Fulfilled desire an antidote to chaos

Published 22/11, 2018 at 15:06

To link a little bit to Julie White's column on this page, I unfortunately think that mental illness is a growing problem today, not only in the construction industry, but in many other businesses as well and among people in general.

Living today in the 21st century, a significantly larger proportion of the world's population lives relatively well materially, especially when compared to say 100 years ago. But we have never been as unhappy as we are now. I have no exact scientific research to support this, but it is often something you read about, or hear in media or social media.

100 years ago, I think the requirements on the individual were not as high as we experience today. We were not bombarded through media and social media about how we should look and live. The ideal was lower, and people at that time were more focused on the minutiae of daily life. Today, large parts of the world's population, and not just the western world, do not have to strive just to survive, so have more free time to worry about things that are relatively unimportant. In large parts of the western world this has gradually led to rather introverted thinking, with young people especially spending an enormous amount of time being fixated with their physical appearance, doing and saying the right thing socially and professionally.

This is, for many young people, is not a flitting fancy, as the demands coming from the outside world have increased significantly, with fashions and trends changing rapidly. At the same time, especially in what we term to be the ‘west’, we have also gained a more liberal view of society and how we live. In most countries today it is a human right to live, speak, enjoy and be as you are, and this is how things should be. But sometimes it could be argued that things have gone too far. I recently heard that in Brazil it has been suggested by some politicians, that only at the age of 10 should a person’s gender be officially determined. I have every respect for the fact that each person should have the right to determine their own sexuality, and decide for themselves what gender they identify with, but feel this Brazilian proposal is extremely controversial.

This desire for openness has also created social counter revolutions, which have been a cause of many conflicts in the world. The war in the Middle East, the Arab Spring, and the refugee crisis have also stirred up emotions and launched forces that we in Europe believed we left behind us. All these together, combined with a world where the edges are blurred, also creates uncertainty and lack of direction in life for many; a world in chaos if you wish.

Above all, it is the young men who feel the worst today, if we are to believe the Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson. He states that many young men whom he meets lack a clear direction in life, and in short term goal achievement, finding little meaning. There is also a desire for greater clarity as to how to live, and for what purpose to strive for. This scenario is quite tragic, but I'm not sure this is totally correct, as Peterson has received a great deal of criticism for his views, and has been considered provocative in many political circles, especially amongst feminist commentators. Peterson claims, however, that he is not provocative but rather the opposite. He explains how things are related to scientific studies mixed with his own opinions. Peterson's adherents, who are growing in number, say that Peterson clearly expresses what many people think, and very much what he preaches is about common sense, which in today's society is often forgotten.

Peterson often refers to the Ten Commandments as a good start to a sensible life, and he relates to the commandments a great deal in his own book, ‘12 Rules of Life - An Antidote to Chaos’. In any case, whatever your own views, I believe that in order to try to deal with the increasing amounts of mental illness, the fulfilment of the desire for a meaning in life, which many people long for, has to be fulfilled.

Jan Hermansson

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