Do you ever feel like your life is a really terrible joke? And you keep waiting for the punch line; but the only thing that is getting punched is you? By life? In the face?
If you agreed with all of the above, I can’t say I sympathise, sorry. I think that my life is great and absolutely perfect.
If you thought that the previous statement was serious, you obviously have no concept of sarcasm. Because, let’s be real here. Even if I was a Disney Princess, my life would not be great and absolutely perfect. Yes I would have a supermodel’s physique and an immense – and pretty infinite – wardrobe, but I would be saddled with an annoying Prince (I really don’t like many of the features romantic interests in the Disney movies except John Smith, Aladdin and General Shang… and even they wind me up sometimes) and would never get to do much else but live out my life within the walls of a palace.
Sorry. Enough about Disney. This is not the time for me to rant about that.
In Study Skills yesterday, we were discussing the very interesting idea that ADHD and other attention disorders have increased as – interestingly – the technological world and other commercial industries develop. Whilst none of us discredited ADHD or any other disorders as ‘fabricated’ or ‘non-existent’ we recognised that these two factors seem to be linked with each other.
Now before I go on, if anybody has any of these disorders, don’t get me wrong: I am NOT saying they don’t exist. I am not saying they are made up. What I am saying is that the growth between the diagnosis of these and the developing commercial world seem to be conveniently proportionate; as one grows, so does the other.
There are so many things at our fingertips. This is the 21st century, and whilst we do not all drive down the road in hover cars like previous generations predicted, there are technological developments which far exceed the average human mind or understanding. Not just that, but TELEVISION! Need I say much more? Television, tablets, mobile phones, smartphones, everything we have at, practically, the touch of a button, and yet people wonder why children’s minds wander and get bored when they are sat in a classroom for up to an hour at a time, looking at an interactive whiteboard. (The name is quite misleading because the only person INTERACTING with that whiteboard is the teacher…)
I’m not going to just talk about people with attention disorders, but I’m just going to generalise and say the whole of ‘this generation’. I can’t really speak much for myself, because as much as I’m surrounded by all this stuff, I’d much prefer a decent novel to a deadbeat soap opera any day, and my phone can hardly be classified as ‘state of the art’. But for most people my age, we are consumed by consumption; our only aim or focus in life is to obtain more and get as much of it as we possibly can. Ask most average teenage guys what their goals are in life, and they will probably all regurgitate some variation of “Disregard females, acquire currency”. We are so focused on possessions and our obsessions are becoming dangerous, even to the point of elitism in some situations. Why should people be made to feel bad if they don’t have a personal laptop, but share a family computer? Why is it ‘social suicide’ to have a Nokia instead of an iPhone 6? (Because, of course, the iPhone 5 is SO last week…) All of this is spoon fed to us by the global producers in society, and the generation of us who rely upon the words spewed from the mouths of these master manipulators simply gobble these ideologies up without a second thought.
And it’s killing us.
Yes, sometimes we might joke about the girl who doesn’t know what a democracy is, or the person who thinks that UKIP is a supermarket. Even the people who think that the reference to ‘Ferguson’ is a reference to an episode of a TV programme. (And yes, I kid you not, these are all real comments made by real people…) But in reality, it’s terrifying. Because if we find politics (and I quote) ‘boring’ and ‘irrelevant’ then God have mercy when we reach the age to legally vote and not know who to vote for in order to help secure our economy and our futures. (And no, we cannot just vote for whoever our parents vote for!) What happens when the only thing which we find interesting is the TV screen, and we seem to be running out of the bright young minds to become educated doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers and MP’s? What do we do when paper pages no longer catch our interest – when instead only intensely bright, glaring screens will allow our slowly dying minds to ingest watered-down words and phrases?
It is a sobering thought and a sickening joke. There is no punch line to this one. We really have to wake up and smell the sweat and toil of all those people before us who have fought, and in some cases died, for so many rights and privileges, so many which we abuse everyday. Technology may be the answer to a lot of things…
But it’s not the answer to everything.
And of course, technology has it’s benefits. It’s revolutionising the medical field and helps out with engineering and mechanics. I completely agree with the use of technology in these instances; because these uses are entirely selfless. These are helping to develop our society, our community and our nations as a whole, so who could really find fault with them in these circumstances?
But it’s down to us. We can complain all we like about ‘poor education’ and ‘stupid system reforms’ but if we don’t take every opportunity, every chance we get to actually make a change, then what is the use? Of course, it’s not entirely our fault. (Thanks, Michael Gove, you’re really the best!) I’m not saying we should take the blame, but we can’t boycott the system. That’s a bit silly really, and – if we’re being honest – I don’t think most of us actually understand the implications some of these changes have entailed. It’s just like they say, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Yes, I know it’s not that easy. I know that education and opportunities are based upon the sizes of mummy and daddy’s bank account (if you even HAVE both parents) and your postcode, and that sometimes your forename and/or surname can be a deciding factor in admission to a Russel Group University, and your home address the signature on your own death warrant.
The problem with us is that we want to get rich quick. We want to do as little as possible to generate the greatest income, and truth is, that’s not how life works. I know that there are those exceptional cases where people are able to make a living from nothing, when people have built up entire empires from empty cardboard boxes on the streets; but not all of us will become those miracle stories. Yes, some of us may, but statistically, not EVERY single lazy teenager is going to get lucky and make a couple million pounds by accident. We have to work for it. But we don’t really want to work for anything anymore. Not when practically everything is done for us.
We are supposed to be the generation of the future. We are supposed to be the ones who make a difference, but how can we when we are all but brain-dead, and being drowned by the media? When our life source is our phones and how you would think you have killed someone when you take their technology away?
Yes, I am guilty of this. I never said I was entirely exempt. But we really need to be realistic. And at the end of the day, who is going to be getting an education, or even going off to University and getting degrees?
Our smartphones? Or us?
I think I’ve said enough.