I am the product of a soft society.
I grew up inside of a kind of bubble, the kind I think most of us grow up in. The kind of bubble where tough, strong, or resilient weren’t really needed in day-to-day life.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. Life was better if you were all of those things, but the worst you got if you weren’t was some teasing, a bit of being pushed around, etc. It wasn’t the end of the world. It sucked and it shouldn’t be tolerated, but it wasn’t a life-or-death struggle either.
Today, we’re so soft that people need to be protected from mean words and bad thoughts.
Maybe it’s time we start working to forge a much better world.
The first thing we need to understand is that the world can’t be remade from the top down. That way lies horrible things, ideas where people are forced to adhere to things they don’t believe, where one’s efforts are co-opted by the undeserving, and the evil flourishes. The top-down approach invariably favors those at the top and takes a massive dump on those downward from there.
Instead, we as individuals need to embrace these changes in our own lives and with our own kids.
So what concepts would this better world include?
People today are fragile as hell. They’re terrified of unkind words. They think that debate is bullying, that words are violence, and that anyone they disagree with are horrible human beings.
These same people look for any excuse they can find to label any setback as the product of hate, a personal attack on who they are as a person rather than accept that maybe they weren’t good enough.
They lack anything approaching resiliency.
Frankly, a lot of that stems from an attempt to assuage everyone’s self-esteem over the last few decades. The idea that everyone should get a trophy, that everyone is special, that failure is something that just can’t be allowed to happen.
Because of that, people don’t learn how to fail. They don’t learn how to deal with setbacks. After all, they are beautiful and unique flowers who should be appreciated, damn it!
They don’t learn how to lose, which is why so many college students two years ago met the defeat of Hillary Clinton for president with Play-Doh and coloring books. They couldn’t handle the possibility that they weren’t on the winning side.
Frankly, they need to buck the hell up.
I’m not saying they should love Trump or anything. They just need to learn that the world won’t always go their way and when it doesn’t, no matter what the rhetoric might suggest, it’s not the end of the world.
After all, two years into the Trump presidency, and where are the death camps? Where are the efforts to imprison the LGBT community or any of the other ridiculous things that were floating around on the political fringes?
Don’t like Trump? I. Don’t. Care.
Love Trump? Again, I. Don’t. Care.
What I do care about is people learning to deal with disappointment without becoming quivering piles of Jell-O.
Right now, we hear a lot in the news about men who identify as women, women who identify as men, guys who identify as being 20 years younger than they are, some people identify as animals, and people will probably soon be identifying as desk lamps.
Personally, I’ve decided I identify as an M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank and I dare anyone to challenge that assertion.
However, it’s funny that in this time of saying everyone can be anything, people will still lash out at any guy who wants to act like a guy. Even the phrase “boys will be boys” is being reviled as people claims it’s being used as a defense against sexual assault. (It’s not. It’s an explanation that boys can be stupid, dense, and rambunctious, but it doesn’t defend harm against another.)
A young boy who wants to play war? Who wants to learn to fight? Who wants to train with weights?
Oh, perish the thought.
Junior their could learn how to do his own makeup if he wants, but heaven forbid he embraces the role of a warrior. That identity is verboten.
On the same token, some women actually want to be housewives. They want to say at home, raise the kids, clean the house, cook dinner, all of that. They enjoy the idea of being a domestic goddess.
This is being declared as wrong. Feminists are bad about lashing out at women who want anything other than a career.
Look, I don’t actually care what you want out of life. I have my opinions, sure, but I don’t actually care at the end of the day if you share those opinions or not.
If we’re going to tell people to be who they truly are, then some parties need to shut the hell up and allow that to happen…on every level. If a guy wants to grow up to be the epitome of Leonidas in the movie 300, then who the hell are you to tell him he shouldn’t want to be just that?
If a woman wants to be a homemaker and be the 21st Century version of June Cleaver, then shut the hell up and let her.
On the other hand, I have no problem with a woman who wants to be as badass as Leonidas herself. I…well, I kind of like that in a woman, truth be told.
If I had my druthers, no guy would shun the warrior lifestyle, but I’m willing to let that slide so long as others will just shut up and let people be themselves, even if it’s what they think of as brutish.
Being More Physical
We’re becoming a disgusting society.
Ever since the start of the Industrial Revolution, we’ve had a problem with society becoming less and less physical. This wasn’t really a bad thing. After all, we now lived in a world where we didn’t have to be physical just to survive.
This is a good thing.
However, over time, we’ve gone from not having to be physical to being downright sedentary. Couple that with the convenience of unhealthy foods in our nation and you have a recipe for disaster.
My son’s generation’s life expectancy is lower than my own generation’s. That’s horrifying to me, as a parent. The idea that my son may well die before he’s lived as full of a life as possible.
Well, the truth is, we can fix that, and to do it, we need to listen to Olivia Newton John when she said, “Let’s Get Physical.”
Sports are a great start, but not ever kid is interested in that and a lot of adults aren’t really either. That’s hardly the only thing we could do.
Lifting weights, playing sports, hiking, finding manual labor tasks around the home or community, hobbies that use muscle power like hand-tool-only woodworking, and things of that sort will all get us moving and pushing ourselves further.
Balance Between Self And Community
People need to be able to focus on the individual. People need to be free to take self-care processes as needed. We have way too many people with mental health issues, and after seeing what I wrote about last week, I’m becoming convinced that we spend too much time indoors and away from our tribes.
However, if we’re not careful, that particular pendulum could swing too far the other way and we completely ignore our communities.
Humans evolved at a time when “community” and “tribe” means the same thing. Your tribe was your community and vice versa. By working with your tribe, you helped your community.
We don’t live that way now.
I’m not going to say it would be better if we went back to that, mind you, but there were advantages. There were also disadvantages that generally outweighed the good.
Our larger communities provide a larger pool of resources for people that created things like police and fire departments. I don’t really want to get away from that.
Among those resources, however, are our passions and abilities that we focus in various ways.
So instead, we need to find a balance between the kind of self-care we all need and our communities which requires efforts from us as well. Maintaining that balance is key, though, because too many people focus outward while neglecting themselves and their families.
Others focus so much on themselves that they begin to be mentally ill.
The world doesn’t revolve around you and your tribe, but it doesn’t revolve around anyone else’s tribe either, hence the need for balance.
These are just a few thoughts. In reality, there are so many things we would need to do if we are going to reforge the world we live in. These are just a few cursory thoughts that don’t actually hinge on politics.
Oh, there are some jabs on certain groups, sure. Those groups annoy the hell out of me, but not because of their politics. I know people who share much of their politics who can’t stand them either.
But at the end of the day, I want my kids and my future grandkids to live in a better world than we have. Technology is wonderful, but maybe it’s time to take something of a step back and recognize that not everything we did in the past was somehow wrong or inferior.
Sometimes, they got this stuff right.
So what about you? What do you think a rebuilt society should include?