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Mental health relative to modern times

This is an interesting issue and one I want to do justice, so bear with me if you will.

It’s probably clear from topics I’ve chosen to write about and the way I do so that I don’t look at life “normally”. It’s been suggested I could write more punchily, give some slick solutions, engage more with the world of social media to grab people’s attention. But there are reasons I don’t, and essentially those reasons revolve around how I see life and human existence.

Posts about the Value of each human being, Happiness in modern life and Age, Image & Self Worth probably demonstrate that I look at life quite deeply, quite philosophically. Things I’ve written about Values and the economic and Trying to understand our times hint at how I see Western society as struggling and essentially needing change.

With this post, I want to look more at the mind as the part of us that seeks to make sense of reality and our position within it.

As I wrote in Spirituality since the 80s modern society essentially strips meaning out of life, yet we still exist within that as intelligent beings. We must look at the short-sightedness of economic activity and its environmental impacts; we must witness the dismissive attitudes towards so many human beings who are essentially no different from us; we must adopt a way of life – or resist one – that reduces our existence to financial transactions, self-branding, calculated and false human relationships, the unchecked amorality of technological progress.

That’s clearly a negative assessment of life, although it’s also pretty accurate, and I’m well aware of the wonderful opportunities modern realities offer us as well. As I’ve said in Media immediacy, I do see cause for hope through greater engagement with the challenges we face. As may be clear within Communication and the process of change, “Towards a New World View” and “Essays” by Emerson I have deep faith and interest in the value of each human life and our capacity to understand, to love, to overcome.

To me, we live in strange times where a kind of fatalistic and antagonistic materialism sets us against ourselves and others in a struggle to “win” at life. We have tools at our disposal now whereby we can connect with others as never before and master the material world in ever-new and ingenious ways. But we also struggle to stay human, to relate to others authentically, to listen and care, to take the time to fully understand in all our rush for progress. I’m sure we can. I’m sure we can pull back from the inertia of that and bring our humanity to bear more clearly. I’m sure we can find a way to manage things better and create more beautiful realities.

Maybe this is realism, maybe it’s idealism, or we could label it as depression but it seems a “sign of the times” and I believe there are deeply real, important messages nestled within it all – within how the human being responds to modern society and how, for some people, what they see and what it means can seem pretty unbearable.

The reason I’m linking here to most of what’s come before is that this view of life is at the core of what I’m trying to do here. I’m not giving you my answers, because they don’t really matter. I’m giving my questions, my thoughts on what I see, and also my belief that everyone can think for themselves and should.

We aren’t really encouraged to question what’s going on, and it’s getting pretty difficult to understand with all the distractions and pressures of today, but I suspect it may be worth our while.

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