Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can We Take a Step in the Right Direction?

Life in the United States has changed greatly since I was a child. I would like to say that the times have gotten better and that the quality of life has improved, but I would have to say on each one of those points quite the opposite has occurred. We have become technologically minded and slowly but surely, small farmers have been put out of business, and rural land ownership has moved toward the cities. Large food producers have taken over genetically engineering our food. There is very little food consumed which is natural or unprocessed anymore.

When I grew up in San Jose, Calif. there were orchards, and places to run. Now it is asphalt, cars, homes and businesses. There is traffic, lots and lots of traffic. We have built this asphalt society on false promises, debts and empty dreams. Just recently we have been reminded of this with the downturn of our economy. It was about 7 years ago before our latest crash that I was visiting my old stomping grounds. I was heading up into the Saratoga Hills in CA for a concert. While I was driving with my brother-in-law I saw a billboard on the side of the road advertising new tract homes starting at $1,000,000. I was amazed that anyone would think that was a good deal. The thing is, it wasn't up in the hills but it was down in the suburbs. I asked myself at that point how this could continue? It obviously couldn't. Now I am a home owner like so many in the US that has a mortgage that is under water. Fortunately we bought an older home so we haven't lost the equity that some have. Instead of working through things it is often easier and now acceptable to leave our troubles for someone else to clean up. Have things changed. I guess they have since we now believe that society does owe us a living.

What has caused this fiasco? While I was in college way back in the day, I took a Sociology Class. In the class we discussed the importance of the family unit in any society. In studying societies that had fallen, the disintegration of the family was the main cause of their demise. As the years have passed I have watched as moral values have declined and the nuclear family (mom,dad and kids) has gotten to a perilous state. If trends continue 40% to 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Children in classrooms today are the exception, when it comes to a complete original family unit living under the same roof. There is no commitment anymore to spouse or children. With that non commitment we have become a me first society. That has spawned greed and arrogance as dominant forces in our society.

Morals as a whole have gone into the sewer. No wonder marriages are failing at such an alarming rate. A PG13 movie and possibly a PG movie today would have been rated R a few years ago. R-rated movies would have been rated X not long ago. Raw sexuality is available for all ages on any computer which is hooked up to the internet. People are arrested all of the time for distributing child pornography. I bring this up because it is such a heinous crime. There was just a case locally where this was being done from a public library computer. Human kind is stretching the limits on how vile and immoral we can become, and there is an overall complacent acceptance. That line continues to inch out so why do we wonder where commitment and sacrifice have gone. Gay rights have been taken to new levels in many states. We think that we are the first society to embrace the practice. Gays have existed in every society and in just about every era. I believe that all people should have equal rights in most areas with the exception of the family. The definition of a family as husband wife and children should not only be preserved but fully protected as it stands. Society depends on this unit to exist and to thrive. What we call progressive ideas are often very old practices that have never brought true happiness. It doesn't matter what I say on these matters as to the convincing of others, but I can tell you that if we were to take our society today and try to implant it within itself just 20 to 30 years in the past, there would be a major social upheaval and rejection of our "progress state" would be certain. With all of the moral decline we have, we are slowly sinking into oblivion, while day by day, week by week, and year by year we continue to blindly accept our state. How long will it take for us to perish as a society? I do not know, but we are certainly on track and not slowing the process down.

Is there hope? There is about as much as there is with a runaway train on a downhill slope. When the crash comes, it will be tremendous and many will die. The survivors will pick up the pieces and they will start over. Hopefully they will have learned from the mistakes that were made. I kind of doubt that there will be lasting progress. I look at us and what we could have learned from history. We haven't, so how can we expect future generations to? We are so into our progress, money and things that we lose interest in what will truly bring us happiness. We actually believe that we are different from previous generations. Technology changes, but people, their needs and vices don't. With our technological arrogance we either do not believe that people will always be the same with the same needs and vices, or we ignore it for convenience and comforts sake.

I believe that mankind is one family. I believe that we are all brothers and sisters in that sense. None of us are perfect or better than one another. We all make errors in this life. It is what we do to correct these errors that truly defines us. How do we know what is right, and what is wrong? I believe that we have had a light within us since birth whispering to us what fits within those parameters. Since we are not having a lot of success as a society right now, I am of the opinion that we are not choosing between right and wrong very well. As things remain as they are in the world I do not see us upgrading our position. Since we cannot depend on overall improvement it is my belief that we still can and will find true happiness by interacting positively within our own life sphere. There is always hope for individual and family progress and the attainment of joy. Admitting that we are wrong and then moving to change ourselves is always a step in the right direction.