Is society fraying at the edges?

Life is a choice. You can see the colour, the nuanced beauty in all, the diversity of creation and the magic.

Or, you see everything in just black and white

Within the walls of a turreted castle in the east German state of Thuringia a disparate group of plotters including a judge, a celebrity cook, a prince, and a former general of an elite army unit planned seizure before Christmas this year of the country’s parliament and replace modern Germany’s political structures with a monarchical Reich with a king at its head.

In the past, the fringe group of “Reichsburger” fanatics was at the receiving end of jokes but the country’s security services were sufficiently concerned that they launched one of the biggest security raids involving several thousand police raids on more than two dozen properties. All the plotters will now be spending Christmas behind bars.

What makes well-educated, upper-middle-class people lose the plot?

Most western countries are having to deal with rising populist movements that question the very foundations of democratic norms and values. Meanwhile in Russia “Tsar” Vladimir Putin decides to invade one of the world’s major breadbaskets plunging much of the Third World into a food crisis, an energy price shock in all the major economies and the largest refugee crisis in central Europe since the end of World War II.

The pandemic and its repercussions have only compounded the underlying currents that come with major economic and social changes that we are seeing in much of western society. Communities, institutions and beliefs that have stood rock solid for centuries are seemingly fraying at the edges.

Family and community

From the end of the 1950s we have seen a growing emphasis on individuation as opposed to community. Personal expression, freedom of movement and living one’s life purpose to the full has come at the expense of the individual being subservient to the needs of the community, the group or the family as a whole. It has come on the tailwinds of the harmonious 1950s family unit being exposed as the myth it always was. Women were largely disempowered and forced to service large babyboomer families. A revolt was inevitable. Young women were at the forefront of the 1960s anti-establishment movement. Divorce, multiple patchwork families, same-sex marriages are on the one hand commonplace but also deeply disoncerting to fundamentalists. Women are mostly the first to end a dysfunctional relationship. It is very often the male part of a relationship that refuses to change from the traditional role model and pursue a path of self-development and reflection.

Photo by Krizjohn Rosales on Pexels.com

The male identity crisis

Young women are far outpacing their male counterparts on all levels starting from school achievement to successful career paths while men form by far the largest group affected by addiction, mental health problems, homelessness and violent crime. Especially during puberty young men are in need of fathers stepping up to their role in providing structure and orientation. Sadly, this is mostly not the case with the “absent father” playing a major role in the mental health problems of young men who seek orientation in the antiquated gun-slinging “heroic” male figureheads that we find in extremist movements and computer war games.

What you feed your mind with you become

The Internet has revolutionised our world and opened up unlimited communication and new job opportunities. The downside is that it has also scuttled many traditional industries including the local and regional newspaper that was a platform of diverse debate and different opinion. Social media, especially Twitter, has become a platform for grievance culture and confirmation bias. Automated Google algorithms feed us with what we want to read, confirming existing views and biased opinion. We live in information silos. What we feed our mind with we become. And what we notice is that a lot of unhappy people are becoming more unhappy and discontented from what they read and hear. A large portion of the daily information intake is designed to appeal to negative emotions of hate, lust, and greed. Good news just doesn’t sell.

The spiritual disconnect and the crisis of religious institutions

For centuries religion has told us how to behave and what to believe, citing divine will. Much of religion and the priesthood suppressed and separated religion from spirituality. Sexual misconduct and abuse has exposed the hypocrisy and alienated millions of faithful from what they perceived as their spiritual home. The spiritual disconnect and the crisis of the religious institutions has led to countless pseudo-religions that compound the mental health crisis.

For so-called “primitive man” God was never part of a religion but part of fundamental daily experience lived every day in interaction with the world of nature. When God is experiential we cannot believe. We can only experience.

The mental health crisis

The opiod crisis, and other addictions only pinpoint a major mental health crisis. How can you become more resilient and aligned in a fast-changing world that seems increasingly frightening to more and more people? Apart from the basic biological needs that make us no different from the animal kingdom, humans have the deep need to be seen and to be heard. We are spiritual beings in need of purpose and a place in community. Some tips:

  • One of the most effective ways of preventing physical and mental job exhaustion is to nurture friends and relationships. Surround yourself with positively-minded people who uplift and support you.
  • Find a spiritual community to practice a religious ritual that is free from dogma and constraint. It has real life-extending and stress-reducing benefits, according to scientific studies.
  • Spend alone time in nature. The green and blue spaces of nature have a real positive effect on boosing your immune system and aligning yourself with a higher sense of Being.
  • Find a personal mentor who acts as a sounding board in refining your goals and sense of purpose.

First and foremost maintain a critical mindset to your own thoughts and beliefs. They might have been influenced by external voices that have little in common with your individual and authentic soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor β€“ Speaker

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Filed under mental health, mental-health, Uncategorized

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