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A Note On Society (Sarah Withrow)

Seddy Bear would like to Welcome the extraordinary Sarah Withrow as a guest blogger! Sarah is not only a brilliant thinker, but has her own take on things. Without further ado:

A Note On Society

There is a complaint today that people are becoming shallow, even in the midst of events that require citizens to focus and engage with society. To this complaint, I have to agree and disagree. Yes, people are becoming more absorbed in their iPods, iPhones, and Facebook pages, but there is a reason for this that I will explain later.

Life today is difficult. America is involved at war, and has been for several long years. The economy is terrible and the unemployment rate is high. There are food recalls almost every night on the news. Is it any wonder that people would retreat to a safer place, like Facebook, to find some peace and maybe embrace a lighter side of life? Society is becoming more secular, leaving people without even a Higher Power to turn to when they feel they can no longer stand life’s hardships. Naturally, some people have turned to what I call a “fake shallowness.”

“Fake shallowness” is something akin to underachievement. Consider in this case though that the underachiever is a genius who doesn’t want to face up to being a genius or have people put pressure on him/her to live up to a standard that he/she doesn’t get to set. Think about this underachiever now, only this underachiever is a somewhat significant portion of the population. This is what I see happening today.

It’s easier to turn away from the bad events of life that seem too big to really do anything about, than to face it. There is nothing wrong with turning away from these things temporarily; we all need a little down time now and then. It is when people spend most of their time turning away that there is a problem. There is also the problem of people not living up to their potential, or maybe even their duty as citizens because they turned away. Worse yet, they play dumb, or shallow, so that others won’t expect anything else out of them. I’m not just talking about a certain blonde socialite and others like her, whose names won’t be mentioned, but many ordinary, everyday people. I do think that the socialite is important to this movement, if one were to call it that. She is popular amongst the more impressionable people who might try to emulate her, even her “fake shallowness” so that they too, can be trendy.

I stated initially that I agreed and disagreed that people are becoming shallow. I disagree that people are truly as shallow as they would like people to think they are, thus letting them escape the harsh realities of life. However, there is the last group of people in this movement who aren’t shallow but whose personalities and intellects aren’t completely formed yet. These are the people who are attracted to the “fake shallowness” because it is trendy and they want to fit in.

I agree that it is shallow to pretend to be shallow because not only are they not pulling their own weight in society, but they are making it seem as if it is okay not to live up to your potential. These times can be depressing and overwhelming, but that only make it more imperative that people take an interest in their own world. If we don’t, who will? How do we know that the people who do take an interest have the best intentions? We don’t, which is why people today need to take the lead, and try to make things better.

On Instant Philosophers In The Social Media Age

There is an adage that goes with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter that says “I don’t care about what you had for lunch” or something similar. Many people talk about how social media has caused a problem of over-share. While I think this is true, is there still anything that can be gleaned from it? Not just from the page of a politician or a religious leader one likes and follows, but in the world of over-share are there still worthwhile ideas out there?

One might ponder the question for a moment, many will be quick to answer no rather flatly, but I believe there is something else that comes out of social networking. Of course there are sites such as LinkedIn that take social networking on a very serious level, although people are using all types of social networking platforms for both business and personal pursuits, but if one can get through the drudge of information about what someone’s kid said at the dinner table or a video of a dog dancing that one’s friends just think is too cute, I believe one will find a wealth of gold on social networking sites and not just from esteemed personalities, but from the everyman.

Everyone has ideas. This is an universal fact of life. Some better than others. Some complicated while others painfully simple. The fact still remains. The reason social networks are so big (and why people, myself included, blog) is that people want to be heard. I have noticed that not only does social networking lend itself to sharing quotes and ideas from the world’s finest thinkers, some of the best I have seen come from my connections themselves. Formal education teaches that there have been in the past (and depending on how liberal the institution, perhaps a few in the present) people who have had some great ideas or at least thought provoking ones. While this is true,I have been more inspired by friends than I have from some of the “great thinkers.”

As all philosophers have morals to their stories, here is mine. We live in a day of instant philosophers. In a matter of seconds anyone can share an idea with the world. In a moment, I will hit the publish button on my screen and I will have shared mine. Not everything shared on the internet is good or noteworthy, but if one can sift through the dirt, gems are to be found. People want to be heard and it is humanity’s job to listen. And if you listen to the wind close enough, you just might hear a song.

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