What does it take for radical changes to be made in our society? How much environmental damage? How many traumatised sexual assault victims? How many children fighting for survival in broken homes? How many young people burdened with crippling stress as a result of overwork and underpay? How much sickness?

It’s pretty mind-boggling to me because I consider myself to be a (relatively) normal person of a (somewhat) normal background, but I’ve experienced all of the above. All of them. And I struggle with my mental health a lot of the time. So how are those worse off than me coping? Thinking about this truly saddens and baffles me, to be honest.

This isn’t a cry for sympathy. I write about this kind of stuff to bring it to light, to encourage those suffering in silence to speak up and get help and also to turn up the volume on our desperation – as the young voices of society – for change.

I’m sick of spending 70% of my time wondering how to live well while avoiding plastic, avoiding consuming animal products and still maintaining a nutritious, balanced diet so that I can be healthy and happy. Society is not built to support this and so it’s incredibly difficult. The framework is not there. The framework exists in the form of corporations and advertising backing fast food and destructive consumption habits. The result is sick person after sick person, overweight and yet malnourished (in the developed world, that is), polluting the beautiful world around us.

I’m sick of having to fight off the seething anger I feel when some asshole catcalls at me when I pass by in the street. Do you know that I now rarely wear anything that reveals a body that I’m actually really proud of because it’s just too exhausting to deal with the attention? I’ve tried every tactic in the book when it comes to rude men invading my personal space and disrespecting me. I’ve ignored them, I’ve raised the middle finger, I’ve told them to fuck off and no matter the response I choose to embrace, I still leave the scene angry and deflated. To any men that have ever catcalled a woman or worse, please know that we think of you as akin to the dirt on our shoe. We do not find this attractive. It does not make us attracted to you. It does not make us feel good. We see you as dumb, chauvinistic predators who feel that the worth of a woman is limited to her appearance rather than her brain. We don’t feel you would produce good offspring. We don’t want to have your babies.

I’m sick of seeing bad parenting happening over and over again. We’ve got lazy parents who can’t be bothered to interact with their children, so instead shove a smartphone or tablet in front of them hoping it’ll keep them occupied. You grew this little human! Do yourself and society a favour and raise it well! We’ve got parents neglecting their children and withholding love because they don’t understand their needs. And it’s probably because they never took the time to heal themselves of their own traumatic childhoods before entering the world of parenting. They then find said children acting out and don’t understand why. They try to discipline them which only causes further upset and frustration until eventually the gap in understanding between parent and child becomes so large that bridging it is rendered impossible. That child enters adulthood struggling to do life, not really understanding why and feels a bitter resentment to their parent(s) which society still labels as unacceptable (“It’s family! You can’t turn your back on family!” *shakes head*). The vicious cycle then continues if they go on to reproduce.

I’m sick of overtime becoming the norm for so many people of working age. Overworked people are good for very little. All that results is both physical and mental sickness. Weak staff are unhappy staff and unhappy staff aren’t very productive. Every job – no matter how ‘technical’ – has an element of creativity to it. If workers are essentially shoved into survival mode because they are too stressed to function properly, the last priority is creativity. Simply doing basic life becomes a struggle and so you’re essentially paying staff to do what a robot could do far better. You’re not getting out of them what humans are so good for in the first place: creative self-expression.

Finally, I’m sick of the weight-watching-obsessed, calorie-counting, disease-ridden people taking up resources and placing a strain on our healthcare system because they simply weren’t taught about food while growing up. I don’t blame any person struggling with his/her weight and addicted to processed food. It is likely that he/she grew up with parents who put fast food on the table every night or who’s idea of vegatables was boiling everything until it turned the same shade of snot-green, subsequently putting him/her off for life. If you grow up thinking that broccoli is meant to be a pile of green mush, of course you’d rather opt for fries. We need to start teaching kids about food in a way that encourages a healthy relationship to flourish. We need to teach them how food grown, how it’s meant to be consumed, what nutrients we need to be healthy and the environmental impacts of the food we choose to eat.

So my question to you is, what does it take? WIth all these different flaws we have, what will it take to see real change?

Photo via Unsplash

 

Automated reliability is a theme we can only hope is commonplace in our future, preferably starting tomorrow. Some shudder at the thought of robotics integrating with us in our everyday activities. Yes, of course I can empathise with those fearing ‘the machines’ outsmarting us and racing ahead exponentially to plot our demise, but what about the relief aspect to all of this? What about the beneficial possibilities of introducing automated systems en masse?

Think of the plethora of mind-numbing jobs currently being performed by humans. The majority of these humans need far more mental stimulation and creative output than repeating the mundane. For all of these jobs that we loathe, clock-watching and counting down the days until each new pay check; wouldn’t we do better to replace the workforce with robots?

Robots don’t get sick – bar a few ‘bugs’ that someone with IT know-how could sort – and they don’t get bored and they don’t quit last minute leaving you short-staffed. They aren’t tired from partying all night and they don’t fight with each other or have hormonal outbursts. They won’t steal from you or blackmail you and they don’t need holiday pay or time to rest. In other words, they are efficient in a way that we simply can’t be, nor should we have to.

Along the same lines as something I touched on in this post about how we need to stop conforming to the same rigid, masculine rules, we’ve also got to stop working ourselves into the ground. There is a tremendous difference between staying up until 3am perfecting your prized skills and talents, creating whatever it is that you hold dear and slaving away in a job that you despise, only to make ends meet each month.

And that’s really what it’s all about: the financial gain from working said mind-numbing job. I can understand the fear of the cashier at the looming automation of every till point and the need to be repositioned elsewhere in store, because not having a stable outlook is frightening and especially when you’ve got other mouths to feed than your own. But we’ve got to shift our perspective about this whole thing. We need to stop holding on to a ‘world’ that we have outgrown and no longer serves our highest needs.
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It really all comes down to financial distribution and perhaps the lack of. Imagine a world where we all just did what we had to do, without living in a state of fear and scarcity. We built what needed to be built to better the community, we taught each other new skills, we pioneered without the walls of funding standing in the way and we let automated units perform the tasks that at present are wasting our time.

It is a really exciting time to be alive and floating around this planet, because despite all the hardships being faced by so many, we are on the brink of a new way of doing things. Following environmental and social collapse is rebirth, as the phoenix rises from the ashes and operates at a level that it simply didn’t have the ability to process and understand before it fell to the ground. It is a process that we see over and over again in nature: death and rebirth. It happens to us as we evolve and our planet as it hurts and heals.

Like Jacque Fresco so boldly suggested many years ago, we can live in a way that allows us to be fulfilled and happy and stimulated and free, if only we take away the monetary system that we are unfortunately still chained to. Trust me, I too play over and over again in my mind that dark water of an in-between our current state and the idyllic one and I don’t have the formula to a smooth transition – yet. But, just like swarm mentality, the more that start even registering a different way of doing things on their radar, the closer we are to taking a different approach. Two heads are better than one.

The first step in all this is education and as I say introducing the idea to those whom had never considered an alternative before. I strongly recommend watching the marvellous Paradise or Oblivion for a colourful suggestion about the way things can be. And if you’re thinking of criticising, pray tell me how you think we can do it better, because we’d all love to know.

So what happens when almost all of the jobs that humans are currently doing become automated? We are free to spend our time in ways that fulfils us. Just imagine that for a second. It all comes down to seeing things in a way that is outside our current box; an alternate universe if you will.
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