Critical issues in today’s society

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Kevin Mangelschots

Even though our current generation is generally better off than ever before, there are some problems in today’s society that should be addressed if we want to prevent these things from wreaking havoc down the road.

Furthermore, persistent betterment is essential if we wish to continue flourishing in the future.

  1. Being misled by authorities and media

    The quote, “if you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed” written in white letters on a black background. By Mark Twain.

    One of the issues in today’s society is being misled by authority figures and media platforms.

    I’m not saying that everything that gets portrayed in the media is bad, or wrong for that matter. But we can’t deny that just like some other people we meet in our daily lives, the media platforms have their own hidden agenda a lot of the time.

    They want to make money, and one way of doing so is by bringing sensational news that isn’t always true, or gets enlarged to the point of being unbelievable. Point being, they have a hand in keeping you in front of the television, reading the news, or to stay scrolling on social media platforms.

    Would that be possible without exaggerating the available information, or by reporting all the boring, yet true events that happen in existence? Probably not. And that’s why we can be misguided at times by authorities and the media because they benefit from the public being misdirected, or being misinformed.

  2. Poor role models

    Role models are individuals we look up to such as our parents, movie stars, and other famous people. We often base our values, goals, and even our mannerisms on those people we consider to be role models. In short, they’re very impactful regarding whom we grow up to be, which is especially true when we’re still young.

    But what are young kids seeing nowadays? Celebrities saying obscure things while being drugged out of their mind. Either by alcohol, or through other drugs. People are selling their soul and body on OnlyFans, or by showing revealing pictures of themselves on Instagram.

    Sure, people can do what they want to as long as it doesn’t harm others, I agree. But I don’t think that this kind of behavior sets a good example for our youth, nor do we want our own children to act this way. But that’s what they’re seeing on the internet and television these days, so that’s what they’re typically going to take inspiration from.

  3. Poor upbringing and parenting

    The words, “bad parenting” sprayed in red paint on the pavement.

    Our upbringing and parenting has several problems that cause even more difficulties in our younger, and even current generation.

    Before, parents were strict, and taught their children values, how to behave appropriately, and what’s truly essential in life. Obviously, that required a big time investment in the kids, which the parents gladly provided.

    Nowadays, that isn’t always the case anymore. A lot of children get to do whatever they want without any repercussions. But if we don’t teach, and adjust them from a very young age, then where does that leave them when they get older? And the answer is immature, hedonistic pleasure seeking individuals without the capacity for respect, loyalty, and delaying gratification.

    Not to mention that a lot of folks want kids, yet don’t want to sacrifice their own lives, or their free time in order to raise them. But that’s simply not possible. We have to dedicate so much time and effort raising a kid that we can’t do everything we want to do ourselves any longer.

    That’s why each one of us should think things through very carefully before attempting to get kids. Because while it’s certainly beautiful to raise a kid successfully, and to see them grow, it’s also a big sacrifice. And you forfeit a part of your own life, spare time, and being able to do what you want to for being adequate of raising a respectful youngster.

  4. Not knowing what’s truly meaningful in life anymore

    These days, we typically have the notion that the only thing that matters is having a lot of money and material wealth, regardless of the manner we acquire it, or what degeneracy we have to perform to get it.

    And while money is important, because it’s the currency we use to survive, and having absolutely no wealth means we’ll get even more issues, it’s not the be all end all. We’re more than just our wealth, and what good is having a lot of money when we have no one we love and respect to share it with?

    We’re social animals, and that means we need to interact with others to feel fulfilled and meaningful. That remains true even for introverted people. Building meaningful relationships, respect, self-actualization, and chasing in addition to achieving goals. Those things are critical for our personal wellbeing.

  5. Clout chasing

    The word “clout” written on the cover of some books.

    Most people are obsessed with chasing fame and popularity these days, frequently in an attempt to gain money, or more power. The sad thing is that a lot of people lose their way, or go insane in the process because they disregard more important things such as their self-respect, self-worth, and self-esteem.

    And while we all want to be valued and loved by others, I don’t consider it to be normal, nor feasible to be liked by everyone out there. Now the question becomes why we have this desire to be liked by everyone, even though they’re not in our lives directly, and have no impact, or any say in it.

