Life is much, much bigger than what we see. We are all connected, though we do our best to stay disconnected from each other. We keep our heads down as we pass one another on the sidewalk, build our fences high and often remain strangers even to our neighbors. The truth is this: All of these other people out there count, but we are instructed that they don’t by a pervasive media that influences our culture to be consumed with “I” and “me”.
The Western world has nudged me, not gently, to constantly look and live my life focused on me. Pop culture and media continuously question the value of, well, my face value. Bombarding me with messages about what I should be buying, doing, and looking like. What about being loved and respected for who you are, not what you look like or what you have? I can say with certainty that it is your character, compassion, and contribution in life that is the measure of one’s greatness. Apparently, that truth doesn’t sell in the marketplace.
The prevailing current of the messages broadcast in all forms of media are directed away from meaning and purpose in life and toward the pursuits of materialism. I was listening to a speech by the Dalai Lama in which he emphasized the great importance of our youth learning how to become beautiful on the inside. Youngsters, especially boys, must know what this is—the concept and principles of inner beauty. Such as being compassionate, generous, loving, honest and kind hearted. Living life without the knowledge or pursuit of this kind of beauty will definitely lead to emptiness in man’s life as he finds there to be no significance in what he possesses on the outside.
Well before the digital age, Martin Luther, King Jr. said, “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
Well, Mr. King, we are accelerating in the direction of “thing orientation” at a speed not imaginable when you were alive.