When I was a kid, I drifted along very blissfully, unaware of and indifferent to the world around me. I did not care about the news– in fact I loathed it– and I had no interest in contemplating anything more than my next snack. I didn’t know just how privileged a life I led. I had heard of that time, when you’re sometime in your teens, when you begin to get interested in current affairs, politics, news, all the things that adults seemed to spend so much of their time discussing– but I never really dwelled on it. I just lived my life as a normal little kid, doing all the things that normal little kids do.
And now, in my teens, I believe that time has arrived. Of course, I have been passably interested in newsy things for quite a while now, but I think that at this moment I have finally realised that I’ve had that epiphany about the world. Maybe an epiphany isn’t the right word, but that’s kind of what it seems like. I’ve been reading the news– not that often, to be honest, but it’s something– and thinking a lot about all the things that are happening around me. It’s been an odd and interesting experience, one that has made me consider many things.
First of all, I will share with you my thoughts on the news. Not extensively on what is going on at the moment (I’m afraid), but just the news in general. Going to the front page of any legitimate news website brings up stories on tons of different things, and to my dismay, most of them are negative. We have the missing plane, sanctions on Russia because of Ukraine, some sort of controversies about a budget (although I have to admit I have no idea what that really is, since I’m not interested)– all of it seems to be quite depressing. And that is just today. I’m not even mentioning all the stories about people dying in some way or another, horrible scandals, controversy after controversy… Looking at the news even for a bit can really put a damper on your mood. Sometimes I wonder why on earth people read it, if most of the stories are so bad and terrible and awful and shocking and any of those things. I mean, I know there is not really any other way to find out what is happening in the world, but I would like to see more happy news stories taking the top of the front page once in a while!
That got me thinking, though. Why IS there so much depressing stuff in the news? Is there ever going to be a time when all news is good? It’s not like we’ve had a decrease in bad stuff happening– no way, there is always some other thing going on that isn’t good, even after the current controversy is over. I just don’t know why. It makes me think of those huge questions that I really don’t want to think about, because to be honest it isn’t a very happy thing to do. All this reflecting and contemplating isn’t exactly a cheery and joyful thing, but I can’t help doing it. I read something in the news, I start analysing it and thinking about it, reading more, considering what I would do, reading more, getting kind of down because I get annoyed at how humans can’t stop messing up. All in all, not fun. But necessary for growing up, I suppose.
Thinking about bad stuff in the news also got me thinking about other things, like racism, sexism, homophobia, any of those sorts of topics that Tumblr (a website I have mixed feelings on) seems to be on about all the time. I was like, is there any sort of problem that we as humans have totally eradicated? I decided to go about it logically. Racism– no. Many places are still racist; I mean HELLO, there is still a KKK in the US. Sexism– nope. Some Middle Eastern countries give CONSIDERABLY less privileges to women compared to men. Homophobia– no way. I mean, we’ve got Russia, we’ve got all those countries where it’s still illegal, we’ve still got people in the US and the like that find it wrong. So after these rather depressing revelations, I thought I’d widen my search. Do we still have a problem of people being a different religion, or no religion? Well, yes, we do. All those crazy fundamentalists speak for themselves. What about people with disabilites or disorders? Yeah, there’s still prejudice against them. So is there ANY problem we have completely got over? Annoyingly, I don’t think so. Of course, way back hundreds of years ago, the problems were worse, but even now we’ve still got people who hold archaic (and, excuse my opinions, wrong) views. We still use vaguely sexist language in everyday speech. We still have slurs against people of some minority or another. It is going to take a LOT to get rid of that.
Then I thought of something alarming. A lot of these problems are still rather prolific in the US. There’s racism, homophobia, sexism (hello, the media), many other isms that I haven’t thought of yet. America is meant to be THE country, the country that other countries compare themselves to when talking about things like the economy, standard of living or their military. Isn’t it a little hypocritical of the US to make themselves out to be the pinnacle of a developed nation, when they still have those issues? I mean, I thought about that for a while, but then I considered the fact that NO country is without problems. England probably has some crazy intolerant people lurking around (although less than in America, it seems). Basically every country in the entire world has something wrong with some aspect of it. So I was like, can we really be pointing fingers at countries like Russia, claiming they have done wrong, when we still have our own problems? The answer to that is probably yes. There is probably no way that any country will get rid of all their issues, so we might as well work on improving the countries that have even worse ones than us.
But are we ever going to get rid of the world’s issues? Are we ever going to live in a world without war, without discrimination, without prejudice? Are we ever going to live in a completely peaceful and equal society? Are our problems going to one day disappear? Well, I’m not going to be depressing and say no, but looking at history, it seems like it is unlikely. As I pointed out above, there isn’t one huge problem we’ve totally got over, so applying the same logic to the future, we’re probably going to continue to have problems. There may even be more problems that surface with the advent of new technologies. We have at least one example of that from history. Back in the Greek/Roman times, they had no problem with a husband ditching their wife for a moment and going off with some younger man. (Yes, there were a few rules about that sort of thing, but the main thing was they didn’t care that it was two guys getting together.) And then, as Christianity spread around, people started to think that it was wrong. (Not bashing Christianity, just saying that some people thought that and interpreted the Bible in that way and whatever.) There, a problem created with the advent of something else. If we had continued to live like the Greeks and Romans, homophobia probably wouldn’t have been a thing. That IS the only example I can think of, but still. They lived thousands of years ago, and they had more liberal views than some people in the world today. Sort of awkward.
All these things keep my mind racing, occupied, whirring on overdrive as I think of solutions to everything. With my passionate teenage mind, I can’t just let all these problems stick around and continue to, well, be a problem. I accept the fact that we’ll never be able to get rid of everything bad in the world, but I still stick by the theory that every little helps (thanks, Tesco). I can’t single-handedly solve all of humankind’s problems, but I can sure try, contribute at least something to the effort. Maybe a bit of tragedy is unavoidable, even necessary, for progress, and I am surprisingly okay with that. Maybe wars aren’t always bad– what if we hadn’t fought against Hitler? What would have happened then? Maybe a few people have to die for us to work out how to do things without that happening (as annoying as that is). Maybe, as humans, we are just incapable of being a totally selfless and utopian society, but you never know. We’ve been around for a while, and we still have a while left. I can’t predict the future, I can’t say that one day we’ll be a flawless species, but there is no harm in trying. And if you make a mistake, that’s fine, because you can advance and learn not to make that mistake in the future. Maybe all this bad stuff happens in the news, but there are a lot of good things in the world. Having this epiphany, I have to learn not to always think global– I have to learn not to worry myself about the world’s problems (not forget about them, no, but not get overly distressed about them), and get back to my kid mindset somewhat, appreciate the things I have around me, and the luxurious life I live that allows me to help to solve our problems.
It’s quite crazy stuff for my little mind to handle. I bet you’ve read all this stuff before, but I’m just spilling out all my thoughts. I find it actually helps a lot in organising my mind, which at the moment is engaged with thoughts of all those current affairsy newsy deep thoughtsy topics. It’s probably come across sort of depressing and downbeat, but I assure you that I’m not trying to be negative. I’m just saying what I have observed! Yeah, it’s been long, but I hopefully held your attention for that time. If not, sorry! So, now, I would like to know what your thoughts are. Am I just being a crazy hormonal teenager? Will I make peace with all these realisations about humankind? Did you ever experience/are experiencing this ‘epiphany’? Comment!
Your contemplative blogger, Jaz