The Story So Far Pt. 2
The problem with conformity is inertial in nature. Our incremental gains bring with them the comforts that provide a sense of stability. Its so easy to succumb to the Siren's song of the myriad of modern luxuries available for zero down and no payments 'til next year. And with every acquisition, every vacation there comes the promise of another even better - a planned obsolescence of our possessions and experience keep us yearning toward the promise of perfection just over the horizon.
This by itself is a spiritually bankrupt existence and most of us are able to acknowledge this on some intellectual level. However, the pervasive messages from advertisements and entertainment reinforce that promise of salvation-through-consumption and shift our reference groups (those we compare ourselves to) in unhealthy, unrealistic directions. Its not about keeping up with the Joneses anymore. Now we're to keep up with the parade of celebrities and the obscenely rich that are showcased to us nightly in our living rooms.
Is it realistic to believe we could ever actually reach "enough" given the existing value structure? Unlike some, I don't attribute a sinister intent behind these cultural phenomena, regardless however, the end result is a sad, fearful and ultimately destructive pandemic of self-obsession and self-loathing. We are creating a world of squandered potential. We face a Progress Paradox in the West: A time of unprecedented affluence, and equally unprecedented unhappiness. All-the-while our real reference group, the average human being, is still predominately concerned with his baseline survival needs. Understanding and internalizing that simple fact, and thereby putting our own life situation in the proper context is the essential first step in our own personal awakening.
There are those of us who do reach a point where we feel an impulse of self-actualization, but then convince themselves it has come "too late". It seems that at some point we tend to shift our hopes and dreams of a meaningful existence for ourselves to our children, in a cyclical, inter-generational cop-out in which we resign to our own ennui, convinced our progeny will make the breakthrough that we could dare not, as long as we work hard to provide them with all of the "things" we didn't have. The truth, I believe is not a matter of what advantages we provide our children with, but the roles we model for them and the values that we instill.
It is these thoughts that have allowed me to move beyond the roles and definitions that have governed and guided me for most of my life, and into the uncharted territory of my own, less restricted existence. It is my hope that by sharing these thoughts, it will resonate with others and that together we can work towards re-instilling a sense of purpose into ourselves, our families and our culture at large. Our society provides for us many things, but it lacks one critical component: A collective direction.I chose the name "fortunate son" for my website because it expresses the pervasive thought in my mind: That I am truly a fortunate son of the world, and with that understanding comes an implicit acknowledgement of the responsibilities I [we] have to work and to fight to secure a hopeful future for all members of mankind. For in the end, we will all either succeed or suffer together.