SHIER STRENGTH

Ways of Life – What’s Yours?

walking-path-scaled1000We go about our own ways of living by any means possible. Some of us have the luxury of choosing what to do with our times while others have no choice and are forced into unfortunate circumstances that are largely out of their control. By and large the American Dream does not stand true for all the people (citizens or otherwise) of this country because of the multifaceted factors that underlie the human experience, including: religious beliefs, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, interpersonal relationships, and personality.

What then, does it mean to live in this world according to one’s perceptions and ideals? Is everyone justified to his or her own way of living, or is there only one right way? It seems that this country in particular seems to believe that only one way is right, according to their belief systems. However, I argue that one’s subjective experience is too unique to be overlooked by the values of one partisanship or another. Now there seems to be a problem with the notion of accepting everyone’s subjective experience (i.e., post-modernism). For example, is someone who is labeled a sociopath or psychopath entitled to harm others relentlessly? On one hand, sure, the person has his or her own worldview and leave him/her to it. On the other hand, however, we see that this post-modern mentality will enable that person to harm many others if some preventative action is not taken. So, for the people who are “normal” (according to society), where do we cross the line between leaving each person alone and taking action to prevent them from “getting out of control”? I know that we have drawn no such line, as many innocent people are captured in the rotten and corrupt prison system of this fine country. I could post some statistics to  support this, but that’s not the point here. The point is this: when is it acceptable to leave each individual to his or her own lifestyle or to change it according to the standards of society? Should we allow each person to live as they wish? Or should we take action to make changes in the structure of the societal mechanisms that are now in place? I argue here for the latter, because I believe that, while this country is a bastion of individuality, it really is not at the same time because the people with wealth and power still control and regulate the workings of this place. As long as wealth and power continue to influence our daily living, we as human beings will never be able to appreciate the deeply rooted essence of life within each one of us. When can we learn to put aside our petty grievances and learn that there is more to this life than school, work, money, power, and ultimately, control?

When can we, as a society, realize that certain ways of living have been pressed upon the people for too long? Examine the consequences: pressure to work to support oneself with the possibility of being fired for something as simple as coming in a few minutes late, single mothers taking care of their children while working three jobs and nothing to show for it, and competition amongst human beings to be better than each other and feel superior in the “ranks of corporate industry” are just some examples. Moreover, there are considerable mental illnesses associated with this society’s manner of living, including: depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, and even schizophrenia. Sure, we can claim that some of these are biological in nature and the patient can see a psychiatrist and then receive medicine (if they can even afford it)…etc, but the reality is that mental illness is not only due to biological factors, but also psychological and social factors as those mentioned above. Given these consequences, is it really worth it to live in the grind of the “American Dream”? It feels like a blender to me, turning people into smoothies for the rich to drink as they sunbathe. How can one carve out his or her own path while undergoing the pressures of the world to be a “somebody”? As for me, I’m here to bring love and kindness into people’s hearts and be a brother to the people in my life. I don’t think wealth and control are necessary because they ultimately propagate the power structures already in place.

I would now like to leave you with this thought in mind, whether you have a choice about your life’s direction or not: If you could change this place you live in, you must be the change you seek to bring about. To confront, and not escape from, the realities of this place, I suggest we come together and share our visions of what could be in order to challenge what is, because we all know this place is broken and its ideals backwards. Imagine for a moment, that you could gather the people and summon the strength to make that change, would you keep living as you do now? Or would you be bold enough to start making a fundamental difference in the ways by which society lives today? I urge you to consider this question even if you are content in your current way of living, because there is value in finding meaning to your life and the way things are going now seem to leave the human experience rather dull and grey.

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