There is a rot that starts with our assumptions of being so unique that no one else knows our fears or our insecurities. It’s a rot that suggests that if we trust openly, we’ll be mortally wounded and humiliated to the point of self-loathing. This rot is reflected in the headlines that spew forth the accomplishment of some woman in South Africa that has apparently been voted the sexiest woman on the planet. This rot is further expressed in our willingness to indulge in useless fads and trends that make us seem more hip and happening (archaic term used deliberately to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to have ‘cool’ terms to use) so that everyone around us can admire us and aspire to want to be like the image they’ve conjured up in their heads about us.
This rot…stinks. This rot is what is responsible for groups like FEMEN having a platform, for people like the ANC government of South Africa being revered while raping this country of it’s intellectual, material, economical, and moral wealth, to name only a few domains of corruption. The common denominator in all this is simply the allure of an image driven by unashamed vanity that is cloaked in a pretense of success. When some resist the temptation to be drawn into this downward spiral that leads to a cesspool of base desires, they’re seen as backward, out of touch, or old fashioned.
The truth is, those that chase that perfect body, that perfect outfit, that perfect hairdo, or that perfect job, they’re the ones that are out of touch. My blog dashboard recently reflected the tragedies of life by someone who witnessed the murder of her own mother followed by the ‘suicide by cop’ of her father juxtaposed against someone who was pursuing a marriage interest. Between these two poles of life, there were others lamenting their weight, their job, their social standing, their image, and a number of other complaints, with very few showing any sincere passion to celebrate life, or at least their life.
The fickleness of this pervasive ‘modern’ (read secular) culture carries nothing but destruction with it. Its romanticised notions of freedom and liberation are almost always distilled down to the reality of it being an extended experience of a fleeting emotion that was sustained by the imagination of one that is hopeful about reality. However the reality is, much of what the west has given us has slowly but surely resulted in the decay of society, the erosion of wholesome moral values, the ravaging of the environment due to its excessively indulgent consumerist approach to individuality, and its complete abandonment of community to the point where we seek communities online because we don’t recognise our neighbours any longer, and we dump our parents in homes because it’s ‘our time’.
A casual glimpse of the images of life portrayed in so many online collections of western photographers (oh, the irony) reflecting their experiences and observations of communities and families in non-western settings reveals the almost profound sense of sincerity and joy in a way of life that is rich in culture and social cohesion, while getting by on a fraction of what is needed just to be deemed civil in the west. Those societies that show signs of aspiring to adopt the luxuries or privileges of a so-called first world lifestyle are already reflecting the fatigue and loneliness that accompanies such a choice. The only communities in the west that do not show the ravages of this modern lifestyle are those that still hold on to their traditional values without giving it up to the decay where religion, spirituality, and extended family responsibilities are mocked and ridiculed, to name a few.
We live in a time of extreme dysfunction to the point where it’s nearly impossible to even recognise it any longer. The retarded way of life has become the norm, so only those that are excessively putrid in how they conduct their lives are actually excluded from main stream society, while the rest keep embellishing their lives with trinkets and distractions that are truly meaningless, but symbolically powerful. No wonder we’re always so tired and the average home cooked meal is no longer sufficient to sustain us without a healthy dose of hamster-like exercise and dietary supplements.
There is much value and peace of mind in not being obliged to society. It’s easy to achieve as well. Unfortunately in order to do so, we need to know what we stand for and what we desire to achieve independent of those symbolically powerful trinkets and embellishments that have become the frame of our reference of a life well lived.