Times change and with them, ourselves. Yet as circumstances change with increasing rapidity, our conceptual framework – how we view these circumstances often lags behind. Aging systems may suffice for a time, but like the frog in a slow boiling pot, we can find our lack of response to these changes becoming inappropriate, even harmful. We must remember to constantly reassess and, when our daily experience reflects a new reality, accept that new rules may be required.
No doubt, modern times have brought countless conveniences and access to organic quinoa, water-proof headphones, and personal Tasers™ seem to have lulled us into thinking that life in general is getting better. Yet is this true, or have we simply been anaesthetized to what would be otherwise, beyond endurance?
Our practiced reaction is to bear indignities quietly, consign ourselves to an unalterable reality, shut down our emotions and abide. Yet despite our stoic forbearance of the frustrations, impositions, and degradations of our times, the human spirit cries out for more.
Consider air travel. Once, one could expect courteous service, complimentary food, refreshments and entertainment. Now, travellers are herded through nude imaging, stripped of their toothpaste and sold detestable alimentary goods before being left with the garbage to sit in their laps for the remainder of the cramped flight. If you are like me, the flight is spent in a wistful reverie; of assuming the crash position and slamming into a mountain.
Who hasn’t looked despairingly at our corrupted political system or our duplicitous public servants and wished for an end to it all? Who hasn’t endured a dim relative’s invective at the moral shortcomings of another’s faith or nationality, or been forced to sit through an HR presentation? These are times when many stare blankly out of windows, hoping an asteroid might be hurtling nearby.
Crazed road ragers, blind minivan dimwits, handicap parking impostors, fast-lane poodlers; the hell of vehicles alone could fill this page.
Strings of obese, out-of-state tourists stretched across the width of the sidewalk, lumbering along while dozens angle behind them, searching for an opportunity to pass. Potholes, anal leakage, Rush Limbaugh, feline leukemia. It simply. never. ends.
A linear view of history sees civilization continually moving forward, improving on the old, discarding the irrelevant and while there are setbacks; the overall effect is of a gradual and relentless improvement in our lives.
But while shiny new “goods” are produced, rarely is attention paid to the “bads” that are produced alongside them. We laud cars, but ignore air pollution. Plastics bring convenience, but we forget the landfills. We see hip-huggers but not the muffin-tops.
But just as surely as technological advances make our lives easier, so their unintended consequences make life worse. How much can a society take? How long can we poison the well before we realize it’s become a cesspool?
It can be said that a civilization has reached its peak, when the accumulated “bads” exceed their attendant “goods” and in our case, that point has long since past. Now, global environmental devastation is measured against commuting from the exurbs and genocide is weighed against portable email.
Indeed, death is now arguably preferable to much of modern life both for those who endure the shortcomings of others and for those who, oblivious to the world around them, make everyone’s life a waking nightmare.
More and more frequently these days, suicide is greeted with less the sense of “Tragic Loss” and more a resigned “I don’t blame you”. Still, this is merely a one-sided, victim’s solution. What is needed is something that works both ways. What we need, is a program that confronts this problem head-on.
Justifiable Homicide. Could it be a service?
I submit that less an immoral infringement on an individual’s right to life and self-determination, homicide could be a favour to everyone involved. The negatives dispatched would certainly improve the world left behind, while the annoying and oblivious were only suffering anyway. This is a clear win-win.
Sure legal eagles will squawk about consent but the point goes beyond regulatory details. What’s important is never again being forced to masticate 40$ veal within earshot of a squealing 5 month-old and his selfish progenitors, when what we really have on our minds, is murder. It could be on the menu! “Waitress! I’d like another scotch and also, please drown the baby”. Imagine for a moment the possibilities. Coffee shop speakerphone strangulations and escalator hesitation stabbings might be messy at first, but over time, the deterrent effect would likely reduce the incidence. And we’d all be living happier, rage-reduced lives.
With the correct safety procedures in place, relief from the hell that has become our lives could become a reality. Granted, it’s a change and a big one. But remember; once, bedding the older sister before the younger was the law; now, more of a recommendation.
A time may come when we as a society look back, wondering how we endured such misery. Our future, more-advanced selves may pity us for our perseverance. Possibly, they may respect us for it. Regardless, we have done enough. We have made every effort. We have not taken the easy way out. It’s time to allow ourselves to see a new way, and pursue a new tack.
We no longer need to resign ourselves to seething, wide-eyed at the ceiling in the middle of the night as our neighbour’s car alarm drones uselessly on. The alarm will not save the Volvo. The Volvo needs to go. And so does the neighbour. The future demands it.