There is a general shallowness taking over society.

This is indeed a very bold and sweeping statement and I venture to say that it will be difficult to refute it, especially in the modern west, maybe even globally.  This becomes apparent (at least to me and a number of others) in conversations between people, advertising, letters to newspapers, twitter and facebook updates, box office successes and the extreme attention to appearances. It becomes apparent in what we think has value and priority in our lives.

Recently I have been struggling with this statement, asking myself how I am influenced by this trend, what is the cause(s) thereof and if possible how to counter act it. I concluded two, definitely not the only, reasons for this trend. The first cause I think is the emphasis we place on our individual independence. The second cause, in my opinion, is the lack of discipline that flows from the first cause.

Holding individual independence as the benchmark for maturity and success disconnects us from our environment, our community and from accountability all in one swift paradigm shift. I, become my own judge, jury and executioner. I decide what is right, I decide on an action based on what is right and I act on it. With a singular opinion it is therefore not important to be accountable to others; rather accountability is now solely to my own needs and wants and how to meet them.

With a loss of accountability we also lose the need for discipline. Discipline used defined as training that corrects, moulds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character through a rule that governs activity. The moment individual independence is the benchmark for maturity and success there is no need for to better mental faculties or moral character and especially not in obedience to an external rule that governs. In independence, the “I” has already arrived at a place where both mental faculties and moral character are observed to be an authority on Life.

This authority on Life has thus been achieved by a subjective, singular opinion rather than the discipline of thought and silence, of living in-environment and in-community. The end result is that shallowness creeps into our daily living unnoticed. We rather talk about the weather, the last celebrity sex-video scandal, yesterday’s soap opera drama or, if we touch on an important issue, we are as vague and non-committal as possible. Tolerance becomes the keyword in our approach to others to ensure that they have the same approach to us in order to avoid mayor conflict in a world where everyone is entitled to their individual independence and singular opinion.

I think, taking into account the global economic and even bigger environmental crisis, it is time to dive deep, to find new approaches and re-evaluate paradigms. Without change we will find ourselves overcome by a tsunami whilst playing in the warm shallow water of indifference. How do we do this? I would suggest developing a rule of life in relationship with the environment and the community whilst searching for the underlying Mystery that binds it all together.

I will continue with these thoughts in a next porting that will focus on developing a rule of life.