Merry Christmas! 2021 was the year of the "I": Is the "We" coming now?
Have we all gone mad? Sometimes it seems as if the world is coming apart at the seams. Hatred, resentment and violence are on the rise all over the world. Part of this is likely due to things like social media or chat groups, where many people are becoming more radicalized among like-minded people. Are we humans overwhelmed with the future and its technologies?
Today is Christmas. The feast of love, the one of family, of friends, but also of togetherness. In the past years, my articles on Christmas were mainly characterized by optimism and virtual hand-wringing. And I don't want to make an exception this year, but...
The problems of the future cannot be solved alone, but only together.
Before, dear readers, many of you start rolling your eyes when reading these lines and another "someone wants to explain something to me" article comes to mind, please let me explain briefly - in spite of everything:
NextPit is a website that is mainly about topics and especial products around the digital lifestyle, and we try to bring them closer to you. From my point of view, it's the digital and the resulting overload of our society that has brought us all to the edge of what I would like to write about in this article:
It is not uncommon for me to read in recent months that politics has driven the division of society. Interestingly, however, you can now hear the same narrative all around the globe. Many countries with free press report similar things: fears on the one hand, which keep building up through the so-called filter bubbles like a tsunami hitting flat land.
Technological progress is good. But we still have to learn to live with it.
In my 46 years on this planet, I have never seen how divided we humans have become. Yet there are pressing issues of our time - most notably the Corona pandemic and climate change - that should not be allowed to drag on.
What concerns me is that many people have stopped listening to experts. Instead, skepticism reigns supreme and people go in search of the truth themselves on the Internet, in social media, and in any number of forums in which seemingly like-minded people gather and in which legends and fairy tales are then converted into truth.
We humans have many new, really wonderful possibilities with the Internet and social media. But we as a society have clearly not yet learned to live with them and to use them properly.
We are not just split in two. But rather into many millions.
What really troubles me, though, is a realization that has matured in me over the last few years, and has come full force in 2021. There doesn't seem to be a true "us." Instead, the "I" reigns more and more. In my view, egocentricity, and the momentary attachment that goes with it, has led to a lack of forward-thinking in particular this year. Especially in the case of the most urgent problems of our time - the fight against the corona pandemic and also against climate change - politics, but above all society, has failed.
For us humans, the current moment and the next two weeks are more important than the next two years, two decades, or even centuries. It is the deliberate abandonment of necessary abandonment that really often grieves me - even when I think of myself. I enjoy traveling the world far too much, eating meat, and I don't really want to know about lockdowns.
We, societies around the world, have typically broken down into many billions of "ME's" in recent years. The need for restrictions to save us humans, and indeed others, from current and especially future problems has become a matter of negotiation:
Why should I change or limit myself, when others do not want to limit themselves? A vicious circle!
Yippie Ki Yay, m*****!
So today is Christmas. I'm sure there's a Die Hard movie on a TV somewhere. Bruce Willis will, as usual, save the world at the end, light a cigarette and deliver his line.
My wish for all of us this holiday season is that we as a society come closer together again, close rifts, start thinking and acting ahead. That we learn to understand the ME as a part of the WE and see our small sacrifice of some freedom (in wearing face masks or enduring contact restrictions) or changing habits (for example, leaving the car to go to the bakery) not as individual punishment but as a collective effort.
Let's all be a bit Bruce Willis and let's end many days in the coming years with a "Yippie-ki-yay m****" – because we did make a change that day. And remember, the sum of every small change and effort makes a big difference in the end.
Merry Christmas, dear NextPit community. Have a great holiday, stay healthy and always remember what Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said:
We must cultivate our qualities, not our idiosyncrasies.