    In my opinion, we place far too much importance on what others think of us, especially those we don’t even know. Part of it can be considered the need to be loved, but the other problem is that we seek too much external validation instead of learning to love ourselves, and gaining the confidence we need to thrive.

  6. Seeking an excessive amount of external validation

    Because we’re overly sensitive, and insecure because of all the perfect images that others portray and share on social media, we attempt to feel better and gain confidence via external validation.

    Unfortunately, even when we do get validated by those around us by sharing beautiful pictures of ourselves that are seemingly perfect, that’s still not enough. That typically drives an even larger hunger to feel confirmed.

    That’s not surprising because feeling loved and approved releases dopamine, which can be considered our happiness hormone that makes us feel better by improving our mood.

    But that creates a vicious circle that’s almost impossible to get out of. It’s normal to want a loving and supportive word from the people that care about us from time to time. That’s something we all need to feel fulfilled and valuable. But it’s abnormal if we let people we don’t know control our existence and influence our mood. They don’t even know us, so why would we care about their opinion in the first place?

  7. Being overly sensitive

    The quote, “sensitive people terribly absorbed in their own reactions” written in white letters in a black background.

    We’ve been raised so soft, without experiencing many struggles, or difficulties, that we’re overly sensitive to the sentiment of others. That’s also due to having so little, almost even too little, to worry about.

    Another factor is our egos. Our feeling of self-importance is regularly so large that we think we can regulate other people’s speech, and that we can forbid them from telling things we disagree about. But people are entitled to their own opinion, and it’s not up to us to determine what they say, and what they don’t. As long as it’s not deliberately offensive and punishable such as hate speech, discrimination, racism, and so on.

    But being too delicate isn’t all that great when we know that people have wildly varying personalities, and as a result, different values, thoughts, and ideas. Even though it should be noted that people are more alike than different. And if we can’t accept different perspectives, or get insecure whenever someone doesn’t agree with us, then that’s a recipe for disaster.

  8. Too fearful of other people’s opinions

    Another one of the problems in today’s society is that we’re frequently too fearful of the opinion of those around us because of the combination of being insecure, too sensitive, and needing an excessive amount of external validation.

    But what’s even worse is that we’re typically scared of the opinion of people we don’t know personally, and have never seen in our lives. And if we’re that anxious about what another person thinks of us, then it’s impossible to get anything done, or to achieve something of value.

    We must learn to be ourselves, regardless of what others think of our behavior. If you act authentically, then the right people will automatically stay, while those you don’t want in your existence anyway will sort themselves out by leaving you altogether on their own accord.

  9. Too concentrated on material wealth

    Image of a man growing a tree on top of his coins, indicating that he's looking to grow his material wealth.

    Material wealth is seemingly the only thing that matters to most folks today. And while we need money because it gives access to resources in order to survive in modern society, it’s certainly not the only thing that gives life meaning.

    There’s an endless amount of evidence that it’s not the only thing that matters since millionaires, and even billionaires are getting depressed by the dozen while having all the money in the world they’ll ever need to sustain themselves.

    We’ve become more selfish, less empathic, and been taught to be self-sufficient by chasing money. Unfortunately, you can’t buy happiness, although it can aid for sure since it’s extremely challenging to be content when you’ve got all these extra difficulties popping up because you have too little money.

  10. Everything needs to be fun

    There’s too much emphasis on enjoyment, and the fact that everything needs to be fun these days. It’s perfectly normal to seek out pleasure, and that we want to do the things that we love, rather than carrying out the stuff we dislike.

    Still, that’s not how life’s set up. Sometimes we need to do the things we dislike before, or because it’s a part of something we do enjoy. For example, you might enjoy boxing, but not doing all the cardio that’s required to get through training or fight. Still, you’ll need to do things you don’t enjoy from time to time in order to become better at that thing you do enjoy, and because those things can be essential to do well in life.

    Going to work, working out to be healthy, and not eating certain delicious foods to stay in shape isn’t always fun, nor something we wish to do. Yet, it’s necessarily to maintain our wellbeing and to survive.

  11. Life has become too easy

    A black and white illustration of a man with the words “too easy” written next to him.

    Due to the increase in technology such as the internet, artificial intelligence, and because times are relatively safe in most places, life has become almost too easy as a result.

    But easy times create weak men, while tough times create strong men. And even though times are great when everything’s going well, that doesn’t lead to growth since there’s no incentive to improve.

    While we generally dislike struggle and painful events, they’re also necessary to grow as human beings, and to become more capable in the process.

  12. Unable to delay gratification

    Being able to delay gratification is required if we want to achieve anything worthwhile since good things rarely come easily. We’ll have to work hard, put in a lot of hours, and apply our common sense if we wish to attain our dreams and goals.

    But we’re less capable of delaying gratification than our ancestors. We need to be immediately rewarded, or we lose interest, or won’t pursue that given thing anymore. As a consequence, our concentration, and discipline, have greatly waned. Which makes it even harder to go after something for a longer period of time.

    And while our senses desire, and even crave to be satisfied instantly, that would simply make us a slave to our senses. But people are more than that if they’re capable of, and willing to discipline themselves while learning to control their impulses. For instance, if we were to eat unhealthy food every time we were hungry, or feeling sad, then we wouldn’t remain healthy, nor in shape. Eventually, it would end in debauchery and disaster.

  13. Little respect for each other

    Since there’s such an increased focus on individualism, and doing well for ourselves, it’s gotten to the point where the only person that’s important is ourselves, while absolutely disregarding the rest of the population.

    There’s nothing wrong with chasing after your own goals and dreams, but it doesn’t hurt to be respectful and caring about the issues and wellbeing of those around us. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice to each other, and it helps brighten each other’s day.

    Intentionally hurting the feelings, property, or physical wellbeing of our peers isn’t respectful in the slightest, and just reveals a weak, juvenile character. Yet, that’s considered “popular”, “tough”, and even “normal” at times.

  14. Not trusting each other

    I do agree that we shouldn’t trust everyone blindly, or at the slightest whim. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is out to get you, nor that there’s no one worthy of our trust and respect.

    You should absolutely be capable of trusting your best friends and loving family. And if you can’t, then you’re in dire need of some new company that you can confide in, and that actually want the best for you.

    If people’s hidden agenda is to use you for their purposes, while disregarding your safety and health, then you’re better off without them. That’s why we need to learn to figure out someone’s real intentions.

    It does hurt to let go of the people we love, but sometimes, we simply have no choice other than letting go of those that we found out to not be as caring and trustworthy as we thought they were.

  15. Too easy to spread false information

    Image of someone holding a newspaper reading, 'fake news' as the heading.

    Since this technological revolution, and because everything has to be equal these days, it’s never been easier than now to spread false information. Either intentionally, or because they’re misinformed.

    Just consider all the wrong information that gets shared via the internet on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, for instance. It’s riddled with data that’s straight up factually wrong, yet shared with such confidence that most don’t even question its validity.

    Yet, that’s what you should always do. Employ critical thinking skills while thinking for yourself, even if it is coming from a trusted and reputable source. People are not infallible, and can still make mistakes, even if they want the best for others.

  16. Everyone gets to voice their opinion

    While it’s technically good, and a sign of a well functioning democracy that everyone gets to voice their opinion, it has some downsides as well.

    Before, straight up wrong, hateful, and ignorant comments and opinions didn’t have a chance to be spread into the world, got filtered out, or people simply didn’t pay any attention to those thoughts.

    But fast-forward to our current timeline, and even the most ignorant, or straight up toxic of people can attract a crowd of like-minded individuals by sharing their ideas on the internet. This makes it so easy for them to connect, and to stick together.

    That’s why I consider it to be everyone’s duty to tell the truth, and to point out wrongs, and straight up lies. If not, society will devolve even further, without people being capable of knowing what’s true, and what’s not. And we totally need to be able of basing ourselves on the objective truth in addition to empirical evidence to get the best results.

Sexism in today's society

The male and female sex sign next to each other with the quote, “sexism is discrimination and hatred against a certain sex” written above it.

I believe that sexism is less of an issue in today’s society than it has ever been before.

