Here’s a thought I had:
I am a great critic of American society and have often been in arguments with people about it. I first began to criticize American society in the 1990’s primarily because it needed it. But, twenty first society makes the 1990’s look mild. As a result, its getting a lot of criticism from me. In fact, its crying out for criticism!
Last year I asked myself, “in as little words as possible, how would I describe the twenty first century?”. After some thought this is how I described it:
“You expect me to believe that?”
In a way, that is my reaction overall. I find twenty first century society unbelievable and ridiculous. This society throws all this nonsense at me and expects me to believe it all.
Here are a few thoughts on why:
- Nonsense. The nonsense the twenty first century creates is unreal at times. I can’t help but say, “what’s next?”. Not only that the volume of nonsense it creates is almost unreal as well. A person could be swallowed up by it all. Its a society of “too much stuff that is really a bunch of nonsense but gives the illusion that it is important”.
- Deception – lack of genuineness. There is a quality in this society that makes me feel that “the wool is being pulled over my eyes”. I just can’t shake this sense that I am being deceived in some way. It just seems, to me, that the twenty first century is an era that lacks genuineness. This gives this society qualities like phoniness, hypocrisy, artificiality, lack of “humanity”, and deceptiveness. In short, its a society that gives the appearance of being like a “put on”, a “facade”. Oftentimes, I cannot tell what is what or what is right or wrong. I do not know what to believe or who to believe. This quality, alone, destroys my faith in it. How can I believe a society in which I can’t even tell what to believe?
- A society that is trying to impress. I get this impression that twenty first century society is trying to impress and dazzle me into believing it. Its as if that is its “selling point”. Apparently, I’m supposed to “ooh and aah” all the stuff that it comes up. I guess I’m supposed to be so impressed by it that I’m supposed to want to give up my life to it and let it dominate me. But my observation is that when something is trying to impress it is usually hiding an inadequacy. I believe that is the case here.
- Uncertain motives, and blind following, that have gotten out of control. In the last century, it seems, things was very materialistic and money based . . . you knew its motives even though they weren’t necessarily all that honorable. But, in this century, no one quite knows the motives. The twenty first is moving so fast and massively and such an uncertain direction that people are as if sucked into it, following it along blindly . . . they don’t know what they want because the twenty first century doesn’t know what it wants. As a result, in the twenty first century all this stuff is being created and done but what for? A trillion things are being said, a billion things are being invented, studies are being done for the most ridiculous of things. Its like a great mania. But in this mania the twenty first century has become like a great snowball that has started to roll downhill. Its getting bigger and bigger and, accordingly, its becoming more like a great blumbering beast with a life all its own. Our life is being controlled and dictated by this great blumbering beast . . . it calls the shots and we must obey. Do you really think we have control over this beast! But, yet, we all pretend that we do. We also tend to assume that whatever it creates is good and beneficial. But is it? We also assume that we need all this stuff but do we? In a way, the twenty first century is a society that has been duped by its own creations. This is the great stupidity of the twenty first century.
- An absence of authority . . . lack of unity. As near as I can tell, there is no authority in the twenty first century society. As a result, there’s nothing unifying the society. There’s no special bond or connection uniting people. To be frank, the only bond I feel with people is the fact that we live in the same area. Its like the bond people feel who live in the same apartment complex. That’s about as deep as it gets.
- Mob rule. Twenty first century society is a society where the mob rules. To me, “mob rule” is another way of saying “god only knows what’s going to happen”. In addition, it means that nothing is in control. It also means that people have become a “blur” . . . a mob is nothing but a blur of humanity. “Mob rule” is often like a flock of birds. It goes this way then that way. One bird moves one way then they all move that way. And all this is erratic and random, the birds just blindly following the whims of the situation. Isn’t that what twenty first century society is . . . a mob of people blindly following the whims of the situation?
- A society that is “running as fast as it can but having no idea where its going”. Twenty first century society does whatever it can to run as fast as possible and each year they got to top how fast they ran last year. Run, run, faster, faster, more, more . . . but what for? There is no apparent direction in all this. To be frank, I don’t think there is a direction in a lot of the creations of the twenty first society . . . I really don’t. I think that’s true on almost every level: the inventions, the consumerism, the research, the studies, the politics, the social reform, the causes, the beliefs, the points of views, the attitudes, and so on. In short, twenty first century society is primarily about running not in having a direction.
- Artificial need. Twenty first century society is not a society of necessity. Things aren’t being done or created because they need to be done or created. Its a society that creates need . . . with inventions, with opinions, with statements from the media, with studies, etc. Its a society based in artificial need, frivolous need, useless need. Much of the youth is being taught this false need like an indoctrination or a brain washing. I believe that most of the things being said, being invented, being studied, and being taught are not needed. Whole industries to “satisfy a need when there is no need” have been created. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a major element of this economy . . . without this “false need” industry this economy would probably collapse! All this stuff just “seems important”.
