Depending on who you ask the state of the world is either the best it's ever been or the absolute worst. The following are a few reasons that argue the latter:
(Source can be found at the end of the article)
"In China, there are thousands of dead pigs that float in the river that provides Shanghai with its drinking water. Over 50% of China's surface water is so polluted that it remains impossible to be even treated to make it drinkable, whereas 60% of its groundwater is considered severely polluted.
The Environmental Protection Agency's air quality scale that measures how safe the air is to breathe concluded that a pollution rating of 300 results in unsafe air, meaning one must stay indoors and have an air purifier on to clean the air. This also means one cannot move too much and must try to keep as still as possible. On January 12th in 2013, the reading reached 886.
In 2014, China was responsible for 27% of the greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest in the world.
There are also Cancer villages. Not just a few, 247 of them.
This is just the price that needs to be paid to maintain and strengthen the economy. And that's all that is important.
So, 'What is wrong with our society today?'
I am singling out a single country, which seems fair. However, if I had to write about the shortcomings of the 195/196 countries in the world, the answer would be unbearably long. So I chose to write about China - the highest trees always catch the most wind. Anyone who denies the existence of the severe pollution in China ought to read up about it. My colleague at work has a daughter who is asthmatic, who went to China to go and teach - when she landed in the country, she left the airport on a stretcher. I am in no way bad-mouthing the country, but I am highlighting facts that are supported by numerous articles. I feel sorry for the people who have to suffer the effects of pollution, and also, the environment that is being destroyed for development."
"Our society is no longer organized and designed to meet human needs. To a certain extent, human needs are in the picture but they are sort of an afterthought.
In business terminology, suboptimization is a situation where a process, procedure, or system yields less than the best possible outcome or output, caused by a lack of best possible coordination between different components, elements, parts, etc.
In our society, every person is trying to make sure that their own person (or maybe their family unit) is healthy, happy and entertained. What happens is that they may inadvertently (or knowingly) take actions that are in their own best interest but bad for society as a whole.
In economics, there are externalities and the tragedy of the commons.
Externalities are any harmful effects of a business activity (for example, pollution, noise, damage to the ecosystem, etc). The wealthy and powerful in the United States (as one example) want to get all the profits of a business activity for themselves but do not want to pay the costs. Then if the people harmed by their activities try to organize to regulate or tax their business activities, then they complain that their rights are being infringed upon when in fact they are the one infringing on others.
This situation is somewhat similar to me taking someone else's kidney without their permission when my own kidneys start failing (i.e. taking someone else's health to increase my own leisure, health, and enjoyment in life).
The tragedy of the commons is a situation where we have a common resource (for example grazing land shared by a community or the entire earth). At first, everyone is allowed to let their livestock graze on the land. However, as the human community grows, there are too many animals for the land to support. The problem is that each person tries to maximize their own benefit by taking as much of the resource as possible. In the end, the resource becomes destroyed.
Finally, in the United States (as just one example), peoples' power has been severely weakened (in my own opinion). While as consumers we recognize that we can influence companies with our buying decisions, we are not very well organized to increase our power to improve the structure and performance of our society as a whole. This is demonstrated by the fact that out of each major political party nominated, there were two of the least popular candidates for president of the USA and it is seemingly little we could do.
Furthermore, people in the United States are becoming (in my opinion) accustomed to mediocrity. In other words, it seems that we have become accustomed to not having a great educational system (except for the wealthy). We have been accustomed to not having great communities. We have become accustomed to high prices for land and property. We have become accustomed to politicians supporting corporate interests more than human interests. We have become accustomed to starving people worldwide and the destruction of the world's ecosystems.
I hope I have touched on a lot of what is wrong with society today. The one last thing that I could say is that we have lost touch with our humanity. Every human has the capacity for love, joy, pain, and suffering. I will end with a quote, 'we must either love each other, or we must die'. We must not be afraid. We must not worry about death, pain, loss, and such. We can stand up for ideas bigger than ourselves!'"
"The fact that in most cases there is no society.
What we experience as society is an attempt at scaling up tribal life. Survival was easier as hunting, foraging and fighting off strangers and predators as a group. The tribe was a safe space (in the real sense of the word) for you and your family and in case you didn't make it - an 'insurance' for their survival.
Modern society has scaled up from the social framework of a small tribe but as most things in life - it doesn't scale up well. You and your neighbors do not rely on each other for survival and if your family requires major help you will enjoy the loving and caring bureaucratic hand of welfare services.
The paucity of social value is replaced with a series of heterotopias such as school, college, the army and the modern workspace in which most people spend most of their time. In this societies-away-from-society model, we are supposed to find meaning and bonding but most of us don't. Originally these institutes supported a society, now they kind of exist as a superstructure independent of it, feeding itself regardless of any underlying social construct.
So, in a nutshell, society is wrong."
"Many people are focused on big-picture issues, or jobs and education. Let's focus on a few smaller things that can and should be changed.
