During this week of mourning I chose to publish some of my Polish students’ essays in an attempt to spread their light of wisdom and compassion in the current context of commiseration.The essay below was written by Agnieszka Pytel.
Is society today affected by certain flaws or broken relationships?
Nothing and no one today is flaw free. Society today is also affected by some flaws. Nothing is ideal. Every epoch, every time has its own rules and its own defects. There is no such thing like an ideal, harmonious, and fully friendly society.
I think that one of the biggest flaws in society nowadays is the fact that people have moved their lives to the Internet. There are so many social networks helping people to get in touch, to share their life and experiences with others, but only via Internet. As a result, unfortunately, we have less time to spend with our families and friends in real life. We are forced to spend more and more time working and learning new skills. There is no time for lazy evenings with friends, as there is always something to do. I am generalizing a little bit, but I think that this state of spending all our free time on the Internet and not having time for our families is alarming.
When I started studying in Cracow I felt quite lonely in this city. At the beginning I did not have any friends, apart from my friend from high school who was sharing a room in a student flat with me. But she was always busy. Of course I wasn’t angry; I had a lot of things to do too. Once we were sitting in our room in front of our computers and I noticed that she wasn’t learning. I suggested a small talk, but she answered she was very busy and didn’t have time. A few minutes later I saw she was “available” on “Gadu-Gadu” – a very popular instant messenger in Poland. I sent her a few words. I was extremely amazed when she replied and we started chatting… I couldn’t believe it! We were sitting next to each other talking via the Internet. Moreover, she was talking with several people at the same time. She got used to having contact with others in such an unnatural way that she preferred this way of communication to real talk.
Unfortunately people love to keep in touch with each other via the Internet. Maybe the reason is that they have the possibility to recreate themselves in a completely new way. Shy people can pretend to be crazy and very sociable, etc. When I saw some of my friends on a very popular social network, I was wondering – do I know these people? They do not act and behave like people I used to know. And the question is: which personality is the real one? Is it the one I know or the one created over there?
I do not want to act like the biggest opponent of the Internet. Because of that I will write about very interesting article I read a few days ago. The article was about our society. The author, a psychologist, claimed that people were becoming more and more envious. Our generation is more envious than our parents’, and our children’s will be even more envious than ours. The author suggested that the reason is our material or financial situation. In highly developed countries people can afford more and more expensive things and become very successful. In a society in which everybody can achieve more and more and some can’t, the latter become envious. The worst thing about this is that the feeling of envy is inevitable. People cannot get rid of it easily because it is connected with the modern way of life. Of course I do not have to emphasize how destructive envy is in any relationship.
And last but not least: in our times, like never before, people are encouraged to be more selfish. They are convinced that being egotists is normal and even healthy for your psyche. Sometimes it truly is. However, being egoistic is a very bad vice. More and more children are being brought up with the conviction that they deserve everything they want without any effort or any sacrifice from their side and the result of such upbringing can be terrible, as it creates a generation of fully egoistic people.
To sum up, it is impossible to enumerate the main flaws that affect people’s relationships today, as in any other time. We can say that our society is broken but we should also remember that we are “only people,” and there never was a flaw-free society.
O tempora, o mores!