Nobody wants anybody to know their business but they want to know everybody else’s business. If people talk about them they get all defensive and yet they go about talking about the very people who they hate for talking about them! Of course most people do not believe this has any relation to them because they feel that they are justified in everything they do and that the people who they talk about deserve all they get for one reason or another.
This doesn’t make much sense unless you begin to look at the way our social order is structured. There has been a slow decline in what we would call a “sense of community” for some time now. The population has been steadily growing and modern forms of communication are making people more and more isolated from one another. Other factors include shifting developments of housing where people move further away from where they grew up and end up living in an area where many people don’t know one another and because we are often suspicious of strangers (yes that old childhood caution is still there) they choose, in cases, not to get to know them. Can you see how this can cause isolation? People still socialise and see their families of course but what happens is they keep to their own tight circles of friends and family and you end up with a myriad of closed groups who just do what they must to survive and shut the outside world away.
It is important to note that these attitudes and living within a social structure which is so loosely based is very harmful to society as a whole. Within our professional communities as well as with social aspects we have many, many groupings which are detached from one another, organisations where departments exist within and separate from other departments. Communication becomes haphazard and important issues get lost in an ever growing system of phones, e-mails, faxes and social networks. The focus is taken off people and put on trying to stay up to date with these tangled lines of communication. Fear and suspicion also mean that people cannot do their jobs effectively and in cases involving social services individuals who need help are lost in the system as people in caring roles are forced by rules and red tape to say “There’s only so much you can do for them” There’s only so much they’re being allowed to do more like.
It is happening everywhere. Occasionally when I go to parties where there are a lot of people who I don’t know very well I watch how the small groups behave. About five or six months ago at one such party a “coven” of three girls came in and aside from the host and a couple of his friends they didn’t seem to know anyone. I watched them and every “stranger” (male or female) who went near them was given the cold shoulder and in many cases the people were mocked after they left. They were there for nearly two hours and all their conversations consisted of (I stayed within earshot) was gossip, in jokes and mocking people they didn’t know, they just stood in a little circle in a corner when one went to get a drink or go to the toilet the others followed. They were comfortable with each other and wary of outsiders, it was like a microcosm of North Korea. Each of them had a firm identity within that grouping and they were increasing their “group” sense of well being by stopping change from occurring by denying strangers access to their “club”.
This is the case all over the Western world especially. Obviously I can only talk in terms of what I know I have only ever lived in Northern Ireland and in England but I didn’t find England and Northern Ireland to be much different. Aside from superficial cultural differences, larger populations and many more foreign nationals that I had been previously used to (Craigavon in the 1990’s was not very multicultural!) England and Northern Ireland are very similar fundamentally.
This breakdown of community is going largely unnoticed because we see things in very singular terms. People assume that because things are going OK for them that things are good generally. If individuals believe something is righteous they will not enter into any discussion with anyone who is trying to say otherwise. I may have seemed to go of on a tangent here but trust me I’ll tie it altogether. I was having a discussion about aid being sent out to foreign, especially third world, countries. The two girls/women I was talking to just went on about how it was a good thing and it is, it is good that someone is “trying” to help but most people just look at that and that alone. Aid is good, aid is being sent, no problem. They don’t think about what is going on in the countries the aid is going to. Is the food reaching the people who need it? Are medical supplies being stolen by rebel troops on the way to refugees? They just think and assume that everything is as someone tells them it is and they certainly don’t think about the wider implications such as corrupt governments and the fact that our own governments are keeping the third world in a perpetual state of poverty because if they became in any way proficient in an industrial sense they would be a threat to our own economies. People don’t look at this stuff they just sit in little dream world bubbles imagining people getting their bowls of rice, having a good nights sleep and waking up to start a revolution the next morning. Get real people.
All of this is tied to one general idea, it’s a mode of thought we have, if I tell myself everything is alright it’s better than believing the truth people don’t like the truth, it’s scary and unfortunately it’s very real. All this apathy and false hope is killing humanity, it’s that stark people. I hate to be the purveyor of bad news but you all need to stop being so selfish and start realising that your head is feeding you misinformation.
And so we get back to the crux of this whole thing. The self. You. Unless you’re going to out to murder and rape no one cares about your business and if your neighbour is fucking the coalman, so what? Wise up and shut up and take a look around those people who you believe deserve all they get are in exactly the same position as the rest of us, struggling on as they say. Lets help each other out here will we? Trust me you’ll feel better for having done it. :)