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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

 

  1. Convenience – Our culture is absolutely obsessed with making everything fast, easy, and achievable with the touch of a button.  We have an “app” for just about anything you can think of, and a huge amount of an average person’s life is channeled through their electronic devices.  But with every advance in this direction, we become less tolerant of things that require any sort of sustained effort on our part, or things that take time.  We also become more dependent on the technology for even the most basic of functions.  Given the fact that life is a long journey, which requires genuine determination, perseverance and patience, this trend doesn’t bode well for our future.
  2. Sex – Without a doubt, sex is meant to be one of life’s great pleasures, but just as doubtless, there is a context within which it was meant to fit in our lives.  In the decades since the “Sexual Revolution” began, our culture has found ways to inject sex into all sorts of settings, circumstances, and contexts where it doesn’t belong.  This has not only resulted in confusion and dysfunction, for many it has reduced sex to nothing more than a bodily function.  That’s sad, because it was intended to be so much more.
  3. Stardom – The insatiable craving for notoriety within our culture continues to fill our screens (both large and small) with images of people willing to eat bugs, wife swap, gender swap, submit themselves to tortuous circumstances, fix bad tattoos, torment their kid on the pageant circuit, wrestle alligators/snapping turtles/wolverines, bully their wedding planner, search for bigfoot…  And all of this has created a new breed of star that includes people like the “Reality TV Star”, and the “You-Tube Star”.  Most of these folks are not known for a specific talent, or some meaningful contribution to society, they’re simply famous for being famous (e.g. the Kardashians); which somehow manages to take the superficiality of “fame and fortune” to a whole new level.
  4. SWAG – Though the exact meaning of this term continues to evolve, it comes from the word “swagger”.  And it refers to a person’s attitude, self-image, and self-confidence.  Sadly, for the emerging generation, this confidence doesn’t necessarily need to be rooted in any sort of reality.  With a steady diet of trash talk, and brash posturing, one’s “SWAG” is often just an alter-ego (i.e. the person they wish they were or imagine they will become), and ultimately how they choose to market themselves to the world.  In such cases, life has a way of reducing these facades to rubble (e.g. OJ Simpson, Allen Iverson, Tiger Woods, Lindsay Lohan…).
  5. Self – This is the age of the “Selfie”, where people spend countless hours each day broadcasting their “status”, their reactions, their opinions, pictures of themselves, pictures of their food, videos of themselves…  And while a certain amount of that can be relatively harmless, the cumulative effect is that it keeps most people focused on themselves, and on what everyone else is thinking & saying.  Ultimately, the most miserable life that one can lead is one that is all about themselves.

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I originally wrote this piece when the “Fifty Shades of Grey” books were ruling the best seller list.  Now that the movie is being released, I find it sad to see how much further our society has progressed down this road.  Obviously, the “Grey” referred to in the title of the book is the name of the main character, but to be sure there is an intent of blurring the lines of what is reasonable and acceptable within the context of the story.  While the book tries to come on as some sort of psychological intrigue, the draw is ultimately the explicit sexual content.  It’s really just fluffed up porn, but we like to think of it as being somehow more sanitary and appropriate than renting videos from the local “Adult” superstore.  That seems to be the pattern in our culture.  We keep looking for ways to push the boundaries of what is acceptable, and then find ways to legitimize it in our minds.  We’ve got phenomenally popular artists like Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Nicki Minaj, who are trying to sell our young women on the idea that flaunting their anatomy will ultimately empower them, when in fact; it leads to the most ancient form of slavery known to mankind.  Check out the cover of the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.  We rationalize that this has something to do with sports or swimsuits, but it’s just another repackaging of the same old thing.  For most men (& boys), it will be the only Sports Illustrated they purchase this year.  All of these things are meant to activate the same trigger, and they do.  But like a patient who is provided with a button to dispense their own medication, we quickly find out that it never really gets us where we want to be.  We can convince ourselves that all of this is really harmless, but make no mistake; it’s carrying us, and more importantly our children, down a path that we are sure to regret.  The fruit of these things is already beginning to blossom, but we as a culture are unwilling to connect the dots.  There is no blindness as profound as the refusal to see.

 

50 Shades of Gray

There must be 50 shades of gray

Maybe even more

But they’re nothing more than shadows

And a place to lose our way

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No one ever sets out to be a hypocrite, or a liar, or a cheat

Yet, every day we find a way

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It’s not the things we call “evil” that so entangle us

It’s the things that we’ve justified as being “good”

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It’s the pursuit of “having it all”, that so often costs us the things that matter most

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There must be 50 shades of gray

Maybe even more

But they’re nothing more than shadows

And a place where we can hide

*

No one ever sets out to be an addict, or a prostitute, or a thief

Yet, every day we find a way

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It’s not as much a question of our history

As it is the conclusions that we’ve drawn from it

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It’s ultimately self-deception that paves the road to self-destruction

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There must be 50 shades of gray

Maybe even more

But they’re nothing more than shadows

And a place for us to perish

*

No one ever sets out to be a pedophile, or a rapist, or a murderer

Yet, every day we find a way

*

Many of us choose to explore our dark side

But none of us ever finds the bottom of it

*

The poison gets harder to detect when you take it one drop at a time

*

*

There must be 50 shades of gray

Maybe even more

But they’re nothing more than shadows

And only the light can set us free

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