sundry musings: individual worth and unreasonable expectations
Upon waking early, after battling with the monsters of my subconscious, these thoughts thrust themselves in to my mind. We share them with you now.
Not every person can be a genius. Not every one can be so very handsome or “pretty”. Not every person is going to be financially wealthy in modern society (independent of which economic model your country operates on).
Yet, modern (post-Modern?) Western society and its mass media (in movies, music, books, mass marketed popular consumer items, etc.) hold up to us standards that we are to measure ourselves against. This is not always obvious to us. These standards, really ideals, tell us that our personal value is dependent upon, and defined by, how much money we earn or currently possess, whether we are “good-looking” (truly a subjective measure but made into an objective one by current popular tastes), how healthy and fit we may be, etc. Some may disagree with me. Consider current product advertising, say on bill boards or posters, or in magazines. There seems to be a disproportionate use of the photos or images of young women and men who are in good physical shape (not over weight) and appear to be quite attractive (at least visually). The principal measure of life success in the USA for so many people is money and how much of it you have acquired during your working life. (Along with money, the evidence that you have it is esteemed. Do you live in a large home? Do you drive an expensive car?) For some, sorry to say, money has become a false god. People lose sight of the fact that money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Or, in other words, you work in order to live, and you do not live for your work.
If society’s values, or the values of a majority of individuals within a society are shallow, that ought not surprise us. In any given generation, most humans will be at a bodily level of consciousness and will be dazzled by material nature and sense gratification. At least, that is what the wisdom of the Vedic philosophy of India tells us.
We are all vulnerable to a varying degree to what others are saying and doing around us. It is easy to follow the crowd. It is not so easy to choose different values and thus pursue different priorities in one’s life. However, there is a danger here. Very few of us can achieve these ideals that are thrust at us by the mass media, by popular culture, and even by our family and friends. Seriously, not every child can grow up to be a doctor or a very highly paid “professional” athlete. How many of us are born with good looks like a movie star possesses? Not many young men are going to have the physique of a Mr. Olympia (even if they spend years pumping the iron in the weight room). Women, after say 30 or 35, are not going to be as shapely and trim as the 20 year old “hotties’ in their swimsuits. (Do these girls ever get into the water, at the pool, the lake or at the beach? Perhaps, for some the term “show suits” would be more apropos than swimsuits.)
The danger, as you may have already realized, is that for the majority of us who fail to measure up to these expectations (ideals), we can feel that we have little self-worth, and/or that we are failures. If we look to the approval of others for our self-esteem and do not obtain that approval, we may be devastated. (Parents with teen age children take note. You do need to get involved with nurturing your children during their teen years when they are so vulnerable. Do not leave this task to the schools with all the politically correct, cultural Marxism espoused by so many “teachers”. Teens tend to attach too much importance to the approval of their peers. Teen suicide and drug use are major problems. Lacking a healthy and positive self-image, many teens can become very depressed.)
Taken to a grotesque extreme, we see society in its institutions (government and the medical profession) decides which lives have value and are worth the expenditure of health care resources for. No, this is not from the history of totalitarian regimes. The further you are from the ideal, from perfection or from robust physical health, the more vulnerable you are. Older people, who are in poor health, are being denied treatments that may help to improve their health. New born infants (those not “terminated” prior to birth) that have serious health problems or suffer from serious birth defects or deformities are being denied basic care such as food and water. This is happening today in the US (do an Internet search and see for yourself). Rather ironic, is it not, that the US that never tires of lecturing the rest of the world about human rights does not score so highly itself in that area?
You do have talents and abilities. You have worth, even if society and your peers do not think so. Instead of striving to achieve such unrealistic ideals, choose other values and live your life accordingly. You may be happier. Direct your efforts at worthy goals that are achievable. Live a constructive, helpful and loving life with the talents and abilities that you already have. You can make an important contribution to the world. And, please do not base your feeling of self-worth on such shallow, current pop culture ideals, nor on the approval of your fickle peers. If you do, you do yourself a bad turn.
This picture, from our photo essay archive, shows a map of our home state of Nevada. Do not be misled, most of the points on the map are very small towns. As well, there is a typo as Lovelock does have a “c” in it.
We share one more image. These are nice cobalt blue tea cups.
Best wishes to all.