Why do we spend so much time wishing for someone else’s life? Why are we so paralyzed by the things that we don’t have? Why do discontent and worry have a firm grip on us?
I blame Disney. With all its fairy tales where evil always loses to good; where dreaming and hoping always bear fruit as long you keep on believing; where young girls are taught to depend on the coming of the prince charming while wasting every second of their lives daydreaming; where young boys are taught that only those with the looks, the armor, the castle and the horses should do the venturing and the leading.
I blame the superhero movies that I love; where the fate of the world lies often on one man or a small group of individuals with superpowers; where we’re taught that we need extraordinary circumstances to be able to make a difference (get bit by a radioactive spider, be born from a different planet, be ultra rich); where it’s suggested that normal people should stand aside, scream and panic, as the mighty ones do all the work.
I blame the Reality-TV industry. I’ll throw-in show business as a whole as well. They teach us that anyone can be popular and glamorous; that if we keep auditioning, we too can be the next star; that as long as we devour all the beauty products that they sell, we too will eventually be discovered. They propose that as long as we stay beautiful, fabulous and visible— things will turn out OK. They present themselves no longer as entertainers but as the ultimate solution to poverty and hopelessness.
I blame politicians. They always promise to end ancient problems but often end up causing new ones instead; who present themselves as the ultimate solution but reveal later that they have short-term memories; who will indeed implement projects but for their own future campaigns; who will take the hope of the people but give little back to them.
I also blame those irresponsible Tele-Evangelists. Particularly those that preach solely the Gospel of Prosperity. Those who claim that hardships and difficulties are not meant for the genuine believers of Christ; who preach that for as long as we have faith, our businesses will prosper; who say that for as long as we “pay” our tithes and offerings to their movements, the Lord will always “return our investments” beyond our imagination (I wonder what they were thinking when the recession came in 2008?). They who claim that they can command the Holy Spirit of God. Who show as if they can “shoot” blessing from their hands; who then wear expensive suits, ride luxury cars, personal planes and go on spending sprees— all for the “glory of God”.
All these and more give us discontent. They pressure us to come up with a solution that will make all our troubles go away— or be labelled boring or unblessed. These suggest that money, fame and power will solve all problems. If only we could just break-free from the prison that we’re in. If only we could escape…
But what is real? Your life is real. Your problems are real. Your job, no matter how meager it is, is real.
End of Part 1.