I’m not saying that women never face discriminatory behavior, or sexist actions or attitudes, but so do men. And it’s simply wrong to generalize, and punish all men or women for the despicable actions of a small percentage of their gender.

And while women may very well face said behavior more often than men, I do believe that women get away with exhibiting the same, or similar actions way more frequently than men.

Women are accepted in the workplace, and are free to pursue every career path that they so desire. Sure, certain jobs such as engineering, working construction, and electricians are considered primarily career paths for men. But so are jobs such as nursing, kindergarten teacher, and secretaries considered mainly career paths for women that’s dominated by females.

And that’s not even a bad thing, because women and men have different personalities and preferences at the average. As a consequence, both genders typically desire a different line of work.

Even more, the popular myth that’s the pay gap has been debunked for a long time already. Yet, many folks refuse to accept it since it doesn’t fit their personal narrative, or because they’re straight up ignorant.

Social issues in today's society

  1. Substance Abuse

    Image of someone's hand pouring whiskey in glasses.

    One of the most common social issues in today’s society is substance abuse. Consuming too much alcohol, or other drugs such as cocaine and weed, for that matter, are prevalent in our modern world because they’re so easy to acquire these days.

    Needless to say, that’s incredibly dangerous for the other citizens since they inhibit impulse control, logical thinking, and coordination. That’s why drunk driving, or getting into fights while intoxicated is such a danger. Not only for yourself, but for the rest of society as well.

  2. Discrimination

    Even though there’s less discrimination these days since people are more open-minded than before, and we’ve become a lot more mindful of what we think and say, discrimination is still not entirely eliminated. To be fair, it will probably never be totally gone since bad and ignorant folks will always exist.

    Women have become fully integrated into the workforce, there’s less racial discrimination happening, and male and female pay is equal if they’re doing the same job equally well.

  3. Violence

     

    Image of a man being pulled through the television.

    While we do have rules in place to reduce violence and to punish offenders of our human rights, there’s still vile things happening such as wars, rape, and armed robberies.

    Nevertheless, I do think that life’s become safer than before, and that there’s much less hostility going on due to our current regulations that protects its citizens. It’s true that some places will be more dangerous than others, and that are potentially even getting more unsafe as time goes on.

    But as a whole, I think we’re doing a fine job decreasing aggression. Still, we should educate all citizens on ethics such as respect, equal rights, and that everyone can have their own opinion, even if it’s different from ours.

  4. Inequality

    I don’t believe in equality of outcome since everyone has different capabilities that are limited by our genetics, but I do believe in equality of opportunity. And that’s still not always being met in today’s world.

    Yet, it’s critical that everyone gets the same amount of chances since that would benefit not only the individual, but also society as a collective since each person becomes more competent, and gets to do what they enjoy.

    And when people get to practice what they like and care about is when they will deliver the best quality, and be most productive. Just because everyone has different strengths and weaknesses doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the right to choose what to attempt, and what to pursue.

  5. Homelessness

     

    Image of a homeless man carrying a sign saying, “seeking human kindness.”

    In some places, homelessness is still a severe issue that needs to get resolved. And giving everyone opportunities to improve their existence and to gain the required money to buy a home is certainly part of the solution.

    But we can’t simply leave those who are unfortunate out on the street. They deserve shelter just the same as we do, as it’s a human right to have access to housing.

    It is true that they need to be willing to accept help, and to actively improve their lives too. But it’s hard to get into a better position if you don’t get the needed opportunities to take advantage of.

  6. Climate change

    To be totally honest, I don’t know all that much about the climate change. I don’t have much knowledge of how much worse it’s gotten in recent years, and if it’s entirely the way it’s painted in the media.

    Yet, it’s essential that we maintain a healthy world, and we should acknowledge that the glaciers and sea ice melting combined with carbon dioxide and other gas emissions raising temperatures isn’t a good thing for the climate.

    It’s something that we need to figure out, especially in our current time when our technological capabilities have, and continue to evolve so rapidly and exponentially. We shouldn’t destroy the world since it’s a requirement for us, and other lifeforms to even exist.

  7. Overpopulation

     

    Illustration depicting how overpopulation will lead to people falling off the earth.

