Five of the Week #12

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” (Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray) Although I watch as good as no TV, I came across this quote in an advertisement a long time ago. I have to admit I haven’t read The Picture of Dorian Gray. Nevertheless, this is a great quote and there are more of the same quality by Wilde. However, I’m not going to talk about Oscar Wild but still this quote is quite important for this week’s “Five of the Week”.

I often felt and still feel like many people don’t know how to or don’t (want to) appreciate the smallest things in life. Why? Well, I guess because nowadays too many people take too many things for granted, thus, way too many things lose their value. This holds especially true for today’s youth. Or, at least, this is where I could observe missing moral concepts a lot. A real good friend of mine once said that today’s teens grew up with other ideals. They’re born into modernism. That wasn’t the case when we (this friend of mine and I) were born. I mean we grew up with some technical innovations like the GameBoy or a CD-Player. Nevertheless, we had no cell phones and no internet (well, not at least until the end of the nineties). And we learned from the beginning that you have to earn money and save it in order to be able to buy some more expensive things. Today’s like “Well, the bank’s patient. Let’s raise another credit and buy a third car (that we actually don’t need).” I’m not saying that our generation (born at the end of the eighties) is the perfect one. No, we’re far from that, I am far from that. But I often get the feeling that we were one of the last to be well raised. Don’t get me wrong, please, we, as well, have a lot of black sheep walking among us – by saying “we” I mean the-end-of-the-eighties-generation – but somehow it became quite obvious to me that whatever came after us is raised totally different. (Excuse the long sentence). Of course there are still younger people who have the same or similar moral concepts but there is a certain downward trend concerning these concepts and as a consequence there’s a decline of certain values. Of course they didn’t vanish completely (yet). However, their significance is in great danger. And it’s not just me who recognized this.

So, this week it’s all about five “things” that I feel have lost their value.

1. Modesty
People are no longer content with small amounts of anything. Everything has to be bigger, better, newer, etc. I often see people having two cell phones with them – of course the most modern ones –  one for listening to music and one for “the rest”. There is someone I know who has three computers running at the same time. And whenever there’s something new on the market a bunch of people has to go and buy the stuff just for the sake of possessing it. Where did modesty go? Why not wait until something brand new became “just” new but much cheaper? Why can’t people be content with what they have? Why do they always want more? It doesn’t make any sense to accumulate things just to pretend there is wealth when there actually is none. How can these people sleep at night? I mean, their wearing the mask of prosperity while being up to their ears in debt has to be eating them from inside, hasn’t it? It’s sad that only few people can really appreciate the “inner” value of a thing.

2. Trust
Can you name a handful of people, apart from your family, you’d trust with everything? I can’t. Why? Because, at least in my opinion, life is no longer private. How come we can trust so few people? Is “teaching” trust no longer part of education? Or is it because people love to cheat on  and betray each other? Has stabbing a knife into one another’s back become a competition? That’s what we’re taught on TV right? Everyone is abusing everyone’s trust but the consequences are never revealed. Is that it? Is it the soap operas where we learn that whenever you stab a knife in someone’s back he just removes it and lives on? Yeah, they live on. And in reality you can live on as well. But in reality there are consequences, painful consequences. And there’s revenge, fight fire with fire. If he broke my trust, I’ll break his and so starts the vicious cycle of distrust and betrayal.

3. Friendship
I got the impression that friendship is not defined by quality but by quantity these days. The more friends, the better. But can you really call everyone you know a friend? I don’t think so. There’s much more to a friendship than just knowing and occasionally talking to each other. You can’t have, say, twelve friends on the same level of the “friendship ladder”. It’s the same with distinguishing between a “best friend” and a “most best friend”. I know it’s grammatically wrong because it’s a double comparison but that’s just the way it is. Teenagers do it. Honestly, what is the difference between these two? What do I tell my “most best friend” that I don’t tell my “best friend”? And how can one friend be better than the best? I don’t get it. Is it because of social networks, where anyone you add is automatically declared your friend, where everything’s about collecting as much friends as possible, that friendship lost its meaning?

4.  Courtesy
I am a member of a gym that I visit three times a week. While working out I have time to observe people (one of my favorite pastimes). I have seen a lot of people entering the work out area, passing by me and others without saying anything. I mean, no one expects them to erupt with joy when they see you. But saying nothing is what no one expects either. A short “Hello” or a polite nod – is that too much to ask for? No. Nevertheless, these people (especially the young ones) pass you by with an air of arrogance surrounding them. They don’t even look at you for fear you could say “hello” or nod. They don’t know how to deal with that amount of politeness from strangers. It’s only among people like them that they re-gain the ability to speak. Strange, ain’t it?

5. Love
Love has definitely lost its meaning among male teenagers as it is often put on one level with sex. However, both can exist independently, although there surely exist different opinions about that. Anyway, the open access to porn of all forms (to all classes of age) distorts the image of love. Porn has nothing to do with love. But quite the contrary image is displayed. They have sex so they must love each other, thus sex = love = sex. If that’s one of the first impressions you get of “love” this image will stay in your mind for a long time shaping your perception of women as objects and setting false standards for your self-perception. Women are always “used” (for want of a better word) in porn. They’re captured by a man (or more) saying something ambigious and off to bed they go, thus giving an impression that’s not real. However, this image is anchored in a lot of minds and so begins a real competition about who has had the most sexual partners, with that experienced the most love. Actually no one experienced anything as sex is not what love is all about.
Another reason why love lost its value is its being moved onto the internet. If you like to read about that simply click here.

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