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A blog for English learners and their teachers everywhere, initiated in 2010 with the contribution of students from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. More about me on the On-line Profile below. Welcome!

Week of Mourning: Day 6

Are there things beyond our ability to fix?

In this respect I am optimistic. I think we can fix pretty much anything.[…]

It all depends on our attitude and the amount of love we have inside. If the fire in our hearts becomes extinguished, we are always able to re-ignite it.

What is the fuel that helps our society move on and progress?

This fuel is, of course, love. It signifies the oil which helps to propel the mechanism that is society. There are, nevertheless, other fuels, such as faith, trust, or the desire to do good or to make things work.

Rafal Guzik

“Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage in which man is kept imprisoned.” (Swami Nirmalananda)

Radu Jude, a Romanian film director,  shows in his short movie, “Alexandra,” how complicated and difficult family relationships in today’s world are. Society today is certainly dealing with a number of problems. However, can we say that it is “broken”? Can anything be done to “have it fixed”?

Some may say that the most serious problem of today’s Western society is family crisis. People tend to postpone marriage – informal relationships are getting more and more common. Fewer and fewer children are being born. The divorce rate is growing rapidly. However, is this really a crisis, or does it just mean that the concept of  “family” being redefined? Many people find it more suitable to get married around thirty instead of eighteen and have one instead of more children. It seems to me that this is a natural consequence of  our civilisation’s development.We should not assume that what was considered to be right 100 years ago, is just as “right” nowadays. The evolution of social roles and family models does not necessary have to “break” the society.

Moreover, conservatists complain that traditional values are being lost and forgotten by the society today. Such virtues as religiousness, patriotism and national pride seem to be disregarded by young people. Modern youth is sometimes juxtaposed to the youth of World War II, just to prove that the first is indolent, consumption-oriented, indifferent and spoiled. We cannot forget that the age of peace we are living in is dramatically different from the reality of war. Patriotism today does not mean dying for the country, but living for the country. It is not setting up barricades, but learning how to maintain peaceful contacts with other nations. A contemporary patriot is not sacrificing his life to shatter the enemy’s army, but is working for the development of his country in various aspects – economy, science, culture.

Another issue that fits into the term of “broken society” is crime. Let me refer it particularly to Poland. It is usually thought that Poland is not a safe country. The myth of car-stealing Poles is still alive, not only in the Western European countries, but also in their homeland. It can be often heard that we are living in dangerous times, and several decades ago it used to be much safer. However, official statistics show something different. Some kinds of crime are committed less and less frequently each year. For example, in 2008 there were 10,5% less manslaughters, 12,4% less burglaries, 11,1% less thefts and 11,8% less rapes than the previous year. The general number of crimes has been steadily falling since 2002. Interestingly, the general detectability of crimes since 1990 has risen from 40% up to 65,9% in 2008 – which could mean we actually should feel safer, as the Police are working more efficiently.

All things considered, society nowadays may seem to be broken. Family crisis, the loss of traditional values, crime and various other issues are undoubtedly some of the problems of the modern world. But upon a closer analysis we may notice that society today is just as “broken” as it always used to be – because it is formed by imperfect people. This conclusion is in fact an optimistic one. If it is us who make up the society, therefore we can do whatever we can to make it better. A single person will not change global trends, but by forming healthy and sincere relationships, living safely and wisely, and giving other people a positive example, every one of us can make the part of society around him a little less broken. This is how we can try to “fix” it.

Natalia Bilewicz

Filed under: ■ Poland, ■ Week of Mourning 2010, ■ Writing Samples

4 Responses

  1. mike says:

    I like the way Rafał described the knot that joins our society. Very accurate observation!

  2. Agnieszka Kow. says:

    The rise in the general detectability of crimes is actually the effect of the fact that few years ago drink driving became a crime. Moreover, a crime with a 100% detectability, because if a driver isn’t caught and tested, it can’t be proved he was drunk. 😉

  3. Rafał G. says:

    Thanks Mike!
    So, what can we say after the mourning days? Does this fuel, love, really help us to survive these hard times?
    Unfortunately, Poland is still divided. The death of so many people did not re-build the solidarity in our society.

  4. Chrisco says:

    Very mature article. I guess YOU could become a valued journalist if you wanted to.
    I agree with your conclusion. The main culprit is the imperfect human nature.
    Some facts don’t seem to be comparable any more. Times change… and we also can change – for the better I hope…

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