It’s that time of the year when every blog or magazine that’s any blog or magazine has a “Year in review” section. Being part of one (Hint: you’re reading it), I figured I’d have to borrow the theme in some form or fashion. So I did. And I found one common thread running through the past year. 2016 was a year of polarization, where people had strong and opposing ideas of most things, from elections to art, to food, to what you use to pay for said food, and the like. So, keeping with the trend, I decided to make a list of three things that I feel very strongly about. And rant about them. (Three because, one, sqrt(2+0+1+6) is 3, so it’s a tribute to the year, and on a much less significant level, I couldn’t think of more)
First – Long Facebook posts
Imagine you’re a guy who works a long day. Or who has to get through a long day fighting the constant social pressure to do any work at all. Either way, you’re tired by the end of it all. You just want chill out for a while and detox from all the work you have(n’t) been doing. You decide to visit the one place that can “recharge your batteries”, the heart of a thriving social platform; the best place to meet new and refreshing people discussing new and refreshing things – The park. No? Oh wait, I meant Facebook. Facebook.
So, you login and the first thing you see on your wall is a truckload of text. All in one post. With the words “-feeling angry” on top. One: There are only two reasons any post can be this long – There’s a fierce, bloody (or plastic-y?) war going on between tiny sentient toy soldiers and they’re using your keyboard as a battlefield, or you’re angry. So, by clarifying, you’ve only disappointed me already. And two: You’re part of a great species that skips terms and conditions every single time, although it could mean disaster if someone slipped in “Also, I own your property”, just because it’s too long. Now act like it! To paraphrase a great saying “Write unto the world only so much that you wish Microsoft to write unto you.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for free speech and social responsibility. But, if your audience for a sermon is a group of people that has enough time to read all that, but is spending it in a slowly circulating pool of, what is mostly, non-information, contributed to by people with a steadily declining filter, I think you might be missing a trick here.
Second – Taxes and the education system
This is something I’ve seen a lot over the last few years, as I’m sure you must have too. I understand and support the whole argument about the undue pressure on kids and all that. Having said that, there seems to be this one line that every single person who tries to complain about the education system loves to throw around, and it goes something like this. “It’s all a scam. They don’t teach you what’s really important. Like, I’ve had 12 years of schooling but no one has taught me how to do my taxes or to keep up with my loans! It’s preposterous!” But, I get it. I might be too harsh in my criticism. After all, teachers often skip those little chapters called “Addition”, “Subtraction”, “Multiplication”, and “Division” to teach more important things like multivariate calculus. (That one’s called sarcasm, by the way) Also, if you’ve had “12 years in schooling” and you’ve never heard of accountancy, you might want to rethink your future.
Then there’s the other famous argument that it’s a “scam” because learning in a “controlled environment” like a school doesn’t prepare you for the “real world” at all. I ask you. You ever go to a swimming pool and complain that they’re not teaching you right because the water is too calm, unlike during floods. Or go to your track and field coach and complain that training for any of the 100m – 1500m races or even a marathon is a scam because you’re probably not going to be wearing the right shoes or the right shorts if you were being chased by a mob? Or go to Driver’s Ed and reject it as a construct that teaches you to drive because the “people” there are just cardboard cut-outs. I hope you get my point.
But most of all, and this is the third, I think the thing I feel most strongly about, and in particular, against, is people feeling very strongly about things. (Those who are searching for your daily dose of irony, I present to you, for your edification). And I’m not trying to sound funny when I say it. I think we’re at a time where people are so deep in their opinions that they’ve begun to infringe upon territories that just aren’t theirs. And this manifests itself in many different ways, ranging from unsolicited advice to unfiltered criticism. Some even go so far as to threaten those who do not conform to their views. A lot of people say 2016 was the worst, because a lot of things changed, and in ways we probably did not want them to. But I believe that change itself is just a product of the world’s inherent tendency to evolve. So, as we move towards 2017 with people slowly hazarding hopes and expectations from it, I’d just like to say to the world, “One more time, with a little less feeling”.