[18+]Welcome to the 21st Century

© Hengki Koentjoro

I wrote this for someone spontaneously after she had a shit day. I’ve shown a few people and have been asked to put it up. Here it goes…

We live in a crazy world, in crazy times. We live in a world of profits over people, of blatant materialism, of keeping up and comparing ourselves with others. You are your job, you are your things, and yet at the same time nothing is good enough. You can always be doing more, learning more, producing more – and no matter what, it’s not good enough. You didn’t make it as a musician? Not good enough, should have worked harder. You didn’t get that scholarship? Didn’t land that job? Didn’t make that team? Not good enough, not good enough, and not good enough.

Does it matter that you did work hard? That you poured your heart and soul into these things? Nope – fail to succeed and you are thought of as a bum. We are blinded by this sentiment. We become anxious, depressed and self loathing. The notion of fitting into this framework can leave us feeling like nobodies. Add social networking to the equation and it only intensifies. We constantly compare ourselves to others, be it to feel better or worse about ourselves. Everyone has their own personality cult; narcissism is the new norm. From, “Give me, feed me attention! Look at this new picture of me on vacation, look at me working out, look how hot my girlfriend is, look at my awesome job, look at the school I attend… I must be so awesome,” to, “I’m so sad, I’VE HAD ENOUGH, just got dumped, lost my job, couldn’t get into that school, life sucks.”

And the result? The result is comparing and talking about each other, feeling awesome when someone fails, because “Hey, at least I’m not that guy” or feeling like shit because “I wish I could be like him with his big house, fast car and hot wife.” And we are seen all the time: there is an electric eye looking at us, and judging us, judging what we put up, judging our online persona. We are not of a culture that embodies love, honesty and community. We are of a self-deprecating culture, we tear at each other, competing, fighting and loathing. We have put a value on human worth – it’s your job, it’s your materials, it’s money. It’s no secret that people are looked up to for these things, but why? Why can’t we look up to each other for our talents or positive personality traits? Why must we dwell on the negatives of our fellow man before the positives? In fact, if you give yourself a pat on the back, think of yourself highly and really focus on your strengths, you are now seen as pompous, arrogant or full of yourself.

It’s a world where it is increasingly harder to find a “good job,” where the humanities and arts are shat on and even the technical jobs are becoming overcrowded. Entry level positions are now unpaid internships, you need to go through years of university to maybe find a job and even then you will be an expendable unit that can be replaced anytime. We are controlled by materialism, fed by the media and distracted by booze and drugs. Forget that the government is spying on you, forget the war that almost started, forget your significant other cheating on you, forget that your boss is a prick. Forget that your life didn’t turn out how you wanted it to be and cure it all with a new phone and some Prozac. Or, go out on the weekend and get fucked up with a group of people that really don’t give a shit about you and hope you can get your dick wet at the end of the night. You failed, and you know it, you don’t have the money and the abundance of shit…. you are just a regular guy.

In a world like this, is it smart to assess human value in such terms? Maybe it is the contrary, maybe we should stop comparing ourselves with others so much, maybe we shouldn’t focus on the negatives and be happy with who we are, and what we have. You are not your job, you are not the school that you attend, you are not that big house or that hot girlfriend. Being a person with self worth who can compliment yourself is not cocky or arrogant either – it’s survival. Give yourself some credit: if you are smart, acknowledge it, if you are good looking, damn straight, if you have a talent, embrace it. Acknowledging these things, as having a healthy ego is not a bad thing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Maybe if we live this way, there would be less of a need for medication, less depression, less substance abuse, less domestic abuse and less suicide. It’s just a ride everyone.