The Rat Race

Rat Race

Do you remember the last time you spent quality time with the people you loved? Do you remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep? Do you remember the last time you had a motivating talk with your child? Do you remember the last time you gave your parents a good night kiss? Such traditions have been forgotten in the 21st century. This world has been overtaken by the forces of materialism and competition, which have succeeded in pushing out of the limelight the most invaluable expression that only humans are capable of feeling: humanity.

Little do we realise that with each passing day, we are becoming less humane, a quality exclusive to mankind. Perhaps we fail to acknowledge the issues being faced by those members of our race who need our help, let alone feeling the necessity to actually aid them. For the youth today, issues like terrorism, human rights violations, ethnic cleansing, refugee camp tortures and mass genocide are meant for the television set and are best molded into topics of debates and discussions over a cup of coffee.

Qualities like compassion, belongingness and fraternity shine brightly in the history textbooks and the stories narrated by our grandparents, but for the current generation that represents humankind today, these values hold importance only in books and the narrations of old. Their lifestyles, however, hardly enshrine such attributes. The newer generation is susceptible trapped by the glitter of the more bloodthirsty and materialistic world. The older generation on the other hand tends to consider materialism to be at opposite ends to spirituality.

Prioritising social life and religiously devoting time to work and digital media is the norm of today’s society. It has often been noticed that competition is limited not just to the corporate world but also seeps into cultural and familial domains. Parents treat their kids as trophies and force them into various activities what they deem better for their child. Often disregarding the child’s wishes and pressurising them to excel in all fields, parents want their children to be jacks of all and masters of all.

This pressure is a consequence of a status driven society where the child becomes a trophy that can be exhibited before the community. This often leads to cases of depression. On the other hand this generation gap is perhaps too overburdening in most parts of the world, for the young children have qualms about the extent to which their parents can understand them. On the other hand, the older generation tends to complain about the preoccupation of the younger generation with their social life, social media and friends.

They often complain of lack of values of respect in the younger generation and their selfish approach to life. They fear the pace with which this generation wishes to reach the apex and the extent of their ambitions, and feel that the ease with which they sacrifice their emotions of love is appalling. Succumbed by grand lifestyles and big brands, they give in to emotions like jealousy and apathy. They believe their social image and bank balances are dearer to them than relationships ultimately paving the way for unhappiness and broken relationships.

Success and failure is determined by measures like ownership of a house, the brand of clothes one wears and the number of foreign trips, unlike before where success was measured my satisfaction and content. This therefore justifies the pertinent rise in cases of anxiety, depression and self destruction. The appeal of inanimate objects is where the newer generation finds solace, whereas the importance of conversations and face to face talks have lost meaning. Instead, they are replaced by small talks and propaganda conversations.

Against the backdrop of this consumerist world, money has become the most valued and necessary commodity whereas relationships as a commodity would rank last on the list. The advancement in tech saviness and the modern outlook possessed by this generation is indeed necessary at the same time. Gender equality, breaking of unexplained superstitions and equality can be credited to the more modern world. These oppressive issues were the termites of society for a long time and the extermination of these might pave the way for a concrete foundation for the society.

But the question is if this advancement is acceptable at the cost of losing empathy. The conflict between the older and the newer generations shall never pause. What one needs to incorporate is the best of both worlds. For instance, superstitions need to be exterminated from the society, but at the same time the emotional capacity of humans should not be sacrificed.

-Contributed by Urvi Lahoti

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