My confusion over the world I find myself living in is, at times, overwhelming. I know the world I was born into was not perfect but it wasn’t too bad. I know that all the negative stuff we see now is not a modern phenomenon, more likely our access to it has been increased. The rise of 24 hour news across the world, the internet and (Of course!) social media means we would have trouble avoiding it. This post is more of a look into the psychology of us, the observers, in reaction to the material available to us. It may be a little vague but I barely understand it myself. Even my own reactions do not tie in with the person I consider myself to be sometimes.
So, who am I? White, 54, liberal but I understand the need for rules and laws, charitable but annoyed that those living on benefits and charity often have better lives than me, Non bigoted (Your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation etc. are not problems to me.) but annoyed that many of these groups seek to portray themselves as victims when bigotry is barely tolerated, believe in education but annoyed that many kids do not take it seriously and become ignorant adults, annoyed that many people have multiple children without any cares as to how they will look after them, even more annoyed that these people rarely instil a sense of discipline and self control. The list goes on but you will get the point. I am a complex human being, capable of love, hate, ever hopeful yet deeply cynical, love kids but know that without discipline they are unlikely to have self control or conscience. In short I am a mess of contradicting emotions and feelings.
This seems to be normal for most of us. We are happy to criticise other’s child raising skills, yet if anyone criticises us for the way our children are raised all hell will break out. I watch many TV documentary cop shows featuring the arrest of criminals. They know, Indeed they are proud of, the fact that they are breaking the law. They know there are consequences if caught and yet their reaction to arrest is outrage and violence. In the UK particularly we are bought up to be tolerant of race and religion yet our national identity is being eroded. I don’t want to throw out all those who don’t see things my way, yet many religious and racial groups are intolerant of us and our way of life.
Even our entertainment choices are often at odds. Take one of my friends. She loves programs about animals and loves anything to do with children. She watches news but admits she threw away her education and her reactions to news items are often naïve. She hates to see her friends having emotional or financial issues. yet this same woman will watch the likes of Jerry Springer or Jeremy Kyle and happily make value judgements of total strangers. I admit that these programs are designed to elicit this kind of reaction but, as a nation, we love them. Similarly with soap operas. One week you will be watching the birth of a new love, the next you will be watching in horror as one of the lovers knifes the other. It is almost as if we want our emotions spoon fed. Personally I avoid these programs, there is enough misery in the world without seeing more on TV. Reality TV shows are also divisive and negative, yet have sky high ratings.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who use very naïve arguments, comments and images on social media and TV to illustrate how full of love they are. I know of at least one person who is often in a cell for anti social behaviour and drunkenness. but who is always posting to social media images of hearts and uplifting quotes which are completely at odds with her personality. Many people present this positive online persona which is a total contrast to their actions.
The cop shows mentioned earlier are full of the idea that the police are our friends, and in general I think the lower ranks usually are trying to help society. I am, however, not stupid enough to believe that there is no corruption, sexism, racism or bullying within the force. I also know that many take these negative beliefs onto the streets.
Another example, Jimmy Saville was an ex DJ and later hosted a TV show which granted requests for children, usually disabled or deserving kids. He was known for his charity work and had a key to a famous hospital for mental conditions where he worked as a porter. He had a room there. Celebrities and hoi polloi alike worshipped the ground he walked on. After his (Natural) death, reports began that he was a child molester, and it eventually became clear that he was a serial abuser of boys and girls. he had even used his room at the hospital to abuse patients. This serves as an example of a convoluted character but our reaction was telling. I followed each revelation with great interest despite the fact I find paedophilia disgusting. I hated that it happened but part of me was fascinated at this deception and how he had got away with it for so long.
A long string of celebrities were tried because of this and the reports of other victims it engendered. Many famous names were convicted and we followed every revelation. Now I am somewhat ashamed that I found it so interesting considering the misery involved. There are one or two ongoing cases but in general I no longer feel this witch hunt will do anything for the victims. Many of the prosecutions were of very old men and they are in prison now, many are already dead. Some allegations are even being revealed as false accusations by attention seekers.
The last part was a little rambling but I guess I am saying that I consider myself honest and a believer in justice yet I went with the rest of the sheep following this ultimately negative series of events.
There are TV shows which feature only the good in our nature, and portray mankind as good and beautiful despite the evidence against this. They polarize man as good or evil, honest or corrupt. I know I am more than this, I am subject to all the positive and negative aspects of my personality. All I can do is judge things as I see them and deal with the consequences. I am however my own strongest critic, constantly questioning whether I have seen all sides of any argument. It does not make for a quiet life when you are cross checking every emotion.
I know this is confusing, rambling and possibly even self-contradictory but I intend to post it anyway. This how I feel all the time. Bought up to believe everyone is good and honest but experienced and cynical enough not to take anything at face value. Maybe I should look for a good psychiatrist.