Monthly Archives: March 2016

Spring moss pushing through the leaves

Changing World

“To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.”
―Susan Sontag

When I was a teenager, I heard my grandparents say over and over again that “things were better back then”. I swore I would never say it. But you know, that’s how it feels right now. Wow, the world has changed. It is not just the technology, staring at a phone 24/7, hours on a computer but it is a lot of things. We are disconnected in a way that I don’t remember in the past. Or maybe that isn’t what I mean.
I sense a current of frustration and dissatisfaction and fear that seems to make people tunnel into themselves or act out in aggressive ways. The lady in the store who shouted at me because I asked her where the end of the line was – one small example. But there are other things. Bigger things. The shootings, the beatings, the bombings. We seem to take them all in stride. Just one more sad post on Facebook, one more sad report in the news. What difference does it make to us individually in the end if a mother and father will never hold their child in their arms again? But there is something under all of this, an increase in the violence in the world. An increase in the use of “force” to achieve what we want, or to release our anger or to make us whole?

When a politician says, as one here in Germany recently did, that the refugees trying to reach the country need to be kept back from the borders even if that means that they need to be shot at. Some people are outraged, it is discussed in the media for 5 minutes and then it disappears. But there is something behind that and there are people – a lot of people – who believe that the politician was right. Violence is ok if you think you can justify it. You can see that on the streets, you can feel it in how people look at each other. The anger is building.

The violence seems to be everywhere. I can hardly watch “action” movies anymore. The level of violence has become so high that I don’t make it through the first 10 minutes. I admit to be a game freak but most of them I don’t play. It is only about killing the other guy. When video games started, people used to talk about how the violence would affect the children playing them. Does anybody talk about it now? Now that there are shootings in schools, or offices about once a week?

Nobody talks about the violence. Not really. It has become a part of every day. We are numb to it. When a politician suggests that his supporters will “riot” if he isn’t elected. Hardly a peep. That scares me. What is this for a world when it is suggested that voters will be bludgeoned into voting “the right way” and nobody says a word. I watched a video of a politician running for president where demonstrators hijacked the stage. The candidate and the other people on stage tried to find a solution to satisfy everyone but were cowed by the intense anger from the screaming young women. I was shocked. I felt catapulted back into the demos of the 60s. The violence was scary then too but it felt to me like there was a purpose that people were “fighting” for. It doesn’t feel like that now. Now it feels like they fight to fight. Is that because I am old? Have I become my grandparents and don’t understand where the world is today?

It seems to me that there is a lack of respect for the connection that makes us human, the connection that we have with all living things. It distress me to hear about suicide bombers. It distresses me to hear about violent acts against people. It distresses me to hear of young kids torturing animals, cats or dogs or whatever, just for fun. It seems to me that it is all happening more often. Is that only a result of the 24 hour news?

Or are we losing any connection to anything except the fantasy world presented through the miracle of electronics? Somehow to me, things were better “back then”.

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