Hard Work, Empathy And Kindness?
We are brought up in our society to become competitive, this is fostered by our education system and the values our parents transfer to us. We learn the value of cooperation, and of being able to ‘get along’, but it is this sense of ‘getting your share’and competing with others which seems to be favored in our society.
Sport is encouraged in our schools, and feelings of emnity for the opposing team, for one’s competitors is greatly fostered. Little kids of 5 & 6 are encouraged to join ‘Little League’ clubs and Netball/Footie is hugely talked about. For many parents this approach to their kid’s education seems normal; they themselves were quite often brought up in the same way.
But this focus on winning, on competing with barely controlled aggression, is this really what human life has to be?
If we look around us we can readily see that unhappiness is pretty common in our cities, towns and small communities. The Suicide rate in Australia matches and often exceeds the Road Toll, which in itself outstrips the casualty rate of War. Over 1.2 million people kill themselves each year in the world. Now we can go on pretending that everything is normal, and only the mentally unwell, the vulnerable tend get depressed, and top themselves, but this is quite simply untrue.
Very few of us are completely untouched by this massive epidemic of human misery. So it is well past time when we stopped to consider the reasons, no doubt someone you know, or even in your own family is depressed, or even has paid the ultimate price.
We all think Sport, and the attitudes we have to life are pretty normal, but in effect our ruthless attitudes towards coming out on top, and winning, of the pressures to succeed are killing people and generating untold suffering. Competition is one thing, ruthless indifference is another.
Gary Vaynerchuk speaks of providing a role model for young people-so they don’t regard ‘Gold Watches’ ‘Ferraris’ and ‘Mansions’ as being their objectives, and instead he wants to foster ‘Hard work, humility, empathy and kindness’.
How much do we need this today where we have such a massive number of people who choose to exit, rather than carry on trying to measure up?
Hard work, anything worth having is only achievable through working for it.
Humility, in our big noting culture where appearances, image, ambition are valued above all else, we need to understand what ‘Humility’ is, that we are all simply human beings alive on this little planet, that we all deserve an opportunity to be happy.
Empathy, this is one of those words which is in danger of becoming just another ‘buzz word’-it actually means something important, the ability to actually feel what others feel, something which is not encouraged in our sport-centric education system & society where you are at a distinct disadvantage if you are not equally aggressive and ruthless in your dealings.
Kindness, can we express kindness to people other than those who are in our family, in our ‘clubs’, in our tribe? Kindness is something the Vicar preaches about on Sunday if you go to church, something you display at Christmas time for a few days because it is our custom. Do you think being ‘Kind’ is a weakness, a soft option?
The suicide rate in our society is appalling, depression is at epidemic levels. Don’t you think it is time to review how you think, how you work, what you consider ‘valuable’?
Business can be a force for development, for building affluence and opportunity, but increasingly it is just the means for exploiting, for taking more than you need, for treading on people.
You can either ignore the distressing reality of our society, or you can make a difference. Choice, this is something we all have. It is with the choices we make that we have the most freedom, the opportunities to make a difference.
Many people are afraid in our society, fearful of looking different, of not fitting in with the latest accepted version of being ‘cool’, of appearing foolish to their friends and family; maybe if we thought less of how others see us, and more of how we see ourselves when nobody is around we might begin to turn things around.
There is a lot we can do as individuals, it is often the small gestures of acceptance, of appreciation that make the most difference to someone when they are depressed, or suicidal which can turn things around for them.
As digital publishers we can have a lot of impact, and influence, perhaps make it about how we can improve life, rather than make the most money, explain rather than cynically influence, clarify rather than exploit.
We are all vulnerable to the demands that our social world places on us, to compete, to succeed, to be seen as ‘winning’. This seems to be the central pillar of our world, it results in many of us adopting inauthentic personas, to impress and out compete others. The overtly aggressive world of Madison Avenue style advertising typifies this attitude.
You might have seen ‘Mad Men‘ on T.V, or Netflix, if not I can strongly recommend it to you, the writer/s of this production were very insightful, and took great care in accurately presenting our commercial world, as it developed through the 1960’s. This was the world born out of high competition, and aggression. It is obvious that this is changing,
The web has changed our world in ways that many of us are not fully aware of, we are encouraged to trivialize the web, to see it as a place of novelty, hype and fictional imagination. The truth is that the WWW is a massive agency of change, and an egalitarian publishing space. This does not mean it is low quality, or low value. Our culture is turning away from the world of the ‘Mad Men’, advertising is being rejected in ways that were unexpected. Users of the web are far more likely to implement ‘Adblocking’ filters, and this should give us a clue as to how culture is changing.
We have the reality of suicide rates, and ‘drop out’ rates, homelessness, and poverty are very real scourges. We have the opportunity to change the game, I think the World Wide Web offers us a unique occasion, one that has never come around before.
The printing press was the first launching of our ‘modern world’, the web is a social leap forward of even greater significance than that invention, in my opinion, and we have the opportunity to reconfigure the very basis of our society. Blockchain, and the massive publication potential of the web both represent an unprecedented possibility to change the entire order of our western world. The ‘tech giants’ might have stolen the march on the rest of us, because they were in position to see the full potential of the web earlier.
We can allow the usual investor boards, the ‘think tank’ consortiums who represent the shadowy owners of legacy media, of the institutions of our world, to continue their repressive hegemony, or we can wise-up and grasp the full significance of what Tim Berners-Lee gave to us all. The WWW is so much more than we are understanding.
Education, finance, science, the Arts, all of these areas which we value so highly can be manifested, and delivered to all, we have the means to build independent paths, innovative directions, without the old order calling the shots. This is why there is so much negative talk about social media, and the web these days; the legacy world is witnessing the strongest opposition ever produced. Let’s not blow it this time.
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