Candid Truths about People — an article dedicated to the ability of human observation and experiences

The people of the modern age seem to be always ‘busy’ with something or the other in their fast-paced lives. In the last 50 years or so — to be more specific, in the last 20 years — the human race has striven to reach excellence in various fields, such as medicine, space sciences, research in a wide variety of fields, and in what not. However, along with the ‘great advancements of mankind’, creeps in a slow but visible change which many people discuss about during the times of their strife or crises, but such adverse happenings usually do not last long. They are as ephemeral as the short-lived joy of a student who successfully beat his/her rival in a test in one of the small-scale rat-race versions of a bigger and more cruel race, called life.

These changes have been occurring in not just a particular part of the world, but have been taking place throughout the world (globalization, you see). Some of these perceptions are nothing more than candid observations made by the author while viewing life in one of its many different aspects.

The observations are the following:

1. The meaning of pain has changed drastically over these years. While some sections of society still believe in physical punishments as a part of social upbringing, here cometh the age of technology where people are being exposed to a much more deadlier form of pain — that of a mental one. Some people have realized that zoning out people in an already morally weakened world gives them a greater number of brownie points in defeating the person rather than physically injuring him. Hence, along with physical pain, people such as psychopaths, narcissists, gas-lighters and other so-called ‘social outcasts’ use methods which directly affect the psyche of the person — which is why there are a greater number of cases of people suffering from depression, from bullying, abuse, stalking, harassing and the like than ever before.

2. The value of material items has remained the same, if not increased. This can be observed at the grass-root level. At our homes, for example, children who do not complete their homework are given chocolates or are promised toys or other gifts in return for getting their homework completed. This many people do not realize, but forms in their minds in the long run into what I call ‘reward’ systems. People have forgotten the value of things, and they just, like when they were children, do things only for some material gain in return, and not really because they wanted to obtain it for the sake of self-satisfaction or gratitude. This leads me to my next point.

3. Adults really are just overgrown children. Society is truly a circus show filled with people who wear different masks and try to entertain the crowd around them. ‘Grown-ups’, as they are called, are usually the ones who make rules, not realizing the fact that all rules made in society originate from some bad incident in someone’s childhood, because of which irreparable damage was done to their character. The very word, ‘childish’ is relative on so many levels that even a person who helps someone in return for nothing in exchange may be labelled as ‘childish’ by business -minded people while bending the rules for someone whose family is in grave danger is likely to be considered ‘mature’ if the person involved is the CEO or any other highly positioned officer.

4. Hypocrisy and backstabbing have gone over the roof. With the advent of social media, these evils have just risen to higher and higher levels. People have been confronting very serious problems recently as how to use their speech and prevent bad consequences in all their actions. The reasons that can be cited for this are endless and are subject to a lot of discussion — it could be the reaction of the person to a hypocritical environment — or in some extremely rare cases — because one tried to fulfill an impossible promise.

Backstabbing has existed over many centuries, and its presence has only been aggrandized by social media. In order to climb up the ladder, people have resorted to false praises and fake attitudes, which may seem to be highly viable, given the number of successful people found in various industries who succeeded in making their name in such a way, but ultimately when their time to leave this world would arrive, they would have nothing to remember or leave behind except their sycophancy.

5. Innocence vs. fraudulence — modern society’s mantra to strike the ‘perfect balance’ between work and life. The role of emotions in society has changed drastically over the ages. The growth in literacy, greater healthcare facilities, greater amount of affordable luxuries, all these have been the key highlights of the post-World War II era. In the last two or three decades, particularly in the past 15 years or so, social media and technology have taken the world by storm, to such an extent that while a handful of people still use it for their own actual purpose, i.e., to catch up with old friends, having meaningful conversations, etc., the vast majority have just sunken deeper and deeper into mental health issues. In short, technology has made mankind more stoic and emotionless than ever. While some people still continue to express their emotions through this medium, little do they realize that their psyche has already been unconsciously split into two or even more different parts or entities, each of which gives the person a different personality when the situation arises. This combination seems highly distorted from the point of view of an outsider, but even the most sane people realize this a little too late.

Modern society has a highly disparate combination of the rich and poor, of natural beauty and obnoxious pollution, and innocence vs. fraudulence. The last example may seem highly disjoint from the first two, but it isn’t far away from joining the list either. Issues such as depression, multiple personality disorder, bipolar disorder, etc., are on the rise, and nobody notices them until the usual culmination — it happens to them. While emotions are the very reason which distinguishes soulful beings from soulless ones, even emotional people today are increasingly finding greater and greater number of masks to hide their true personality. Circumstances may have forced them to do so — they may have had a troubled childhood, they may have had lesser abilities because of which they felt the need to be sycophantic or worse — fake, to their superiors, but all of this really does matter in the long run. Ultimately, the soul may be a quiet piece of existence residing in all of us, but it does have a voice. A voice which can be heard only when one really wants to listen to it. The human conscience has been designed to rewire itself according to the environments; it is exposed to the various experiences it is acquiring along the way. However, many realize, but too late, that integrity of character is very important for mental health, something which technology has threatened to destroy.

People are being exposed to more and more physical and material pleasures now. But the attitude of the person is what matters in the end. Those who realize that mental satisfaction is much greater than any physical gratification are the ones who would really lead mankind to greater heights, not the ones who lead ungainly lives wearing many masks and turn altogether a blind eye to their own mental peace. And that hope, I believe, is vested in only a few people who, despite all the odds, remain in their proper senses and are truly the hope of the future.

P.S.: A special mention to the editor friend of my uncle, Viswanathan, without whom this article would have been highly flawed. It is indeed very thoughtful of you, Sir, to have spent your valuable time proof-reading my article.