THE BRAZIL TIMES EDITORIAL: It seems nobody wants to change the world

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

-- Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader

Positive and negative thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies, which means our expectations impact our world around us.

We all want to see the good in the world. The problem is things don't appear to be too bright in the future.

Stories about foreclosures, unemployment, homelessness, violent crime, child abuse and domestic violence are overwhelming. Kind of hard to think of what is good around us sometimes.

If we'd known as children that growing up would be like this, do you think we'd have rushed to become adults so fast?

Maybe that explains why so many of the younger generation don't want to work or be responsible for their own lives. They're inundated with so much negative images in entertainment, lyrics in music and probably through their social interactions that it is probably easier to remain negative than try to strive to be better.

Remember those "what's wrong" picture puzzles when we were children; the ones where you had to find anomalies? Pointing out what was wrong was fun then.

Let us play a surreal version of that childhood game:

What is wrong with the following mental picture?

A person standing in line at the grocery store with a cart load of soft drinks, junk food and microwaveable, processed food taking a selfie on an iPad and ordering the cashier to get them a carton of cigarettes while paying with food stamps.

It is an image that is all too real in many communities.

How about another one.

An elderly person sips a cup of coffee at a restaurant booth huddled inside a tattered coat in the farthest corner away from people because it has been a while since they were able to take a hot shower or wash their laundry. They are too proud to seek out help, and no one seems to care anyway.

Today priorities are mixed up on so many levels.

Yes we could be angry at the person in the grocery store. But if you look again you notice that no one has apparently influenced them in a positive way. No one showed them how to be responsible with their spending habits, their health, or taught them how to cook. Who was there to teach or encourage them to strive for more, to be better?

As for the elderly person, the hard truth is many of them are being forgotten; left alone for days on end with no one to talk to or care about them.

Is it really too much to just stop, take a moment to smile and say "hello" or "have a nice day?"

Respect and common courtesy are slipping away from our society as we close ourselves off into the electronic glow of technology. People who are in need of even the simplest guidance or kindness are left alone.

It's a very clear message in our society that for many it is easier to criticize than to step up and do something about a problem.

Understanding how we perceive ourselves in relation to the rest of the world and how this perception affects our choices, behaviors and beliefs is important.

It seems nobody wants to change the world.

They don't want to start a revolution or make the world a better place by reaching out to others - to be humane.

With the exception of a select few, most of the time it seems people are content to just get by with enough money to buy macaroni and cheese and to make sure the power and the internet are on so the computer works.

Individually it's hard to change the world, but when we work together by making small adjustments within our own lives it's a positive step forward. A good place to start is to stop automatically assuming everything is wrong in the world. It's one small step, but it's a huge step forward that this world needs now.