In my last last post about a former North Korean prisoner, I talked about how it was maybe not that bad if everybody were to experience what he went through. Today, I will go deeper.
There’s a very big irony that I find in dreams, such as the American dream. In the stereotypical American Dream, a poor person hopes to settle in America, find a job, bring his poor family over, and establish great prosperity for later generations. However, it takes years of hard work, pain, prejudice, and suffering for this poor person to achieve his goal. He hopes that in the end, it will pay off not for himself, but for future descendants.
Yet, the irony is here: usually it will not pay off. In fact, although it will make his descendants physically and emotionally more well off, it will morally deteriorate the future generations. Why? Because as these descendants are living the high life and enjoying the success of their forebears, they do not understand the hard work that got them this high life. Rather, they take it for granted, and thus become more taking and more unappreciative and more wasteful and more spoiled.
Perhaps we can put this in a larger scale, say the country of the USA. Before America was ever established, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and all those rights were unheard of. To many people around the world, that was like being able to go to heaven guaranteed. When America was founded and the Constitution created, for the first time such things existed. The first American colonists didn’t take this for granted. They cheered for it, and they were content with it.
Yet, we then began to see a shift in attitude as those former colonists died off and their descendants lived on. First, we begin to see discontent with the government. People begin demanding for more rights, more change, when they should already be happy with what millions of people didn’t (and still don’t) have. We also see these descendants becoming more spoiled and more morally corrupt. For instance, when the first immigrants came through Ellis Island, these American descendants started prejudicing against them, thinking they were taking away jobs. What happened to them remembering about free rights for everybody? About how their forebears were just like those immigrants seeking for a new life in America?
Obviously, the problem shows: these descendants took these rights for granted, and thus became more un-content and more morally degraded. The former colonists didn’t, because they had been through the suffering and realized how lucky they were to even receive these constitutional rights. The posterity didn’t go through the suffering and thus were unhappy on not receiving more.
One can apply this to my generation- teenagers today, in America. I do admit that we are taking things for granted every time. That we are lazy, corrupt, and don’t realize suffering around the world unless it’s in our faces. For example, I don’t like eating most vegetables. That just shows that I’m taking my privilege to eat any kind of food I want for granted, because many children out there in the world don’t have my luxury and in fact don’t have any food at all. However, I am so spoiled to the extent that I don’t see this food pickiness as a luxury. Obviously, I have just shown my spoiledness. And why is this? Because I haven’t been through the suffering that my mother, grandmother, and ancestors went to allow me to have this kind of luxury. (In fact, my mother was homeless before for most of her childhood.)
Simply the solution is that everybody should have to suffer at least once in their life. Not the easy kind of suffering, such as mourning for a dead relative, but rather, the suffering of a starving kid in Africa, the suffering of living in nature by yourself, the suffering of that former North Korean prisoner. If everybody were to go through this and follow it, we all would be more appreciative of everything around us.
Unfortunately, we are also spoiled to the extent that we are not willing to take up this challenge. Therefore, my forecast: the human generation will become more spoiled and spoiled as life for everybody gets better and better (due to technology and science) and thus everybody gets more greedy and greedy and thus we will use up all the resources of the Earth without taking any thought of conserving it and of the hard work of previous generations. (And please, don’t give me that eco-friendly sh-t, because we will still be using up resources, either way.) Once all the resources are gone, then the human race would have realized that they took things for granted too much. But it’s too late, and so end of the world.