As we move on from 2012, let’s carry with us the lesson that when evil happens against any of us, it’s a call to all of us to be in the moment and to stay available for each other. Were it not for these moments of shared horror and adversity, our bonds as human beings would be less meaningful and strong; and those tethers would become the missing links to our collective humanity.
As for all the other moments of our days, maybe it’s time to embrace more of them “as is,” and spend less time enhancing and escaping them through our free will choices. As a result, this might cause us to reflect more frequently on who we’re becoming as individuals and as a society.
Reflection used to work. It’s what kept the bulk of American society off the 11:00 news. Now we’re living the downside of our brains as we continually feed and program them with our current daily diet of anxiety, gossip and play-by-play accounts of our worst impulses acted out and glorified not only for our minds, but those of our children. As they mirror us in our insatiable pursuits and choices of information, entertainment and content, we sometimes forget how much we let down our guard and allow them to participate on the fringe of our appetites, i.e. internet news, video games and movies.
For example, horror flicks. They used to be fun to watch, not something that dealt out psychological baggage to get over. Or subjected an audience to events so extremely sadistic and graphic that, depending on a young person’s number of unfiltered exposures, could be indicators of 11:00 news episodes to come. Tragically, recent events have added yet another real life horror story for all ages to psychologically and emotionally process.
Whether or not this act was due to mental content overwhelm, or the unseen development of content triggers, the reportage of it exploited every possible salacious detail or story angle available. Eventually we got to the heart of what had occurred – that those left living had much to grieve and that the world had relearned the meaning – and feeling – of empathy. Further reflection seemed better left for a future time yet the media kept its attention on Newtown and the “why” of it. FYI, in general terms, we’re the “why”.
Once upon a time being an adult meant responsible indulgence of one’s interests and appetites. The current trend means permission and entitlement for any adult to let the kids experience a wide range of inappropriate content right along with them. Remember when no one under 17 could watch an R-rated film? That worked until the age of dvds and home videos. Now the access threshold has blurred in keeping with the more relaxed in-home availability of adult-themed content.
This, of course, includes sexualized content. Our kids who have been programmed to receive adult-themed images since their first conscious consumption of tv shows and ads, segue daily onto the internet with its pop-up ads and unfiltered, minimally sourced content. Add their awareness of online predators masquerading as childhood peers, because sex is everywhere, and you’ve got kids whose sensibilities of who they are – even at a young age – include a sexual identity that hooks them up and into the adult world.
Kids are used to it. They’re very well aware that, even if you’re a kid, you’d better hit the ground running when it comes to establishing a sexual identity. You can never be too young to dress and think sexy. Ask any clothing manufacturer or marketer. After all, who better to decide who your child should become? And we as trendy, hip adults allow it over and over again.
It’s a war of pointing fingers – society blames lax parental attitudes, parents blame the dictates of fashion and marketer programming, tabloids and newscasters point informational fingers at anyone, especially those with a friend who’ll speak on camera to report the endless vacuousness and/or dysfunction behind their friend’s now blatantly bad choices and, conversely, ours in our pursuit of ‘nunya’ as in ‘nunya business’. Other than being properly advised when someone’s psychological overwhelm compromises public safety. And God keeps score of all accountable parties and their lack of willingness to be accountable; and to change the societal landscape for the better.
Whew! Talk about your epic soap operas! No wonder we’ve abandoned watching soaps in favor of reality tv. And many of us live that reality tv concept daily to the point of the faux becoming the foe of who we are as people. People who gladly, willingly, addictively participate in our own societal demise because it feels more trendy or authentic than actually choosing the content of who we become. So much easier to buy what’s being sold as the more desirable version of our authentic selves than actually becoming our most authentic selves.
We don’t seem to get that it’s all part of how we’ve chosen to allow ourselves to be programmed. Or that what is lost isn’t faux at all. It’s real – the real of who we were before giving it up to a preconceived notion of a commercialized ideal.
So where and how does anything or anyone real fit into this picture? Stay tuned. Until God actually does call “Time”, there’s always more to come. And always one more chance to get it right – for real. Free will on an upswing – wow, now there’s a reality concept worth pursuing into the New Year!