Social Development


Things always get worse before they get better, and when they do get better, they get worse.

It’s a paradoxical situation that happens when big improvements are made – the door is opened to growth and along with it comes a brand new set of problems.

When a person learns to ride a bicycle they add to their life a great deal of fun, accomplishment, and faster transit time.

They also add the responsibility of maintaining the bike, the risk of marrying their teeth to the curb at speeds that were previously impossible, and inevitably ruining several pairs of pants before they consistently remember to tuck their one pant leg into their sock.

How do the costs and benefits add up? Is the return on investment big enough to call the changes “improvements”?

That’s an important question and it all depends on the situation.

Pressure forces change, and change creates pressure. Where that’s difficult for us is that we – as a race – have always needed to learn lessons the hard way.

We have always had a reach that exceeds our grasp. It is this very nature that has brought us the progress we all share, and also many of the hardships we share along with it.

Our current cultural climate is tumultuous and in part is a result of our rapid change; the last century brought us from the early electric age well into the space age.

When my father was nine years old our species put the first man-made object into space: in 1959, the Sputnik satellite made the dreams of science fiction into reality.

Ten years later a human being went for a walk on the lunar surface. The speed at which these developments arrived is almost too fast to imagine, but it happened right in front of all of us.

Well, all of them. I wasn’t around for a little while yet.

Fast forward a few more decades to modern day where we all connect and share ideas, humor, and even ignorance across a network that spans our entire globe.

The ignorance part is a curious one: our technological growth has outpaced our ability to adjust socially.

With this power to instantly connect across the globe, we quickly see the symptoms of our cultural immaturity seep out of the cracks.

These cracks, however, are not failures in the system: you can’t say something’s broken if it hasn’t finished growing yet.

That is why I feel that the use of the word “immature” is appropriate here – we’re not a broken culture, just one that hasn’t quite grown into our new clothes.

Our worldwide network is a perfect place to share ideas. But some of these ideas come from individuals and groups that wish band together and deal out harm, or those that believe our globe is actually a disc.

These communities are formed by people that share overlapping motives based on emotional responses, and committing to an emotional cause is a pressure cooker.

One cruel trick of our psychology is our infinite capacity to bullshit ourselves and completely buy the tripe that we are selling.

It’s impressive, really, the steadfast way we will stand by something that is obviously not serving to improve our lives.

Emotional choices are really quite easy to spot – only so long as you have an objective view of them. Since it’s nearly impossible for us to see the forest for our own trees this leads us to believe we are being rational when, in fact, we are just supporting our own destruction.

These groups come together because they justify each others’ perspectives which, for those that are over-committed to their cause, gives exactly the mob-mentality fueled support they need to blast through the barriers of logical thought.

An example that we’re seeing of this kind of emotional rioting are the groups that strive for equality – the attitude is that equality should be the most important aspect of social connection.

Where we can easily find evidence of the immaturity of many of these practitioners is in the countless articles and videos of equality “activists” scowling and shouting as they attempt to censor their “oppressors” and eliminate the sources of tyranny.

The irony in this kind of behaviour that claims to be fighting for equality and against tyranny is so obvious that it reminds me of a comedy sketch.

If you’re truly fighting for equality then you must treat each person as your equal, and in that regard censorship is the opposite of equality.

For you to assume the authority required to censor another person is to unavoidably rank yourself on higher ground than said person. This is not equality, it’s a game of “better-than/worse-than.”

For you to shout, invade personal space, and speak slander – these are the acts of a tyrant. You have become the monster that you claim to vanquish.

I understand that it can be difficult to stand by and watch the many injustices and horrors that take place in the world, and I understand that it provokes a strong desire to help make things right.

These are the difficult parts of being alive and I can promise you that, in some way, they have always been a part of life and they always will be.

To be swollen with pain, however, and then find more people with whom to share the agony is not justification for being an obnoxious human being.

It is not for us to judge, and especially not for us to exact justice. The most powerful action we can take when we witness this sort of injustice is to look inside and search for a way to peace from within our own hearts.

We can strike down a million monsters in this world and ten million more will take their place.

The worst part of that – most of them probably weren’t monsters in the first place.

But to grow peace – if you can find the power within yourself to grow your own peace, from your heart right out to your fingertips – it will radiate from you and change the world.

You will teach others the way of peace by your very nature – imagine if you could save the world simply by saving yourself.

All that rage will bring is more rage until it is all that you can see.

The Bright Side of all of this messiness is that it is signs that we are growing. We wouldn’t have such a goddamned mess if we were staying the same, now would we?

Growth always comes awkwardly so don’t try to stop it. Instead, look for the best parts of whatever new this way comes and help to nurture those morsels of positive potential.

The unjust and horrible garbage will burn itself out in time, and if you feed it more negative emotion it will only redouble its efforts. Anger feeds ignorance.

Keep your heads up, my friends. The best is already here – and it’s only getting better.

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  1. Are you suggesting that withdrawing inwards and away from emotional or difficult ideas is the best way to eliminate those that are harmful and dangerous?

    Surely an attempt to understand an idea (possibly by engaging with those who espouse it), followed by a rational judgement, is a necessary first step towards eliminating “unjust and horrible garbage”?

    If we don’t judge ideas and accept or reject them somebody else will do it for us.

    1. I agree completely that an idea must be approached, possibly engaged, and coupled with rationality as a necessary step towards understanding. And yes, no matter what we do with these ideas many others will be continually judging, accepting, and rejecting them. I am definitely not suggesting withdrawal away from difficult and emotionally charged concepts – one of my fundamental values is to face and engage with the most difficult parts of our lives. My recommendation is to understand the emotional reaction before directing it out at anyone else. There are many clichés that come to mind – those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, (and we’re all in glass houses,) let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Before you try to fix the world, be absolutely sure that the emotions aren’t a reaction to some buried need for self-care or self-growth. Oftentimes, once the inner turmoil that was stirred by some event is resolved, the need to correct someone else’s behaviour dissolves on its own. Who we are always speaks louder than what we say.

      Thank you for sharing your question, I always appreciate the opportunity to discuss these ideas.

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