Our world is exciting in many ways from arts to culture, yet it also harnesses a tragic amount of background anxiety and low-level depression, especially targeted towards young adults. As we’re on the cusp of new identities and new eras, we can’t help but feel plunged into a sea of responsibilities, expectations and shattered hopes.
Is this what I dreamed of when I was 15?
Beyond the daily nuisances of a new job or a tangential job or graduate school or theses, Alain de Botton argues that there are six characteristics of modernity that taunt us psychologically.
There seems to be a social construct surrounding the idea of: everyone can make it if you have the talent or perseverance. Yet the drawback lies in the potential lack of success being viewed as a steadfast lack of talent. Rejections aren’t seen as misfortunes anymore but rather as measurements of our worth.
The remedy to such psychological damnation? Compassion, to both yourself and those around you. Success isn’t reliant on talent alone anymore, especially as we tread new waters of political upheavals and a wave of hyper-specialists. It’s largely just luck.
Secularism is defined as separating society from religious institutions. Religion used to have the function of humbling us or giving us perspective “beyond”. Now though, we tend to fall into nihilism and existential dilemmas.
A way to deal would be taking nature in — let yourself be in awe of the stars at night.
An individualistic society pushes one to believe that they are destined for greatness or capable of something special. Nowadays being ‘ordinary’ is the absolute nightmare. The paradox of an individualistic world is that if all of us pursue being special, then none of us actually end up being unique. We forget our true essence in light of what we think might make us stand out. A sort of twisted compromise of the 21st century.
Cure? Sometimes ‘ordinary’ is the special thing.