Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Downfall of man

Maybe it is just Western Civilization... maybe it is just United States... in the end, all I know is that compassion and community are surely dying. Common decency is no longer common. Mr. Virginia Tech shooter, why did you first shoot 50+ other people before killing yourself. Surely it would be much kinder to have just gone someplace quiet and ended your life, instead of taking so many with you. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this horrendous act.

Seems many times my reading always get related to what is going on in the real world. The latest example is Friday by R.A.H. The plot of the story is not important, but at one point in the book, it creates a world of anarchy created by a group of terrorist who seek to remove the world's corrupt which happen to be in power. One of the rotating main characters states they built their bomb shelter not for fear of an atomic bomb, but in fear of the day when social disorder occurs, based on the logic that there was a time when people could go outside and walk at night without fear of mugging or rape and that you could leave your door unlocked without having your life stolen away. Slowly society got worse and worse and that the inevitable conclusion would be mob rule. It seems that this self first attitude of the solution, could be a part of the problem as well. Sigh.

One other thing to mention on a related note is that we don't seem to care about how we interact with those around us as much as how it impacts us. Yesterday on my train ride home someone on the train took a cell phone call. Now the immediate portion of this you can probably already see is that this individual talked very loudly on the train without care for anyone else. He was so involved in his discussion of how he was created a RPG character with shapeshifting, regenerative properties over a crappy cell signal (he repeated regenerative over 15 times) that he failed to realize that the entire ... ENTIRE train car could care less about this conversation (don't get me started on the lady who once sat across from me taking to her lover about what he was wearing at that time). This only got worse because of the passive aggressive nature of our society. I was slightly annoyed but in the end, I blocked it out and continued to read my book. Others were not so tolerant of this anti-social behavior and mocked this individual for "being a nerd and that is just how 'those' people are". As a nerd/geek/etc, I am offended by how intolerant the other people are with they way they are applying this label. The proper way would have been to ask this individual to not shout at the top of his lungs or to save his RPG character discussion to place where it would not be subject to poor cell reception. Instead, we ignore this behavior and instead retaliate with equally bad behavior.


Amanda said...

As far as the cell phone topic, I've never been able to completely understand why people talking on cell phones bothers other people so much. I can see high volume being an issue if that's the case (cause some people really do wail into those cell phones don't they), and the repetitive cutting out gets old fast, and maybe it's weird for some people (momentarily at least) when they realize that the person standing next to them in the store isn't talking to them but rather to the invisible person on the other side of their obscured earpiece, and I can even conceive of the possibility that the electronic ringing of the phone itself might get annoying ... but I just don't get why people merely talking on their phones in public is thought of in such a negative way. If two people are on the train together having a conversation it doesn't seem to bother anyone, but take one of those people and put them miles away, and have the two have the exact same conversation in the exact same manner as they did before, but only now on cell phones, and *poof* people suddenly find it annoying as anything. And I don't get it. Is it that people's curiousity demands that they be able to hear both sides of the conversation? In any case, I try to be courteous about my phone usage as much as I can, but I'm at a loss as to explain why this is such an issue for people in general.

Reverend0 said...

I guess I don't hold people to the same standards as myself. I don't talk on the phone on the train as there is no where for these individuals to go, they are stuck next to me.

For me, two things bother me about it. 1) Excessive volume as a normal conversation between two people happen to be much, much quieter (lip reading?) and 2) Overly personal conversations such as the fact you are riding the train commando or your herpes test came back positive.

Jay said...

I am just a stomped by the killing spree as you are... and just as annoyed about careless behaviour of others...

I was in a train yesterday in Switzerland, and two teenage girls played music loud enough to hear it through noise-cancelling ear phones 30 feet away. It seems that tolerance brings all kinds of facettes to the open that we did not indend by being tolerant. Tolerance seems to have degenerated into "not caring" and "Somebody Elses Problem". We were shopping for groceries on a local market on Saturday, when an old lady in her high 80's fainted and fell into the stall right next to me. I got her stabilized, and when Sara arrived a few minutes later, she helped calm the lady down while we waited for the ambulance. The merchant later told us that he was really surprised we helped, most people would have closed their eyes and walked away... I was speechless.

So, somehow callusness towards suffering of others in whatever form (being bothered by cell phones up to medical emergencies) seems to no longer affect the majority of society. Maybe because we see and hear so much about it, we have gone numb, and since we ourselves suffer so little outwardly and so much internally, we believe that pain is just the way the world works! WOAH.

I do not know what to do other than to be a kind person that cares about others as openly as possible. Maybe that helps. That story is definitely not as "sexy" to the media as a Korean boy killing others, but maybe that is what is needed to help... there is an execellent book out there call "Raising Boys" by Streve Biddulph, I highly recommend reading it, goes a long way to understand the collapse of socialization.