Wake Up | Teen Ink

Wake Up

February 29, 2008
By Anonymous

"Modern life, with all its profusion of advantages, has left us with an unfilled dietary requirement, a fort of societal scurvy: a gnawing hunger for unmediated experience.
So many of the things that would, not so very long ago, have required a meaningful face-to-face encounter, today are accomplished by antiseptic commercial transaction. We live so awash in the global and electronic and the mass-produced that the here and now, the unique experience immediately before us, sometimes no longer registers. In the course of being spared the harsher realities afflicting most of the world's tenants, we are treating ourselves to a deracinated, denatured existence. Our culture is manufactured by studios and distributed over networks; our luxuries are produced by invisible hands half a world away. Less and less are we connected to the sources of our well-being in any material way. Less and less are we connected to the sources of our well-being in any material way, except though the agency of a commercial middleman." - Russ Rymer, Adbusters No. 75

So there it is. Humans have become completely unaware of the real meaning of distress. According to Russ Rymer, although we have escaped physical discomfort, we have led ourselves into mental anguish.
Here we are, the Internet Generation, the most advanced bunch of people the world has ever seen. We are so intelligent that we are on our way to create technology that will replace the human mind and make thinking an option, not a necessity. However, how is it possible that at the same time we are the same people who are no longer willing to use our own minds? We make life decisions, such as how many kids to have or what kind of dog food to buy, but we need a greater force to teach us how to say thank you. Wherever there is human life, there is TV, radio, Internet and commercial influence. How In our numb and lacking experience how can we say we understand life? Pain? Suffering? Reality?

What do we really know? Our apathy and meaningless words have stretched the definition of crisis and pain its limit. Think about it: we stress the lack of food in our house; others stress about the lack of clothing, living family members and shelter. We suffer though mid-life crises some don’t even live long enough to see it. We have become a generation of individuals who are just as identical and mass produced as the goods we so excessively consume. Because of our unawareness, this harsh reality has not dawned on us. We are plainly shooting ourselves in the foot on our heroic track to the North American ideal. Our continent alone can be easily blamed for the pollution, wastefulness of resources and the death of so many species of animals and plants. Even though we have plenty of land and materials to make our lives perfectly satisfactory, we can’t stop there. We have to make it global. For our hardwood floors, forests are mercilessly cut down. For our leather handbags, animals are brutally murdered. For our jeans, children are losing fingers. And what do we do about it? Watch it on our 50 inch plasma TVs, and pout about it with our friends. The next day we’ll notice a sale on home accessories and in order to make our lovely home different and unique will buy hundreds of dollars worth of things that are, ironically, identical.

So who says we’re advancing in ways other than through the means of technology? Of course the media itself is controlled by people just like you and I. They tell us which clothes look best and how our homes and lives should look. They have infinite power that could be put to such good use and bring the world to recognize their potential and how much of a difference we can make. Yet how come people are still unaware of wars going on in the world? Why are we still trying to fight the fact that something is wrong with our ecosystem? Why do we even think about the end of the world, yet we can’t put in enough effort in our day-to-day lives to stop it? Has our consumerism really made us that apathetic and unaware of the things that matter? Not only are we unaware, but we don’t care. We live in luxury that is hard to give up, but face the mental burden of being the same as everyone else. We live long and we live well. Yet we blindly live with no individuality, free thought or the true luxury of experiencing life.
However, making a difference and changing the way we live requires extra effort and thought. The commercials stopped telling us to turn the lights off when we’re not in the room, or don’t keep the water running without purpose. We are the generation that has the numbers, the tools, and the brainpower to make this planet the best it has been. Yet the potential is going to waste with the lack of initiative. We should be putting our power to a proper use; like trying to cut down energy consumption rather than making the world’s smallest computers.
But we don’t. Sadly, this is exactly what we have become – mindless and useless – just sitting on the couch and waiting for someone to tell us to turn the damn TV off and do something nice for the world.

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