- A “gossip society”. Twenty first century society is becoming a society of endless gossiping to the point of ridiculousness. Its a society where people like to find the “dirt” on people and spread it around. What’s sort of scary, though, is that though this is gossip, and just “talk”, people generally assume it is true. In other words, its hard to tell what is true or not. A lot of this problem, I feel, is promoted by social media and the news media in general. These have given a greater means for gossip to flourish.
- A “witch hunting society”. Twenty first century society strikes me as a society that is hunting witches. By this I mean that it fabricates threats and then tries to pin it on people. Witch hunting, in one form or another, seems a regular occurence. Its a society that likes to blame and accuse and point fingers.
- Fear and paranoia. There seems a lot of fear and paranoia in this society. Despite what people think, I feel that fear and paranoia lie behind a lot of things in twenty first century society. I feel it is behind much of the ideals, the actions, and the solutions of twenty first society. I think it wouldn’t be too far off the truth to say that fear and paranoia lie at the root of twenty first century society and that everything as if sprouts from it.
- Values and beliefs that come from I don’t know where and which I don’t believe. There are too many values and beliefs that seem to appear as if from nowhere and which neither reflect me nor reflect my view of things. I often feel I’m in a foreign land. Sometimes I often wonder if we have been taken over by a foreign country unknowingly and mysteriously. I even often say at times, “I might as well go live in a foreign country . . . it won’t be any different.” And then, whats worse, these foreign values and beliefs are often forced upon me. Apparently, I’m supposed to just blindly agree with them but I don’t.
- A society of addiction. To me, twenty first society seems a society of many forms of addictions. Not only are there things like drugs but there’s all sorts of new forms of addictions. I speak of things like addictions to the cell phone, gadgetry, technology, and so on. Everywhere I turn I see people addicted to something or else.
- Bias and favoritism. Twenty first society seems a society that has a lot of bias and favoritism in it. Every time I turn around I see examples of this, on a scale I’ve never seen before. I feel that, at the rate its going, this society is going to be so steeped in bias and favoritism that it will probably take a revolution to get rid of it. Whats ironic is that the people who are generally promoting bias and favoritism are saying it “in the name of equality”. Its like saying, “we’re equal if I am favored before you”. Its unreal.
- Devaluation of the “human” in life. Twenty first century society is a society that places the machine before the person. A person must conform to the machine to fit in. Not only that, it tells you what to do and how to do it. The “human” in life now takes a back seat. You don’t look to the twenty first society to discover what a human being is . . . they’re all staring in their cell phones. The “human” in life is almost a forgotten thing. No one talks about it and it doesn’t seem to be a concern. This society has lost contact with the “human” and, as a result, a whole new world has been created, a world based in civilization and technology where the “human” and human being is absent. I look around and I see all these human things destroyed before my eyes: culture, belief, tradition, identity, human worth, etc. And I very well know the cause: civilization and technology. Like a great steam roller its smashing the “human” in life into a flat unrecognizable splatter.
- Humanity seems more and more “warped” out of shape. It seems that the artificial and dehumanization of life in the twenty first century is creating a “warped” humanity to me. Humanity seems unnatural and almost artificial at times, not much different than their machines and gadgets they are dependent upon.
- Control and domination. Twenty first century society seems like a society that has allowed civilization and technology to take absolute control and domination. Centuries ago we made such a big deal about government taking absolute control, of being controlling, dictatorial, and such. The U.S. was founded on battling this type of government control and absolute control. But, yet, we’ve allowed civilization and technology to have more control over our lives than the government ever has . . . we’ve practically invited it into our lives. Something in my gut tells me that this is not going to end well. Perhaps, one day, we are going to have to “liberate” ourselves from the tyranny of civilization and technology just like we did with the government of the past?
- An “impersonal society”. To me, twenty first century society is a society that is growing increasingly impersonal and cold. People are becoming “blurs”. There is really very little connection or bond between people. I often look out at people and wonder, “who are these people?” Not only that, it seems a society where people are increasingly scrambling over each other to get ahead. For many people, this seems the motive of life.
- A society that is not “mine”. Twenty first century society is a society that is not “mine”. That is to say, it is a society that “possesses” you. You don’t “possess” it. In this way, twenty first century society is an entity that is “imposed” on a person. It is above you. It does not change for you. It does not care if it reflects you. Twenty first century society is “there” and you must conform to it. As a result, twenty first century society is not something that is a reflection of me, my beliefs, my values, etc. It is removed from me. It has a life separate from me. It is an entity far from me. It is not “my society”. Frankly, I don’t know who this society represents.
I find a society like this hard to believe.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen