Over the years I have witnessed our culture going from one that was more invested in worrying about the outcomes of their behavior than of gratifying their every desire. We do seem to have moved into a time where “wanting” has overshadowed “judging” as to whether what we “want” makes sense. The ability to be wise about the decisions we make in our own behalf or those near and dear to us seems to be a lost art. Being able to develop wisdom is not something our educational system teaches, and we definitely don’t get it from the media. The great philosophers often made commentaries on wisdom and saw it as one of life’s greatest assets. It has become more and more difficult to access wisdom, due to the fact that we have become more interested in immediate gratification. Ads pummel us daily insisting that whatever their selling is something we “must” have. Their relentless marketing hypes have seeped into our unconscious and made us feel that even when we get the desired object, we are not happy with it for long for there will soon be something better on the horizon. These ads are developed with the help of scientists who now know that baiting people with the need for stuff releases dopamine, a substance in the brain that gives us pleasure. Unfortunately, when we access dopamine too frequently we need more and more to get the same response, and so we become addicted to “wanting and having”, “getting and then wanting more”. This is similar to being hooked on alcohol or drugs. Learning to be wise increases our capabilities to have self-control, which is a necessary factor in becoming a mature, evolved human being. My mother often reminded me that I had to learn to “think about what I was thinking about”. I used to rail against this statement, but now I realize that we would all be better off if we embraced her metaphor for wise living. Wisdom is important for peace, economic prudence, political leadership, and health. Without it we will continue to be at the mercy of the rewards of bad habits, self-indulgence, and immediate gratification. We are witnessing these very things everyday and it is leading us into a dark abyss. I think it’s time we all “wised up”!
Over the last thirty years I have taught thousands of people who have stress related problems. Many have situations that are truly difficult. Others seem to be stuck and unwilling to solve their problems. Unfortunately the amount of people who like to talk about their situations versus change them seems to have grown exponentially. In fact I think Reality TV and a myriad of other shows focus on individuals weaknesses and their inability to use their strengths. It feels like a continual dialogue of angst riddled with excuses, blame, and martyrdom. Spilling your guts about your past and how toxic it was appears to be par for the course. If you believe everything you hear, you start to wonder if anyone had parents that weren’t nut cases. I, frankly am tired of listening to celebrities who reveal their drug use, sex addictions, inability to stay in relationships, or that they have some love child, that was the result of an affair they had with the housekeeper, pool boy, or Mongolian sheep herder. Who cares! And why do we have to keep hearing the reasons some people gained weight and are now part of a show that resembles the coliseum. We have become permeated with media that is constantly disclosing or interviewing dysfunctional people who showcase their insanities and consequently make money off it. There was a time when it was rare for individuals to reveal their immoral or dysfunctional behavior. It was a private matter and you handled it by yourself or had help from friends or family. Now, it is not uncommon to put whatever problem you have on face book, write a blog about it, create a YouTube segment or go on twitter and get hundreds of followers who are waiting to find out what you might be doing next. Whatever happened to mystique? Is privacy a thing of the past? Have we become so desperate for the “fifteen minutes of fame” that Andy Warhol predicted would be part of the future, that nothing is sacred? I keep hoping we’ll have a wakeup call and realize that we can have some “unexpressed thoughts”, but it may be too late. I for one, am hoping to write a book called “Just Shut Up”!. I would leave every page blank except for the words “just shut up”. My last page would be a little stronger , and I think you can guess what it would say. Use your imagination. Who knows, it just might work.
Listen in every Wednesday Night at 6:15pm EST to Loretta LaRoche on Lighten Up Network with her Get A Life Radio Show.