Friday, November 18, 2005

Life in the 21st Century

Many people are still shocked on hearing that expression, because they grew up in an age in which the 21st century was so far away into the future -- that it is shocking to think that it could be now, and even yesterday. They’re just getting used to things in the 20th century -- as the latest and greatest, state-of-the-art.

Undoubtedly, in many places, they’re still awaiting the first industrial revolution -- that the majority of civilization went through in the 19th century, resulting in one of the first widespread liberation movements. All but a few are aware that not only was a much celebrated civil war of liberation fought in the United States in that century, but there were similar revolutions in Russia, France, China -- that were changing the status of slaves, serfs, rabble and peasants. Naturally we assume that people everywhere have experienced that psychological evolution of liberation.

Those who haven’t, still have what we deride as the “plantation mentality,” which is the acceptance of overseers to do their thinking for them. It is familiarly the top-down organization chart and information flow. What we know, has to be passed on down from the top, and it is not allowed, to do one’s own thinking unless one is at the top. So all one’s time, energy and efforts, were expended to get to the top, but once one got there, one could do anything one pleased, and the only thing that had to be done, was to keep another from being similarly on the top.

The shift in the 21st century is the realization that if everybody can be king, then anybody can be king -- including oneself, and all but a few would agree, that is the society they wanted to live in and create. A few argued, “What was the point in having a society like that if one could not be above everybody else?” That is the old mindset at work. It thinks that the only way anyone can win, is for everybody else to lose.

Nowhere is this more evident than editorials and letters to the newspapers -- pitting one individual and faction against another, creating the unnecessary arguments that distract and detract from productive focus and work. Most of that society’s energies are sapped in this constant battle to prove who is on top -- and then maintain that status quo by preventing others from similarly riding on top.

That is the old culture and mindset dying away at this time. It should not be the model for modern conditioning activities provoking competition -- even with oneself. It is psychologically damaging to have this mindset that “one is not good enough,” as one’s motivating drive because that is the message one is reinforcing in oneself. It should also not be the paradigm for contemporary relating and communications -- reinforcing a hierarchy of the knowledgeable over the ignorant.

What that does is discourage people from acknowledging their ignorance -- which distinguishes the intelligent person; in him, there is no shame in not knowing, because that is his motivation for finding out.


At November 19, 2005 11:53 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The pattern of the recent past, which was a destructive, disempowering trend, was that aging implied increasing helplessness and dependence on social (government) agencies for their continued sustenance and viability -- which was great job security for professionals who serviced such prolonged deterioration.

But the clientele rebelled, and didn’t want to be just cash cows -- for these “helpful” people. The leading edge of this population began to inquire, “Is the pattern of the past inevitable or is it a choice -- that many give into, not knowing any other possibilities?”

Those who watched television, were probably the first to notice that personalities they were familiar with, showed no signs of this aging process -- that they saw in just about everyone around them, in real life. Then, not only were some of these people not aging in the usual visual way -- but actually seemed to be reversing the aging process as time marched on. At first it was largely explained by cosmetic surgical procedures that were gaining in acceptability from hushed whispers of immorality and vanity.

Next, even more shocking, was the revelation that many had to deny having these invasive procedures -- for looking so good. Very obviously, the old aging paradigm of inevitable deterioration was beginning to break down. Deterioration was no longing just the natural progression of age -- because others showed improvement and increased vitality, after that same time had elapsed.

So it was possible to grow older, wiser and better -- at any age. Age no longer was the dominant factor and explanation. Behavior and choices were even more overriding factors. Chief among them, was the healthful outlook and attitude. Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Those who think that “Life sucks,” invariably have a bad life, full of unpleasant encounters and experiences. Those who believe that life is always improving and getting better, invariably have that life experience. What’s an intelligent person to do?

The greatest source of the “Life sucks” mantra, is unfortunately, the newspapers, hoping in that way, to create their own need. What the public desires, is to have no such lifelong dependencies.


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