As a thought, it’s interesting how everything around us tells a story. Potentially, one of awareness, wisdom, consideration, value, kindness; but also, perhaps more often, the opposite. It’s this sense in which all we do paints a picture, our words and deeds effectively embodying our understanding of life, society, humanity, and the place we all have within that (Notes One).
Clearly that’s a potentially overwhelming view of life: reading meaning into it all; wondering at people’s thought processes, beliefs and motivations; extrapolating out to what such attitudes mean for society at large, all the ways they must be felt by countless individuals throughout the days, weeks and years of all our lives.
Attempting to imagine the cumulative effect of each person’s way of being can easily hurt the brain. Even trying to imagine the thoughts running through a single individuals mind based on the evidence of their actions seems a bit much some days. If “everything that happens” is telling a story about our general level of awareness, it’s perhaps not a book we’re inclined to read.
But can we truly turn a blind eye? If the narrative of modern society is one of people looking out for themselves without demonstrable concern, attention or interest in others, it just doesn’t seem sustainable long-term. And, even if we don’t actively “read” all that’s spread out around us, do we not pick up on it anyway? Like having a TV on in the background; its messages seeping in regardless.
Some days the overall theme seems to be one of not really caring. About others, their existence, their peaceful enjoyment of space, their very presence in life. Often, it’s seeming that we see one another as obstacles, each living their own personal movie where all these other human beings simply don’t feature. Treating others as irritating inconveniences doesn’t seem very human though.
Society, after all, is a grouping of humans. It’s this picture of cooperation for mutual benefit, safety, enjoyment. It’s the sense in which working together is more efficient and productive than all going it alone. It’s ways we might harmoniously share resources and infrastructure so that, ultimately, the opportunity serves us all. And, hopefully, it’s the degree of individual and collective forethought that makes such a thing possible.
Why exactly social relationships might be fading is strange to consider (Notes Two). Where do we “get” the sense for society? Is this from history, convention, education, culture, example? Is it the structures of society itself? Those systems, interactions and choices that effectively define our lives. The attitudes with which we’re all carrying out our respective “roles” within the bigger picture of community?
Or maybe I’m reading things wrongly? Maybe the story’s written between the lines, in the quiet resolutions people make behind all the drama playing out. It just seems there’s so much simmering intolerance and carelessness; this drifting lack of awareness, understanding or bandwidth building to a place of almost everyone having a very short fuse. Something, surely, has to give?
Notes and References:
Note 1: The power of understanding
Note 1: Invisible ties
Note 1: Do we need meaning?
Note 1: The philosopher stance
Note 2: All that’s going on around us
Note 2: Ideas that tie things together
Note 2: If society’s straining apart, what do we do?
Note 2: One thing leads to another
Note 2: In the deep end…