1. Food: So much is wrong here. First, we eat too much in the U.S, and way too much junk food or processed food. This costs money. Then we become overweight and get health problems which cost a lot of money. Then we go to the gym to lose the weight, which also costs money. Pretty senseless right?
So why do we eat so badly? What have we done to our society that puts us on a treadmill that harms our body? Easy - all aspects of it cost money. There are now entire industries designed to treat and satisfy each of those problems. I'm not saying there is a grand conspiracy, but that we started out on the wrong foot and continued on that route.
We need to eat better and cheaper - it can easily be done. If we all did it, the savings would be enormous.
2. Fun: We have too much of it for consumption. Not too long ago, entertainment was something that you enjoyed once in a while after you have completed all your tasks. Then we went to wanting entertainment on demand at any time. Now, we insist that every task be 'fun' and entertaining, or we aren't interested.
Again, no grand conspiracy, but every task has to be fun? Taking out the garbage is not fun, but it still must be done. The problem gets worse because we are attracted to entertainment, and so we tend to go with task-with-fun built in rather than task-as-a-chore.
What's worse is all this fun costs money. There is a huge incentive for companies to make everything fun because we will pay more money for it. An interesting stat: People who grew up prior to the 1950's fondly recall friends and relative standing around the piano singing songs at holidays and other get-togethers. People who grew up after the 1950's have no such recollections.
Humans provided their own entertainments for millennia with singing, dancing, games of their own device and so on. Not today - no one sing-alongs! At all! In fact, if you sing you are probably looked as a little kooky. Playing a musical instrument takes time (and learning it isn't fun), so no one is interested. But they will plunk down lots of money to hear OTHER people sing or play instruments.
3. Food: Again. The way we produce food in the U.S is awful. Read Michael Pollan's accounts. We grow monocultures of plants that are sold by Monsanto that do not reproduce seeds. Then we need to drop lots of chemicals made by Monsanto on the plants to increase yield and keep away pests. This depletes the soils, and the vegetables we eat are now a bag of carbs with little or no nutritional value.
All those articles that tell you that if you eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies you get all the nutrients your body needs? Baloney! Those studies are now over 30 years old. The latest research of actual food in your supermarket proves that there is little nutrition in that tomato, squash, cucumber, or lettuce. But you buy organic! At Whole Foods! All I could do is laugh at this point but you keep thinking that if you like. Sure it's better than conventional, but not by much. You need to buy local and organic direct from the farm, or only one step away before you are getting any nutritional value to what you eat.
4. Societal Silos: There is very little interaction between different strata of society. A long time ago, you interacted with people of all ages, income levels, and social strata. Walking around New York, for instance, forced you to literally rub shoulders with the poor, the rich and the middle class. You HAD to interact with everyone. Whether they were servants, or immigrants or whatever, you had to see all sorts of people.
Today, it is easy to live in a community where everyone is just like you. In fact, we encourage it. This promotes a 'group think' and it also promotes notions of 'othered' peoples. It is easy to demonize minorities if you have never met any. Although we have more information than ever before, we have less social integration."
I've got a couple:
1. Confusing not having to justify our actions with being unable to justify our actions.
Don't-have-to-explain-myself and can't-explain-myself _are entirely different concepts. Don't-have-to _is a defense mechanism for can't. People do incredibly crappy things to each other and revel in the fact that technically there's no explanation necessary. LIFE IS A ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY STORE, LET'S BREAK IN AND LOOT. We're convinced that inconsiderate or irrational behavior shows some odd form of confidence because you don't worry about being well liked or clarifying your actions to others. Entirely too often, the simple fact is that we can't justify the bad things that we've done. I get it, it's great to free yourself from the chains of society's judgment, but it's also nice to be capable of validating your actions, at the very least, to yourself.
2. Replacing the phrase "Call an ambulance!" with "Are you recording this?"
It's incredible how many emergencies are recorded by people who could also just put down their camera and help other humans not die, even if that just means calling 911. 'Um, hey, I'm drowning in this lake, would you mind calling for help or at least running the video you're taking through an Amaro filter when it goes on Instagram so my death can be replayed in an aesthetically satisfying hue. Don't worry, my demise isn't a huge deal - now if your video is being recorded vertically, that would be tragic.'
3. Doing non-intelligent things and calling it a 'prank'.
Any day now, a YouTube prankster will pass away because they tried to do or say something moronic to the wrong person. Their subpar explanation or plea of, 'Wait, it's a prank, it's just a prank!' won't work, and they'll suffer the harshest of penalties. It's incredible the stuff people are pulling off that's gone from invasive to aggressive to testing patience to now double-dog-daring someone to physically harm them.
4. Choosing to try recording evidence of every experience instead of actually living in the moment.
People eat lukewarm meals because they had to take the picture, filter it, come up with the hashtags and share it on Instagram before taking a bite. People have video footage of songs being played at concerts that they can re-watch countless times, though they can't recall it happening in person because they were playing camera operator. Yes, it's incredible that we can share awesome sights and instances, but it sucks to focus so much on showing others how great something is that you forget to thoroughly enjoy it for yourself.
