Right. I think this is going to be a bit of a rant.
So I was just looking at stuff on Pinterest, as you do when you should be doing, oh, I don’t know, anything else, and I saw this thing with little tips to organize your life.
Most of them seemed pretty boring (eg. Use bread bag clips to label your cables. “OMG! This will change my life!”), but there was one that was how to get the elevator to go where you want without stopping at other floors. (I’m not telling you how. I’m sure you can find it if you feel you need to.)
This just made me think, “What makes you so special?” Elevators are meant to be shared. They were not put in for your private use. (Unless they were. If you are that person, go ahead and ignore this post.) And yes, sharing an elevator means that sometimes it stops on other people’s floors. It’s called living in society. Deal with it. If you’re late, that is your problem for not planning better. It doesn’t give you the right to hold up other people.
It just came off as incredibly selfish to me. And I think that got me going because I feel like I’ve been noticing that general attitude a lot lately. The how-can-I-make-my-life-easier-or-better-or-whatever attitude, which isn’t bad in itself, but it is when it’s prioritizing that without thinking about how these minor improvements in convenience to you affect other people.
I’m not perfect or innocent in this — I know it — but I try to be aware of the effects of my actions and to adjust accordingly. What concerns me is that I seem to see a lot of people cutting out this consideration-for-others step in their decision-making. So a) they’re probably hurting or at least annoying other people, but more importantly b) they — and by extension we as a society — are becoming less empathetic and caring as a whole.
And there are so many lip service type things we can do to make it look like we care, but maybe don’t actually say anything about what we’ve become inside. Yeah, we recycle and don’t use plastic bags. Good for us. But we don’t know the names of our next-door neighbours and instead of holding the door open for that person running for the elevator, we just hit the close button instead and then did some little code thing we saw on the internet so we wouldn’t have to share it with anyone else.
Honestly, I’m not a big reader of the news. I skim it to be aware of what’s going on, but what’s going on is pretty damn bleak, and I can only take my news in small doses. But I wonder if maybe all the crap we see out there is a direct result of the basic lack of empathy that seems to be everywhere. Maybe whatever lets a person shut an elevator door in someone’s face is the same something, or the same lack of something, that lets some other person think it’s ok to go into a public place and shoot a bunch of people because they’re feeling wronged.
I know that sounds like a big jump, but maybe it isn’t. Civilization is an artificial construct. It is dependent on people agreeing to follow certain rules so we can all live together. I worry a bit that we’ve started only following those rules by the letter and that maybe we’re losing the spirit behind them. And I worry a lot about what this might mean for our future.