It is 4:58 AM and my dominant thought is how my perception of American society has changed. This isn’t some grand, researched historical post but really just how I see things.
My main point is that I feel community is fading away and we are all on our own from a societal prospective. I felt like I was part of a number of groups in the past: my school class, company, religion, country and various clubs were all things I belonged to and could turn to for support.
I’m no longer in school and work is a poor replacement. The division I belong to has had all team members except for me come and go three times. My first three team members all left within a year, the second group within three years and now we are rebuilding again. In a sales division a team is only something that resides in the imagination of HR that they try to get you to believe with various training. Sooner or later everyone will be fired and or let go – it is only a matter of time since sales numbers, like the stock market (and tied to it) cannot permanently remain at 15% growth. I actually have a call in a few hours where we’re all required to explain why our own numbers were down when the trend for the entire sector was down drastically. The true reason is companies cut down on travel and/or policies set for the entire company contributed to all 65 territories being down except maybe one or two. Good managers will acknowledge this but I have the suspicion that it won’t and the entire blame will fall to all 65 salespeople as though we didn’t do enough followed by a great number of firings.
As for me, my region still grew, as it has done the past four years, but with a heavier goal than others I missed hitting 100% by 1%. So yes, when I think of work I have no reason to believe with this company, or any American company I have worked for that we are anything other than completely alone.
This is in contrast to my fathers and Grandfathers generation when a company was truly a team and one held on to the same job for life. In the current environment one keeps a job for roughly three years before moving on.
As for religion I was raised in the Catholic tradition. Unfortunately this group has fallen into major disarray. I could not see it as a child but as an adult have come to understand it was full of dysfunctional adults. For or five of the priests were pedophiles and the nun, who was principal of our school is no longer a nun as she was caught stealing from a grocery store and had other issues. Now one thing I simply cannot square with is our parents willingness to continue and look past the pedophilia.
If someone were to ask me what is the worst thing one could do as a human being I would say that it would be to harm a child. Well, that is exactly what a number of priests did. What was the reaction to all of this? I tell you it was barely a whimper. Congregations could simply not process that terrible evil had been done to their children and so they continue to go to church, trusting whichever aberration of a man comes along and are willing to leave their children with him again. This continues over and over. I for one would never leave my children alone with a member of the clergy due to their publicly acknowledged track record yet the older generation seems to have no problem with this and I cannot understand why.
As for a country as a whole I remember the days when we would all watch the news from one of three sources and would generally have the similar opinions about different news topics. Those days are obviously long gone as a single news event will now spur a wide range of opinions.
Furthermore, we all considered ourselves Americans. Now this may just pertain mostly to me and perhaps others who have lived abroad but for me, the feeling of being “American” has given way to the feeling that I identify myself as being a member or this planet instead of just one specific country carved out by a couple of tribes who also think along similar lines. As there are not many people who would rather consider themselves a member of the planet Earth, or even the universe as a whole rather than a citizen of a patch of earth with borders drawn up simply because one group could shoot and kill more members of another group, this also creates a feeling of being alone.
Therefore, at present, the only group I can say I truly belong to is my family. Friends create a second group to belong to but since we do not interact with them all on even a monthly basis it is hard to say it is something that can truly be depended on or that it creates the intimate feeling of a close group.
In closing, I feel that we’re much more on our own now than before and maybe the changes in American society has a lot to do with this, or perhaps it is in my own mind.
My final thought is when I watch the sunrise and sunset. Having left religion I have no answers on the ultimate group – which is what, who, or how everything I can perceive was actually created. When I think about it, everything, living or not, conscious or not is part of the same group. We are all in this universe together, yet aside from the imagination of various religions we really have no answers as to what is going on other than there was a “big bang” and here we are. Perhaps I am being narrow minded in my ideas about groups above and should only really focus on the ultimate group that is our universe? For the answer to that, I expect I’ll be searching my entire life with the finale being death at which point the veil will be lifted or the theater just turns permanently dark. The day of my own death will be an interesting day indeed.
I wish I could write a post here in my journal the next day about what I’ve discovered.