Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ideology In The Modern World

I have a friend from Nigeria (Adawale Adelke aka Wallace) who taught me a valuable lesson about life and ideology. He said we (in the west) are so concerned with deciding whether the glass is half full or half empty that we don't appreciate the fact that a large number of people in the world don't have a glass. 

This is how free market capitalist ideology functions in our society. While parts of the world are starving and dealing with a level of existential angst we can only sympathize with, we are consumed with the half empty glass in the form of iPhones, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Air Jordan’s. We struggle to find the items that will fill our glass.

I'm not pointing out the flaws in our society while exonerating myself: I'm just as guilty as the next person. The degree to which we wrestle with these issues is what determines how sincere we are in our struggle with the question: what kind of person are you going to be? Accepting the darkness inside of us is the key to overcoming and changing it. All of the phobias, "isms", and negative ideologies inside of us won't die without us being conscious of their existence.

We aren't bad people because we want these items, we're told our lives won't be complete without them. I know for more mature people this trap is easily avoided, but in the last 25 years children have been marketed to in a way incomparable to any period of time before it. Our posterity are constantly told the only way to fit into the status quo society is by chasing the labels. There are a great number of people with compassion for the suffering of their fellow citizens, but the belief that we can possess our souls through the acquisition of physical commodities is a prevalent ideological misnomer.

I pose these questions and offer commentary, yet I struggle to find answers that would sufficiently deal with the kinds of apathy and nihilism that grow from this kind of ideology. At the core of our existence is the search for meaning; a meaning that will make all of the suffering in this life worth it. I know I haven't found all of the answers, but I've found enough to make tomorrow interesting. I'll keep studying this culture, these people, and most importantly myself. Eventually we will confront our problems or have the consequences of those problems confront us.