EDITORIAL: The sins of our times

We live in strange times: wars, maniacal world leaders, unending viral pandemics, catastrophic climate changes. Troubled times where brotherly love is disappearing from every place, replaced by mass shootings, gun violence in the streets, shootings in places of worship, and pervasive crimes of violence. Chaos, assaults and crime everywhere. Why? Because we may be guilty of numerous sins.

Could these be the sins of our society?

Self-centred pride? People want to keep up with neighbours regardless of the cost.

Envy? They’ve got it, I want it. Worse: I deserve it. Even worse: I’m taking it. Even worse: I’m taking it anyway I can.

Anger? Like simmering water eventually coming to a rolling boil, simmering anger sowed by envy or pride spills over into violence and fury.

Uncontrolled selfishness? Love of brother has been replaced with love of self. Me first. Worse instead: only me. Selfishness gradually worsens. Neighbours are seen as competitors, then opponents, then an enemy worthy of combat. Beat him. Defeat him. Kill him.

Could our social turmoil be due to the sin of selfishness?

Ingredients vs the appliance
Perhaps the problem in our society is not the sin of a certain ingredient, but rather the appliance being used, social media.

Could uncontrolled, unrestricted social media be the cause of our social problems?
Social media has destroyed patience in our society, replacing it with impatience-coloured selfish self-interest. We demand control of everything: others’ behaviour, others’ actions, others’ reactions, even others’ appearance and these demands have a time facet, instant response. Ask something, instant response expected. Buy something, delivery tomorrow expected, today would be preferred. Want a situation to change, expected now.

The problem is too easily exacerbated. When the expected result does not occur instantly or to our liking, matters escalate too easily and very quickly. Change is forced by the social media user and the use of force is initiated, without due consideration and often to extreme levels. Hence, gun violence, physical assaults, vehicular rage and more.

Non-social media users learn from social media users. Monkey see monkey do. It is quicker to parrot the action than to be slowed by analysis, evaluation and review. Who has the patience to give things second thought?

Our society has lost all vestiges of patience, often accompanying the loss with negative reactions based on self-interest.

A congregation praying? We have been left out. We want it stopped, giving logical and reasoned responses a pass. Just respond, instantly.

Racism? Not part of our tribe? Eradicate the ‘miscreant,’ now. Remove the ‘offender,’ now. No response? Or response too slow? A gun will expedite matters, now.

Sexism? Are our desires ignored? Or are demands ignored? No response? Is response too slow? Fine, violence will change the pace of the response and get the response we want, now.

Vandalism? The desired goal will be clarified. Graphically, literally with spray paint. You’ll learn, now.

Could there be more than “ingredients vs the appliance”
There may be more to explaining the cause of the social problems we are experiencing than ‘sins’ or ‘appliance.’ Some of the evil sprouts from other factors, deeply rooted or firmly developed in our society at this moment in time.

The pandemic has been ceaseless in causing stress, anxiety and agitation in our society. People are worrying endlessly about infection, test results and social disassociation. Undoubtedly, this serious anxiety must affect behaviour with increased negative activity.

Then, there is the growth or continuity of gangs, size and membership likely relative to the municipality in which they reside. Gang violence is prevalent in most populated areas resulting in more if not continuous violence and crime.

Next, the ‘loner’ cannot be overlooked or disregarded. These are individuals who are disgruntled for personal reasons. Perhaps having experienced an offence, an insult or some antagonistic incident for which they now seek revenge and the ancillary target is society as a whole. Sole terrorists fit this category aiming to retaliate for a believed wrong their group has experienced.

Finally, though there is an underlying caveat in naming this last group as responsible for some of society’s crimes and problems, mentally challenged who have not received needed help. Though these activists cannot be blamed as directly or openly as others named above, nevertheless, some of these people do contribute to the problems suffered by society in terms of crime and violence.

The question is not whether or not people are fundamentally good or bad. The question is more related to how people have been conditioned, how they have learned to behave, as well as the emotional state people are in.

Going back to school to review the meaning of proper etiquette, old-fashioned respect, old-time obedience and archaic acceptable behaviour may help society but likely much more study must be undertaken to determine what we need to do together and how we should do it.

What do you think?


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