Does anyone wonder what is going on in our world?
Is anyone caring about the tragic, and sometimes horrific, happenings, trends, events, that are reported in our daily news services? Once reported, though, perhaps better to say “featured”, they then just seem to fade away, only to be replaced the very next day by another situation of a similar magnitude of concern, certainly extremely important according to the report, or reporter, which then morphs into oblivion.
Today, our lives and events are so much out there in the public arena. Sometimes it is by design, sometimes by choice and at other time, by chance. We have the internet, social media, television, print and digital media, radio, all providing a 24 hours-a day, seven days-a-week, barrage of news and information about happenings, trends, events.
Plus at the same time, advice to help us live happy and contented lives that come, of course, from advertisers and promoters reassuring us that when we buy what they offer, we will achieve that nirvana expectation.
We all will have some recollection of the news headlines of many of these reports on happenings, trends, and events. Some past major examples: Australian road roll reaches five-year high (June 2016); national scandal over deaths from overdoses continuing to climb (August 2016); methamphetamines use in Australia tripled in past five years (Feb 2016); amputations being the 4,400 reasons to take diabetes seriously; diabetes cases quadruple worldwide (Apr 2016).
What is the mindset of our society that is causing us to behave in ways that have an outcome of either harming, or even killing, ourselves?
Why despite improvements in motor vehicle safety technology and upgrading of major highways, do road accidents still happen? Yes, there will always be accidental circumstances to take into consideration, but for most, it comes down to the driver.
Speeding, under the influence, disobeying road rules, and sometimes just not paying enough attention to the task. It mystifies me why people have to exceed the speed limit in built-up areas. You will be amongst a group of cars keeping to the limit and then next thing, this car will speed past. Usually, at the next traffic lights, you will catch up to that vehicle waiting for the green light to speed off once again.
This action I have identified as OSS, or ‘open space syndrome’. When it is there, peddle to the floor.
Then, there’s the illicit drug-taking, In my lifetime it has gone from an activity that was seen as being a part of the underworld of criminals to being today merely a ‘social’ activity, almost respectable from all reports, that is being engaged in right across all segments of our population.
Of course, there is still an underworld of criminals involved but the habit has both increased in size and scope and, from news reports, many caught up in dealing turn out to be everyday citizens who take up the habit and then move on to make money for that habit. A dangerous pyramid scheme.
I have had a close involvement in the fitness industry, which turned my attention to the obesity crisis and all the societal outcomes that it brings.
Looking to avoid it in my latter years of life led me to write a book, Think to Lose Weight – The W.E.D. Method, that seeks to help people looking to manage their weight. Why? Because being overweight and obese brings personal health problems, increases demand on doctors and hospitals, and causes governments to struggle to finance our health systems.
We all are aware of these circumstances, yet even I was surprised when this news story came out last year, as reported in The Senior newspaper, that more than 4,400 diabetes-related amputations were performed in Australian hospitals every year, and most were preventable.
Diabetes Australia’s chief executive Greg Johnson said that number equaled about 12 people every day undergoing a diabetes-related amputation. He said that this surgery, plus other costs related to diabetic foot disease, set Australia back $875 million each year.
Newspaper reports of these statistics, with photos and stories of people having lost a limb, also appeared and gave good coverage of the problem, but no ongoing coverage, or for that matter, noticeable concern or public concern.
A recent blog in Starts at Sixty by Brian Lee was titled ‘Humans are supposed to be intelligent but evidence says otherwise’.
Perhaps that is one explanation as to why we are behaving quite irrationally when that very old common sense would stop us doing many of the things that go on to hurt us. It does seem to me that there is a laizzez faire attitude in today’s world, especially when one considers the definition of laizzez faire: a philosophy or practice characterised by a usually deliberate abstention from direction or interference especially with individual freedom of choice and action.
Our convict heritage has often been seen as being behind our challenging of regulations and limitations, the ‘larrikin factor’ perhaps another way to describe such behaviour. Perhaps Bernard Salt, or someone of similar expertise in the behaviour of societies, could explain or comment.
I do wonder if the appeal of so-called extreme sports these days also carries a message.
We need to go deeper as to why we do not care about these important matters other than what I’ve outlined here. Perhaps others have some thoughts on this subject they would like to contribute?