A re-examination of life dictated by a precomposed scheme.
How do I even begin? How would I even begin this article? This topic is rather sensitive as it encompasses the body of the majority and puts a spotlight on how and why we are living our lives as we know them today.
First off, let’s start with education – the precursor of the real world. Everything starts and ends with education. The world is continuously upgrading its scientific knowledge with new discoveries being made on a daily basis. This has resulted in vast technological leaps that have given us the beauty that is artificial intelligence and also the recent nefarious re-militarisation of nuclear weapons. World scientists have made major breakthroughs in the search for a definitive cure for AIDS and global warming still continues to ravage major cities with spikes in average global temperature. Ok, so I’m pretty sure all this has been taught in geography and science classes in schools. The next question is, “How can we teach students to analyse these world problems from all possible angles and come up with alternative solutions (to pre-existing ones) that will deem more effective in both the short- and long-term?”. My highest education is a college diploma. And in my twelve years of education, not once was I taught critical thinking. I mean critical thinking that was linked to the world outside of the classroom. Sure, you could come up with random scenarios and ask students for possible solutions but that would be superfluous and teaching critical thinking for the pure sake of it. What I’m implying is that education must now train students – from a very early age – to think in terms of the world they live in. Obviously, students don’t exist as words crammed up in textbooks. So, we must educate students on how to better solve problems that the world is facing right now. We currently have a huge community of scientists and researchers fronting world projects that involve crises of all sorts. And yet, little change has been effected upon the peoples of this huge Earthly world. Technology hasn’t prevented the millions, if not billions, of those living in third-world nations from dying from starvation; the riches of our naturally-occurring resources seem to have been diverged into a one-way street of unparalleled ignorance which renders little to no return to the original proprietary of the masses. It’s about time we looked up at the stars and the moon, and wondered to ourselves why such extravagance lay amidst the darkness for all to behold but not that which we so readily required for our everyday survival. Universities have given societies a stepping-up platform of gender-neutral opportunities for the pursuit of greater personal expression in the form of academic rigour and research achievements. But all of this is just the romanticism of detachment from what really lies before our humanly eyes: that of strife and wars; hunger and poverty. And unless tertiary institutions admit to an urgent need for practical world researchers and climate scientists, the world will only continue on its wayward plunge into the abyss of potential Homo Sapiens annihilation.
Secondly, work is the next stage of life that comes right after education. You’ve accumulated all that knowledge and built up quite a repertoire of industry-related skills. But what’s lacking is the experience one needs in order to be successful and, therefore, make it big in one’s supposed field of expertise. So we work. We work our ways up the echelons and find ourselves settling into bigger and bigger salaries (and commensurately bigger roles and responsibilities). We work in order to survive and provide not only for ourselves but for our loved ones. Eventually, we reach the point where financial stability tips into fulfillment of one’s own desires and we start investing heavily in our material pursuits and hobbies. We say we like travelling or dining at exquisite restaurants – and just like that, money is spent unwittingly at the disposal of impulsivity. We soon forget that there are multitudes of those struggling to provide even a meal for their children, let alone settle their own financial expenses. Slums are raging in silent contempt for the unfair withdrawal of their birthrights. It’s not fair that those who are more privileged aren’t sharing. Sharing actualises the dreams of the middle class and provides the basic necessities of the working class. We can’t afford to work for the sake of our own selfish pleasures at the expense of those who don’t have the means to do so. We can’t live under the veil of ignorance forever, for we know that those of the working class have their voices projected in the form of activists and non-governmental organisations that fight for an end to world hunger and poverty, as well as other human rights such as compulsory education (in many parts of the Middle East and Asia) and gender equality (especially in old-world patriarchal societies). Work should be and needs to be tirelessly service-based in order to cater to the growing demands of the needy and homeless who long desperately for the love and compassion of the better half of humanity. It’s not a matter of working for one’s own survival, but the collective striving that will ensure the survival of one another, put forth in spirit of social, economic and political reforms. It’s not a matter of routine work but creative and compassionate work that will see great inventions, not for self-indulgence, but for the overall consumption and, therefore, benefit of mankind. We’re looking at near eradication of poverty which will come in the form of extremely low levels of inequality and extremely high levels of equity across all boards as previously financially- and social status-bound opportunities are being freed to the masses to allow them to pursue whatever they may have an intrinsic inclination towards. By then, work and hobby may even become interchangeable as economies now see an intrinsic humanly value in each and every individual, as opposed to the current perception of the human resource as a calculated risk in entrepreneurial endeavours.
Thirdly, governments all across the world are partaking in the abusive role-playing of childish classroom bullying. The recent spate of nuclear threats looms so uninvitingly throughout the hearts of the ordinary people who fear a repeat of history: World War III. Well, if we were to have a World War III, it definitely wouldn’t be fought using solely primitive machine guns and tanks. It would be fought on the technological grounds of devastating nuclear bombs that could flatten entire states and bring world order to a complete standstill. We’re still waiting to see how the Iran-US issue will pan out. Governments have also waged trade wars with one another. Look at the Sino-US and South Korea-Japan trade wars. Tariffs are being slapped on mercilessly as free trade slowly becomes a thing of the past. An irresponsible government is now having a tumultuous time controlling the escaped bulls who are wrecking havoc throughout the capital of Hong Kong in a never-ending sequence of staged protests that see no immediate resolution in the near future. Governments have, for too long, imprisoned the minds of the people to ensure blind loyalty and subservience, and a myopic opaqueness to the vices that are rife among the elites. But nowadays it’s so hard to hide the ongoings within the government sector from the masses. As an increasing number of citizens become better-educated, through both institutions and social media, they are also becoming increasingly frustrated with the government’s lack of accountability and adherence to the shouting of the commoners. No longer can state media block us out of the wider amalgamation of truth as more and more people turn to online news aggregates for their daily dose of news updates. It’s time we questioned our governments’ motives and put ourselves first in place of them, for it is not us serving them, but them serving us, as so rightfully upheld by the precepts of Democracy. We must start re-examining the viability of taxes when most of them aren’t even being redistributed to the wider population of lower income groups; we must ask why our public infrastructure is breaking down so rapidly whilst those of the private sector continue to thrive under watchful eyes. As the advent of globalisation blazes on in the form of social media, the interconnectedness created thereby has allowed citizens of countries to carefully compare and contrast differences in lifestyles and standards of living, all the while signalling a strong compulsion of camaraderie. In the 21st Century, it’s all about global citizenry: no longer are we bound to the physical confines of our individual nations or nation-states. We’re all living under the global nationhood of Earth and that’s where our emphasis must be placed on. For, when governmental reforms are being effected, so will all else follow in an obsequious manner. We can only live under the hope of a better tomorrow – if that is what’s currently stringing us all together on the thin thread of love.