It is my belief that humans are humans no matter where you go. So, when people say, for instance, “These kids today, they are more selfish than we were”, I believe that to be false. I think that there is an ultimate limit of selfishness that a human being can achieve and, except in certain laboratory conditions, it cannot be overcome.
Believe me, I have tried. And, to be fair, so has Kanye West, who is to the unsurpassable limit of selfishness what Einstein was to the speed of light.
When I try to launch an accurate guess at the ratio selfish to selfless acts I have performed in the last week, I can only think of a half dozen or so that were truly meant to help others. Now, granted, as a hermit who shuns most non-outdoor-sports-related interaction, my needs are the only needs to serve around Manland. Not that I’m that much more considerate when living with someone else. Sorry, Cheryl!
Ah, I’ve just remembered I held a door for someone at the coffee shop. That counts, right?
To take another angle, I also hear people say when I suggest cycling as a means of exercise to them, “Oh no, I couldn’t… the drivers here are just horrible!”
They may indeed be horrible, but surely no more or less horrible than drivers in Atlanta. How could they be? They are talking and texting as they drive on the same cell phones Atlanta drivers are.
This is sometimes counter-intuitive, I admit. Aren’t kids exposed to a much wider array of filth these days than I was as a kid? That I can’t say. I remember having access to nudey magazines pretty much as soon as I was old enough to be interested in girls without their clothes.
There was an underground ring of nudey magazines circulating our neighborhoods and schools, as I recall. We put them in plastic bags and buried them in back yards and vacant lots, or hid them in tree forts. Somehow I got my hand on a copy of “Oui” that was neither faded by the sun nor loaded with dirt from being buried, and it was my most treasured possession until I got an electric guitar.
Now that I think of it, I only remember ever buying one nude magazine in my life. I was heading out of town to play a gig in Chattanooga, TN and I spotted what I considered to be a particularly ridiculously-titled example, so I bought it and presented it to my fellow musicians in the van as a centerpiece of discussion and learned debate. It was well received at the time, but at the end of the trip no one wanted to be the one to claim it.
No one wanted to be the one so interested in its contents that they would actually pick it up and take it home, so a very public display of throwing it away as a group had to be made.
I don’t really know what it is like to be a kid today, with all the new things there are to see and do thanks to the internet, but I do think that everyone is going to be okay as long as they keep their wits about them.
Thank goodness we have someone like Kanye West out there to push the boundaries, so that we normal folks can gain perspective.
He is a pioneer!