I have a theory – of course I do – about the meteoric rise of depression and anxiety in today’s world.
Some people say it’s because our world is, frankly, depressing. But hang on – wasn’t it way MORE depressing back when you could go to jail for man-on-man action, to a nunnery for being pregnant out of wedlock, and to war whether you wanted to or not?
So here’s a different angle. Take elephants, for instance. Apparently there are very few elephants alive today who haven’t experienced family trauma (so I read). The thing is, poachers take the older elephants with the bigger tusks, leaving the younger elephants to grow up without the timely advice and guidance of their elders. And, in the process, fucking up the transmission of elephant culture so that basically, elephant herds are now the equivalent of some indigenous outposts – too many kids, not enough elders, and nobody knows what they’re supposed to be about any more.
Or take dogs. In MY day, dogs went out for walks in the neighbourhood, by themselves. You met them, you patted them, all good. They met each other, sniffed bums, got into the occasional stoush, also all good. Nowadays everyone’s dog is on a leash or in a dog park or behind a fence. Dogs don’t know how to relate to strange humans or dogs any more, except as intruders. They get anxious. They bite. In short, dogs are no longer properly socialised into the general community, only into the Nuclear Family Unit.
And so to my latest theory about people. I mean, here we are, with our increasingly isolated little family structures and insular little lives (for instance, your nuclear two-plus-two out in the burbs somewhere, watching TV at night, Facebook by day). We’re not properly socialised – we don’t know how to cope with the vagaries of the world outside the home. Oh my God – we say – this sensation of being surrounded by Actual People, Outside – it’s freaking me out!!!
What do you reckon? Does this theory hold water? Or do you have your own view of why freaking out seems to be an increasingly common response to just being alive?
And moving on to a different topic, are you a Christian? Good, then maybe you can help me. You see, I’m an atheist. For me, anything goes. No Good Book to guide me. But I can appreciate the gist of Jesus. Be nice. Love thy neighbour. Forgive them their trespasses. Turn the other cheek. Don’t cast the first stone. If a beggar asks for your coat, give him your shirt too, and all that. So I’m genuinely puzzled when Christians fail to implement what seem to be to be fairly basic guidelines ((I’m sure we can all think of many examples). How does that work? How does one square it? ‘He didn’t really MEAN that the meek would inherit the earth…’ perhaps? Or ‘we’re all sinners, even Christians, so a few lapses here and there are fine…’? I’m actually, genuinely, puzzled.
To change the subject yet again, I asked my readers what they’d get rid of in the modern world (given God-like powers) and one woman said ‘stupidity’. Hallelulah – but it makes me wonder…what IS stupidity? How do you define it? Should you even try, for that matter? Should we say (of Honey Boo Boo’s mum, for instance, or a Trump hillbilly) that she may not know much of that airy fairy intellectual stuff, but she knows what’s what, and therefore, she’s as smart as she damn well needs to be? Or would we be justified in coming right out and saying, nope, she’s just stupid?
I’ll be honest here. I think Evil Powers are intent on making us dumber. They tell us that thinking too hard about anything makes you a useless pointy head, that it’s all very simple really, JUST READ THE HEADLINES, that the latest reality TV cooking show is inherently more interesting than the world beyond our borders, that it’s more important to believe than to analyse. End result – we’ve got dumber. Which is just where Fox News wants us. So call me a smug latte-drinking greenie if you like, but I reckon lots of us are just…not that bright. Do you think that’s true…and if it is true, is it a teensy-weensy bit of a problem? Or am I over-thinking this?
Oh and by the way – nothing to do with any of the above – here’s a story about hope (but not, precisely, for us).