About a month ago I was sitting at the dinner table eating a salad at 2:00 AM, examining a few pieces of ever-so-slightly brown lettuce. They were tinged at the very edges. Yet the bag wasn’t supposed to expire for over another week; the lettuce smelled fine, it didn’t taste bad, and it seemed fresh.
Nevertheless I picked them out and put them aside to be thrown away when I was done.
I’m 99% sure there was nothing wrong with the pieces. The browning of lettuce is not an automatic indication of it being spoiled, according to several sources on a quick Google search.
In any case it got me thinking about the sensitivity young generations have toward problems, myself included. We can tolerate very little because of soft living. Life has been made so easy for us. Obviously not *everybody*–there are still poor people. All of us still face real, significant struggles. But did you know that here in the west you can have television, a phone, a car, internet, and other modern amenities, and still be considered “poor”?
Don’t get me wrong. That’s partly evidence of progress. I’m glad that poor doesn’t have to mean homeless, living on the streets begging with no job, nothing.
I myself don’t watch television despite having access to it. And if you have a phone, I might be incorrect about this but I don’t think you necessarily need internet, or cable, or even a computer. Those might be nice to haves, but how many poor people would be better off shirking the unnecessary technology for some books, or just saving the extra money and investing it?
Anyway, returning from the tangent. I find it fascinating that we live in a time where people have nothing better to do than bitch and complain about Christopher Columbus. The credibility of their criticisms is another matter. I have more pressing matters to attend to personally. Oh what it must be like to have so much free time and energy and money at one’s disposal. For one’s life to be in such pristine order that you have to go out of your way to join a fight that you have no dog in. No family issues to try and set straight. No relationship that needs maintenance. No future to build for yourself or with others. No children to raise, or any intention of one day doing so. Nothing left to work toward. Not even bettering and focusing on yourself, saint that you must be.
Okay, I’ll humor these funny notions. So the best way that the paragons of our time could think of to supposedly help society and serve justice is fighting against the long dead-and-buried Christopher Columbus? No bigger fish to fry?
What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?
It’s interesting to think that solving so many of our problems has left us complacent at best, bored and antsy at worst. Nowadays to find new problems we’ve had to amplify our senses. Warriors! Magnify your vision and see those aesthetically flawed pieces of lettuce! Dispose of them in the name of justice! Turn up the volume until a pin drop is deafening. Aggression has apparently been conquered and we’ve since moved on to “micro” aggression. When the witches have all been burned, keep people occupied with the boogeyman while you manufacture more witches. When the commies have all been rounded-up (if only we were so blessed), frame the innocent. When there is no crime to solve, stage one. When something you dislike or regret doesn’t qualify as sexual assault, inflate and devalue and distort the definition accordingly.
In science we’ve become more and more precise. We went from talking about meters to centimeters, millimeters to nanometers. For the realm of science this doesn’t seem to have had too much of a negative effect, besides that maybe products and technology are also more fragile because the room for error is so tiny.
Socially this phenomenon seems to be devastating.
Through problem solving we’re creating a world where people can’t tolerate the slightest little poke. Our systems are delicate. Houses went from stone, to glass, to cards. We’re working on stealing the last vestiges of our own responsibility and freedom away from ourselves by means of automation. When there are little to no new problems to address, one resorts to finding better solutions to past problems. Everything has to be faster at less cost. And that bottoms out once we build things to solve problems for us, making ourselves increasingly obsolete.
We’ll find ourselves living in a giant, nightmarish amalgam of mental ward meets nursing home before you know it. From birth to the grave. I myself am battling the effects of this already. And who will run this institution? The three wise monkeys.
Utopia’s flaw is having no flaws. Humanity’s problem will be having no other problems. Projection and fighting shadows will not save you.
“So only one lack remains [in our time], even though not yet felt, the lack of difficulty. Out of love of humankind, out of despair over my awkward predicament of having achieved nothing and of being unable to make anything easier than it had already been made, out of genuine interest in those who make everything easy, I comprehended that it was my task: to make difficulties everywhere.” – Søren Kierkegaard
While I’m partly inclined to agree, I think difficulty will happen of its own accord as more and more people neglect real issues deliberately and in ignorance, or as they are shielded from them generation after generation. We’ve survived so well that soon there may not be anybody left who knows what surviving actually means, and how to do it. Nature’s wake-up call is only a matter of time.