Friday, January 30, 2015

#Selfishness

Someone raved about the HBO show Girls to me a year or so ago so I ended up watching a bit of it. It's well written, acted and produced and I enjoyed the first season but by the second season I was starting to hate everyone on the show. The last episode I watched was S2E3 (Bad Friend) when Hannah tells Marnie what a bad friend she is. All the women in the show are constantly in competition with each other because they are extremely insecure and self-centered. Both Marnie and Hannah are shitty friends but when Hannah got Marnie to say "I'm sorry, I'm a shitty friend" and Hannah's response was "we can still be friends just as long as you know you are the shitty friend" I said "fuck this show". The cast seems to take steps towards growth but then always come back to their core value - everything they do is about them.

Jumping gears slightly, I have been watching the first season of Vikings and it's intriguing to see the characters motivations that are informed by a culture that is completely permeated by their religion. In the episode I watched today they went to a temple for the celebration they have every 9 years where they sacrifice 9 of every animal and 9 volunteering humans as well. At the point when they started doing the sacrifices, I had to shut it off as panic began to fill me. I didn't grow up with literal sacrifices however, the religious parents I knew, in essence sacrificed their offspring's childhoods for the sake of their god believing it was what was right. I find it infuriating and extremely sad to see people's lives being sacrificed, whether literally or figuratively, for a belief system in an invisible god.

Both of these shows and my commentary on them may seem like they don't go together at all but the common thread is that humankind generally will believe what indulges their self-serving needs. Everyone has insecurities they deal with but the mark of a good person is someone who works on their insecurities by acknowledging them but then doesn't try to satiate the void, choosing to focus on other people instead. Studies have shown that people who are more outward focused are happier. Self-involved individuals constantly focus on their insecurities (although they usually deny they have any) which only exacerbates the issue creating a self perpetuating cycle of unhappiness. The more you focus on something, the more you see it. People blame social media for many problems in our world and in many respects they are correct. The internet is a fantastic way to fuel insecurities and narcissism because you can  create a very sculpted image of yourself. There's also the fact that everyone has their own personalized feed that the world can see while you hope to receive their approbation. We have more interactions with a larger group of people than ever before but less connections because most people are completely myopic focusing only on themselves.

It doesn't matter whether it's religion or atheism - I would say our biggest problem in the world is selfishness. People find ways to justify the destructive means in which they salve their wounds ignoring the fact that their belief system is causing the world around them to crumble. Selfish people can't see the forest for the trees because they are too busy staring at their stupid selfies. Rome burns while they play Amazing Grace on the violin praising God for the trial, but in all reality the fire started because of laziness when someone built the blacksmith shop right next to where the hay was stored. I'm not convinced that their is or is not a god. What I am sure of is that we would find out the truth a whole lot more easily if we took our heads out of our own asses and quit looking to feel special and important. You don't need god or drugs or approval when you quit denying your problems but then shift the focus outward. When you start walking down the road of life instead of standing still being introspective, the bumps have a way of knocking the insecurities out of you because you face your fears for the good of everyone around you.

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