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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We Have Created the Problem... American Zeitgeist

The news are just out about the shooter in Virginia Tech being of Korean descent. As soon as the news hit, the media was already speculating about motives, cultural and otherwise. See, I believe we have created the problem ourselves here in the United States. The culture wars are not as simple as that being "Left" versus "Right," "Conservative" versus "Liberal." The problem of our society is indeed one of ideologies. Somewhere along the line, the elements that shape society began to give in to the demands of the individual. One generation after the other, we have become accustomed to getting our way most of the time. When we do not get our way, we turn to emotions that otherwise would be left dormant. I don't know the motives of the young man who killed all those people at Virginia Tech, but something deep inside me tells me (at 10:40 AM on April 17) before the motives are revealed that this has something to do with this young man not "getting his way" on something he deeply cared about. Again, generation after generation growing up with a sense of entitlement and a constant inclination that "it's all about me."

We fill young minds with the over-idealistic, unattainable goals such as "it's up to you guys to end poverty," "you can all end the wars and conflicts in the world." These are all noble sentiments and it is right to think and certainly discuss them. But I believe it is a great disservice to the young generation for us to make them believe they can actually change the mess we have made of the world. The best we can do is hope that the world continues to work with all its imperfections. War and poverty (human suffering in general) is part of the human condition. Since the beginning of times, conflict, poverty and suffering in general have not only been a plague but have actually contributed to human development as we know it. To make young minds believe that they could realistically fix all of these problems is plain irresponsible. Rather, as an alternative, we need to make young minds realize the consequences of their own individual actions before they can start acting for the mass of humanity. Other alternatives include but are not limited to: 1) help young minds become stronger in their sense of right and wrong, 2) help young minds identify those things that they can realistically help alleviate pain and suffering (not end), for example a local homeless shelter soup kitchen, etc. 3) help young people realize that even though they might get involved politically things are not going to change overnight. There's a large population of our present college students who not only disagree with the policies of the Bush administration, but plainly hate the president's guts. Yet, in the most recent election, the lowest number of votes came from that very same voting group. Again, I think young people have been poisoned to believe that they can "change the world" by simply screaming about its ailments. Whoever screams the loudest (or posts more videos on YouTube) wins. I am not, in any stretch of the imagination, blaming the younger generation. On the contrary, again, I blame my generation for continuing this ridiculous propagation of over-idealistic and unrealistic goals and expectations of the younger population.

I promise this is the first and LAST "personal opinion" post.

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At 11:57 AM, Blogger Lover of Books said...

You are right in the sense that people think they can just yell and change will happen. It takes more than that and you have to vote in order to have your voice heard. :) Thanks for the personal post and I hope to post about another books soon. :)

At 2:09 AM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...

I was afraid that labels and dogmatic opinions would start to form once the killer's identity was released.
I worked as a travel writer and learnt that emotions flourished the same across countries, but yes, it does feel like an entire social unit has broken down.
A relevant post, JCR, one I enjoyed mulling over and you shouldn't apologise for writing on thoughts close to your heart. That's what blogs are for. :-)


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