Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The centre of the universe is all around us

A few years ago one word took on a whole new meaning, going from being used as one small part of a sentence to being a sentence in its own right. That word is 'whatever'.
Wherever you went there would be a bored and disillusioned teenager going "Whatever."
This roughly translated as "I'm so full of angst that I can't be bothered to dedicate my last bit of head space to anything you have to say."
Since then, 'whatever' has filtered through the consciousness of the greater collective to become the go-to word for summing up the apathy that dominates modern society.
Nobody cares.

Actually this is a generalisation - there are those who care, but unfortunately they're few and far between and are often regarded as being 'a bit odd'.
For the most part however, it feels as if people have become disconnected from the world and its other inhabitants. They go about their business without even appearing to be aware of the presence of others, and any encroachment upon their space or progress is seen as a gross invasion of their privacy and/or rights.
When you're walking along the street with your head held high, taking in your surroundings and engaging with the world at large, you can get the overwhelming feeling of being some sort of weirdo.
You look around you and notice that most people are either glaring angrily at the floor as if it has personally insulted them, or they're staring intently at their phone - paying no attention to potential hazards such as other pedestrians or traffic, because they're too absorbed in the world inside their own head to pay attention to the one around them.

On the road few have any patience, with aggression being the default setting for anyone sitting behind a steering wheel. If you dare to drive with politeness, consideration, and within the realms of the Highway Code, you find yourself on the receiving end of the wrath of all and sundry.
This is noticeably worse the further south you go in the UK. When you're used to Cambridgeshire it's a wonderful relief to drive around North Yorkshire, but a nightmare in Devon.

Then we have the apparent lack of value placed upon human life. The number of news reports telling us about stabbings, shootings, and all other manner of extreme unpleasantness could easily make you want to barricade yourself behind your front door and refuse to come out.
The conspiracy theorist in me might suggest that this could be government-controlled media manipulation to keep everyone in line through fear. Make people want to stay indoors eating pre-packaged food containing god-knows what while being brainwashed by the constant stream of propaganda emanating from the TV, and you can make them think and behave exactly how you want. The only difference between this situation and that descibed in George Orwell's 1984 is that instead of Big Brother telling people how to be, we have a raft of so-called celebrities.
Turn on the news and it's an endless parade of atrocities that generate bad feeling, anger, frustration, and all other kinds of negative emotions.
With this outlook on the world, it's hardly surprising that so many people are deliberately distancing themselves from life and instead focusing on their own selfish desires, each and every one of them under the illusion that they are the centre of the universe and everything else revolves around them.

So yes, this has been a bit of a soapbox moment, but it's a subject that frustrates me.
The one consolation is that not everybody has succumbed to that mentality, and those that continue to tread the path of goodwill are a diminishing resource that needs to be treasured.