Resilience versus Comfort

 

As a baby boomer it is too easy to fall into the “when I was young….” trap and condemn anything I don’t like as a sign of the impending end of civilization as we know it or even the end of the human race.

It is like walking a tightrope between standing up for our values and principles, for the things we believe are what made our Western societies successful and accepting that, just as it was when we were young, change is constant and essential for progress.

Just as there were many things that my parents did not like about life in the 1960s and 70s when I was trying to avoid the worst of the hippy era, there are things happening now that scare me witless.  Some may in a few years time be of as little consequence as long hair, flower power and bell bottom trousers became a few years after they lost their power to offend my parents’ generation. Other things that seem strange now may become valuable, even life changing innovations for the benefit of future generations. Others are I believe, dangerous enough to require us to speak up and oppose.

It is more important than ever to be discerning in choosing our crusades. The media in North America has been almost completely focused on the shooting of one shoplifter by one policeman in Missouri for two weeks. The far more serious happenings in Iraq and Ukraine rarely mentioned.

As individuals, we cannot directly have much influence over events in either Iraq or Missouri. We could join causes, take part in protest marches, enjoy a moment of publicity in the media. Most importantly, we can elect strong leaders who will take action to stop the carnage in Iraq and elsewhere being brought back to our shores by some of our own nationals in the terrorist ranks.

I do believe that we are being conditioned not to think for ourselves in many important areas. That benefactors of our democratic systems should use their skills to wage war against our allies and in future, probably our own cities is a serious indictment of the failure of overly liberal policies in North America and Europe. Common sense and national security have been sacrificed for political correctness. Thousands of man-hours wasted on investigating and prosecuting alleged racist, homophobic or sexist comments, public tobacco smokers or (in Canada) legitimate gun owners while terrorists are being recruited in our cities. It makes one want to cry

Those same policies have encouraged many people to trade the discomfort of thinking for themselves to the perceived security of following the herd. A herd increasingly led by the most prolific users of social media. Not the most knowledgeable, experienced or qualified.

Resilience has not been needed by the majority for generations, since WW2  for most in the West. Life has paradoxically become easier and more stressful at the same time. Easier for most to cover the basics of food, clothing and shelter, more difficult for many to cover the costs of keeping up with the Jones’. Paying for electronic toys, entertainment, travel and experiences that “everyone” else seems to be enjoying.

If we were to plot levels of resilience compared to standard of living for large sections of Western communities over the last 70 years on a graph, I imagine it would look something like this:

Resilience vs Comfort

Resilience vs Comfort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events like 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing and bombs in London, England did jog some observers out of their complacency

There are clear signs that the landscape is changing. The recession of 2008 upset many people’s comfortable lives. Many of those had to suddenly develop resilience to survive. A recent article on the auto industry in Canada predicts a significant drop in manufacturing for that sector after 2016 with the loss of more jobs.

Now is the time to realise that change comes from the disruption of established patterns as well as through innovation. We need to think for ourselves and not just swallow what is fed to us by the media. Use the changes to our advantage, not become casualties through inaction and lack of awareness.

Nothing ever stays the same, the current crises will play out, new ones will emerge in the years ahead, some may provide huge opportunities, most will change the world as we know it to some degree.

We need to think for ourselves, make our own plans to survive the storms and enjoy the sunshine, not let others decide whether we succeed or not.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  5 comments for “Resilience versus Comfort

  1. August 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    To quote Peter:
    “We need to think for ourselves and not just swallow what is fed to us by the media. ”
    Can the mushead product of current spoon fed PAP education Learn to Think for themselves?

    • August 29, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Chuck, despite my frequent criticism of the current “politically correct” climate and our shared concerns over the education systems in the West, there are many well balanced, conscientious and go-ahead young people coming into the real world. Let’s hope there’s enough of them to keep the new post-industrial society going.

  2. Roberta
    August 26, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    These are truly scary times. There are so many parallels to both Berlin and the Roaring 20’s in America these days. As Chuck says, the worst part is that our education system (of which I used to be a part) seem to be failing us. Add to that an extremely weak and disconnected President. Real problem is I don’t know what to do about any of it. I feel so impotent.

    I guess I just have to be resilient and be ready to act on a minutes notice. I can only hope my resilience during personal times of trouble in the past will be there for me in the next few years.

    • August 29, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Roberta, I still believe that good sense will prevail, that the human race will continue to muddle along without completely destroying itself. I have faith in the outcome, but some concern for the next few years unless our leaders wake up quickly and display the same fortitude as their predecessors did in WW2.

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