conscience. They just click a button and create a sense of isolation or defeat for another human being.
I think the overall moral message I’m trying to portray is teach properly and give back that ability to think critically. We need to be guided from a young age as to what is right and wrong, fantasy and reality, rather than sheltered from what is bad and ugly in the world. Instead of preventing children from seeing violent movies and playing violent games, we need to show them that it’s just a movie or just a game. Sheltering them only means that when they are exposed to such things, the shock will be much greater and they won’t have an understanding of the subject or the knowledge of how to cope with it. By forcing our youth to run and hide, we are essentially creating a society of victims. Instead of teaching them to shut down and run and hide when something goes wrong, we need to teach them to stand up for what they believe whenever they can. We are losing a battle to ourselves and it’s terrifying and difficult to witness. We need to get back to respecting others and doing what is right; not just for ourselves but for each other. Reach out and help someone. Not to gain something for yourself but just because they need it. When was the last time you did something for someone else without the expectation of getting something in return? It was far too long ago.
As a message to my fellow males, stop giving yourself a bad name. The beauty of the male gender is in our simplicity. We aren’t difficult to understand. We like mechanical thinking. We are visually driven and we tend to take things far less seriously. Those traits are fine until they’re applied to certain things. Life is not about taking one principle and applying it to everything we know. Life is about adaptation and understanding. You need to think for yourself but don’t be selfish. Treat everyone you come across with respect. I’m not saying trust them with your life, just don’t cut them down because they’re different. That is the most important quality of the human race; we’re all different. Who cares? Don’t mistreat women. It’s petty and pathetic. We are an advanced civilization where equality is the goal. We are not cavemen who take what we want and drag it back to our caves then get rid of it when we’re done like a disposable camera. That kind of backwards thinking is what is preventing the furthering of our kind. You’re holding everyone back. Now cut it out.
As a message to women, you don’t have to give into the game. It may mean some lonely nights while your friends are out with the hot guy from the lacrosse team, but there are so many men out there who will treat you with the respect that you deserve. Don’t look down on them just because they don’t live up to your standards of physical attraction. Then you’re doing exactly what you’re fighting against. Keep your heads held high and hold strong to your morals. If you feel like going out and exploring your body and options, then by all means do so. But be careful. If your morals say no, then don’t give in just to please someone else. If they haven’t earned it, they don’t deserve it and no amount of “come on. Please” should change that. Don’t let yourself get involved with someone who you wouldn’t want your daughter involved with. In terms of sexual assault, on any level. It may not end any time soon. Just know that some people are doing what they can to stop it and make your lives much, much easier. That being said, take care of yourself. You don’t have to flaunt everything you have and try to seduce men. No I’m not giving the “She was asking for it” argument. I’m simply stating that if you prevent yourself from getting in that situation, it can’t go badly. You deserve more. And just like men, it’s going to take time. This sort of backwards thinking has been set in play for well over 15 years now and I don’t foresee any major changes in our methods any times soon. But bear with me, there are some of us that are trying.
As a message to our culture in general, stop the selfishness. We are all in this fight together. We can’t continue like this. There isn’t always a right and wrong solution. “Virtus in media stat.” Virtue lies in the middle. Balance. Compromise. Help out your fellow man and stop living as though you have a sense of entitlement. You don’t. Modesty goes a very long way. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean you’re wrong or they are. Life is full of questions with no answer, that’s a promise.