5. Abusing internet anonymity.
Internet commenters are like ultra malicious versions of Simon Cowell. Many aren't just harsh critics, they're out for blood. It's making us an insensitive bunch, as cowards can anonymously say horrible things and never have to see the results of their mean-spirited words. We don't have a human person legitimately sad or crying their eyes out in front of us, we can only downvote or hopelessly reply and move on.
6. Making everything about ourselves.
'Look at me volunteering! Look at me handing this homeless man a dollar! Look at me taking the ice bucket challenge!' Hey, I get that the last one has raised a remarkable amount of money, I just find it sad that the only way to spread awareness was to concoct a plan that offers people a chance to have their own moment in the spotlight before donating.
7. Having a desire for achievements without valuing the actual meaning.
The achievements differ, from wanting recognition to longing for materials and everything in between. I want 10,000 Instagram followers, but I don't care about building a relationship with those people, I just want them to suddenly exist and praise all of my posts. I want to have a lot of money but I don't want to like, do stuff to earn that wealth. So many people just want stuff immediately, and with no sentimental value required or attached.
8. Aggressively bashing or mocking different belief systems and personal lifestyles.
It's almost as if peacefully disagreeing isn't an option, and we have to yell or turn on CAPS LOCK to aggressively educate any buffoon who doesn't agree with us. It's sad because the internet offers an opportunity to be introduced to and learn about various cultures, perspectives, and opinions, yet so many people shut down and hate on anything that doesn't fit their system. We have every reason to be the most tolerant, empathetic, humane generation the world will ever see, yet you turn on the news or go to any social media comment section and it's clear that we aren't.
9. Holding a large percentage of communication over text messages.
It's impersonal and full of abbreviations and acronyms to keep the interaction as hasty, short and detached as possible. Then we wonder why so many people are socially awkward. With the lack of in the flesh, face-to-face interaction we have, Skype and FaceTime are like hooked on phonics for reading body language. That's sad.
10. Oversharing everything.
Not every little thing your brain spews out needs to be photographed, video recorded or written into 140 characters or fewer statements, and shared with the masses in a potentially permanent, in-erasable abyss. It's not like someone's forcing you to use social media, and if they do, chances are it's just a YouTube prank, so lighten up."
"There are too many high expectations from a very young age!
I am 34 and have no kids, but if I had them, I would be terrified by the expectations they would have to perform from a very young age.
We are all required to keep updated, review, and adjust ourselves... but for what? There is no certainty that if you do it that your employer will retain you or promote you, that your partner will stay with you, or that your life will be any better.
Of course, hard work is great, but sometimes also a little work is good. Of course, you should aim for the best, but also appreciate what you have and make the most of it!
Live now. With what you have. It's okay if you are not the CEO of a company. Or you are not working towards it. You might be happier living in a less stylish house but closer to the people that really matter to you.
Celebrate yourself today, with or without what you or society considers great achievements'. You deserve it."
"Society is kind of rigged.
If you choose to go to university, then you're screwed. If you don't go to university, then you're also screwed.
Let me explain.
In Australia, the average university student spends around $16,000 per year on university fees. So a four-year course would cost $64,000. Then you have to get a job, where only 65% of graduates get a job in the industry they studied in. And, then, and only then, can you start paying back your debt.
Now you have to generate $64,000 on top of the costs you pay for living. Say bye to your much-needed holiday to Europe. Say bye to your deposit for a house. Say bye to all your savings - you'll have to start from scratch. But don't worry! You have a degree, and a not-so-stable job now! You'll be fine.
If you don't go to uni, then you're not much better off. You will either have to go into some trade or have an underpaid job. You'll also be competing against millions of other people just like you. Only a small percentage of you will get a decent or a good job. The rest will get some other less-desirable jobs. Someone's going to have to clean those toilets: they don't clean themselves!
See? Either way, your prospects don't look bright. Only 17% of people are 'engaged' in their jobs. Only 30% of people are 'happy' with their jobs. What about the other 70%? I think society could do a little better than that, wouldn't you say so?"
"Society has become incredibly superficial.
It's not about having an amazing life anymore. It's about making a mediocre life look great on Instagram.
Everything is about appearances. But so many people fail to realize that getting likes on Facebook is just as useful as having a lot of money in Monopoly. It strokes people's ego, but what's the end result?
Have we really become so blinded that looks are more important than the message behind them? Nowadays, we idolize 'famous' people, even when we don't even know what they are famous for.
Books are judged by their covers far too often. Be it their weight, the size of their houses or how much money they have in their bank accounts. People are labeled not by their values and personality but by their appearances.
So many people live their lives in pursuit of more wealth, power and influence, but are never content with what they have. We have become too obsessed with material things, to the point where people would do almost anything for money.
Only about 30% of people truly like their jobs. The rest? They spend so much of their time doing something they don't enjoy, just to get more money. Can't we do better than that?
From what I've noticed, people just sit back and blend in. Each and every one of us has the ability to change not only their lives but the lives of the people around them. But so few actually do."