    Overpopulation is another concern because we’ll run into troubles when the human population rises too much so that it surpasses the capacity of the ecological setting to provide to our environment.

    While the world population is still growing, it’s at a slower pace than before. This decreased amount of growth is mainly due to fertility declining in multiple countries.

    It’s logical that we’re weary of overpopulation since that would lead to chaos and hunger since our capacity to provide all citizens with food and shelter would be exceeded.

  8. Poverty

    Poverty is a historical difficulty that’s seemingly impossible to settle. And that’s due to multiple reasons, and not just because they’ve been unlucky, or didn’t get any opportunities, although that can most certainly be the case in many instances.

    It also has many other causes such as how skilled we are, the amount of chances we get, whether we want to work or not, if we’re smart enough, if we’re willing to work ourselves up in the hierarchy, …

    But we still need to try to reduce, and eliminate poverty entirely. Not just for the sake of those living in poor conditions, but also to reduce violence, and to give everyone equal chances.

  9. Racial injustice

     

    Illustration of a black and white man embracing each other with, “European action week against racism” written underneath it.

    We’ve made huge strides regarding racial injustice in the last century, although I don’t doubt that racial injustice such as racism and discrimination is still happening in many areas.

    I can’t speak for every place in the world, but those who are discriminating based on skin color or place of origin are far and few in between where I live, and luckily so. I’ve always found it incredibly foolish to judge someone based on where they were born, or what color their skin is.

    It’s up to everyone to promote equality of opportunity, regardless of gender, skin color, and place of origin.

  10. Exploitation

    Exploitation means being unfairly taken advantage of by someone else. While it is wretched, it’s something that has always happened in the world by bad people, and that’s no different today.

    Sure, there are certain rules in place that prevent, or limit the amount of exploitation occurring, but we all know that there are those who circumvent the rules, or those who stand above the law.

    And while nobody stands above the law technically, reality is often very different. Those with power, or money, which is also power in a sense in our materialistic society, usually get away with more than those who are poor, or have no social status.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Is our society broken?

Illustration of a man sitting uncomfortable in the middle of a crowd that's looking at their phones.

A lot of people from all across the world believe that the system is broken, according to a global study performed by Ipsos.

Whether our society is broken or not depends on our personal interpretation, yet there are certain indicators that society is falling apart such as the general lack of respect, empathy, cooperation, being intentionally misled, and poor parenting becoming more prevalent.

Of course, this is generalizing specific issues, because certainly not everyone is a bad parent, not respectful, not empathetic, and so on.

Do we live in a sick society?

Some argue that we do live in a sick society, while others say we don’t. But important to note is that it’s no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Our modern society has a lot of good things going for it such as incredibly improved technology, better healthcare, and living in a safer environment.

But having more resources at our disposal doesn’t mean that society is getting better as a whole. We’re often far too obsessed with chasing money, clout, engaging in debauchery, while being willing to forego everything to get it. We’re willing to be disrespectful, forego empathy, and even our own values and beliefs to get what we want.

But isn’t it sick that we’re willing to give up everything that makes up our character just to gain some power, fame, or money? I think it is.

Is it normal to be sick of modern society?

Black and white illustration showing what's wrong with modern society.

It’s normal to be tired of modern society, or at least from certain aspects of it, since there are multiple things wrong with today’s society.

The blatant lack of respect and empathy for each other combined with the degradation of values, ethics, and self-respect is enough to break even the most mentally tough-minded individuals to become sick and tired of our current society.

Again, this is a generalization, since not everything is bad, nor is everything going poorly. But we’re constantly being bombarded by stimuli and information from all over the world by technological revelations such as the television, news, and the internet.

That why our senses become overloaded more easily than our previous generations, without much capability to prevent all that data from invading our personal space in this modern society.

Final note

Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

While there are most certainly some critical issues in today’s society, it’s not as bad as some people portray it to be.

Yet, I feel like meaningful values such as our morals, ethics, respect, and empathy are degrading.

That’s enough reason for worry, since these are the foundations for a cooperative, and peaceful society. I recommend everyone to improve themselves, while keeping themselves from exhibiting disgusting behavior at the same time.