The Beauty in the Beast

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It's the End of the World as We Know It...and I Feel Fine

Why does the end of the world as we know it have to be a bad thing?

*Warning this article contains images that some readers may find offensive

With the end of the world projected to hit at the stroke of midnight tonight. I have been giving a lot of thought to what that means.  For some reason despite the fact that the Mayans were unable to foretell their own demise, many people believe that they have accurately predicted the end of the world.  Like many of these ancient prophecies I do not believe that they are to be taken in the literal sense.  I do not believe that on the stroke of midnight the world will explode and Armageddon will reign down upon us.  

I do believe that what the Mayans may have been predicting is a shift in the general consciousness.  Along the lines of the end of slavery in America and apartheid in South Africa, this change will represent a tipping point in societal beliefs or values.  We have begun to see hints of this change coming for a while, states beginning to legalize marijuana, gay marriage is facing less opposition than ever before (in terms of the general population there is still a long way to go).  In light of the prediction I have begun to think of all the things that I think the world post Dec 21 2012 would be better without.  I have compiled a top 5 list of things that I hope will end in the world as we know it.

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Here are the top 5 things I hope end as of Dec 21 2012:

 

5. World Hunger 

At the risk of sounding like a beauty pageant contestant I honestly believe that we have the capability to end world hunger.  In The Global Burden of Disease study, published in a special edition of The Lancet, it has found that obesity and complications associated with it now kill more than 3 times as many people as malnutrition.

To me this is an indication that something is very very wrong with the world.  I understand that the issue is more complicated than simply shifting food from the mouths of the morbidly obese to the starving, but seriously??  How is it possible that while there are people who do not have enough to survive, there are others that have such an abundance of food that they are morbidly obese.  The visual image is striking and when laid side by side it seems obvious.  Someone is taking more than their fair share and other people are dying because of it. 

The issue seems to be that it is not in our face.  The people that are starving are not sitting at the table with us as we over-indulge, if they were we would share what we had with them.  People at their roots are not heartless; at least I have to believe they are not.  What I believe needs to happen in order for us to rally together as human beings and end world hunger, there needs to be a shift in mindset.  According to WorldHunger.org the world produces enough food to feed everyone.  Why then has there been an increase in the number hungry people in the world since 1997? 

Number of Hungry People 1969 - 2010
www.worldhunger.org
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has identified three major factors in the increase:

  1. Neglect of agriculture relevant to very poor people by governments and international agencies
  2. The current worldwide economic crisis
  3. The significant increase of food prices in the last several years has been devastating to those with only a few dollars a day to spend. 

All of these things seem to be things that can be overcome.  And it’s not even a matter of drastically changing our lifestyles, it’s about finding a way to maintain our lifestyles in a healthy sustainable way.

 

 4. Killing each other

Gun Control, Mental Health Care, Religion in Schools, Violent Video Games, Horror Movies… we can argue until we are blue in the face about what the cause of the violence is but the simple fact is that we need to stop killing each other. 

Again in order for this to happen people are going to have to again have a shift in mindset.  Whenever I see a news report such as the Sandy Hook tragedy I am always hopeful something positive can come out of it, so that the innocent loss of life can mark a changing point in history.  It was the photo of Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying a wounded child, Hector Pieterson, who had been shot protesting apartheid, which spurred the world into action.  Sometimes we need a spark.

At that time however a photo of a dying child was so horrific that globally we were forced to do something about it.  As much as we decry violent video games for teaching the SHOOTERS how to kill with efficiency, we need to be looking at how we as a society view these pictures.  Why can we see pictures of children that have died in a drone attack and appease ourselves with the fact that it is ok…because it’s ‘collateral damage’. 

You can try to dress it up as ‘collateral damage’ as much as you want.  I am not buying it anymore, and starting Dec 22 2012 I hope no one else does either.

3. Ladies this one is for you. STOP READING COSMO… SERIOUSLY!

When I was at summer camp one of our favorite activities during free time was to hang out on the deck…suntan…and read magazines like Cosmo.  We almost had a riot when the head counselor of the camp told us that he wasn’t going to allow us to read them anymore.  We couldn’t believe the censorship!  How DARE HE!??!  His argument was that they were “junk food” for our minds, and it would do more harm to us than good.

Looking back I wish that I had heeded his advice.  I would have saved myself years of self-hatred, years of throwing up every meal I ate, years of counting every calorie and ensuring that I burned more than I consumed, staring into every mirror I passed and comparing myself to every photo in those magazines. Years of believing that my goal in life should be to please my man….get a man….or keep a man.  Even while encouraging me to pursue my own goals there is an undertone of how to do it all and still keep a man. Cosmo and magazines like it may not be the ultimate cause of the increasing rates of body image issues…but they sure aren’t helping.  For every article on loving myself for who I am there are 10 pages of advertisements showing me why I shouldn’t.

You want sex tips? Buy yourself a copy of the Kama Sutra… Cosmo has been recycling these tips for years with different corny names. They aren’t coming up with anything new, and again the focus on sexuality isn’t helping.  We complain about the youth today become too sexual too soon.  Do we not find it hypocritical to tell our young girls to respect themselves and abstain while every cover at the checkout line is emblazoned with headlines that read: “50 SEX TIPS” “8 New Ways to Orgasm” or “Bad Girl Sex."  I am all for embracing your sexuality, and I am not naïve enough to believe that teenagers are going to completely abstain from sex.  But again, these magazines are not helping to promote healthy behavior.

Having relationship issues?  Here’s a revolutionary idea…. TALK to your PARTNER?! Don’t write into a magazine asking why your boyfriend ‘seems distant’… ask him.  Where along the line did we lose the ability to have a face to face conversation, especially with someone that we are in a relationship with?  I understand that occasionally subjects are difficult to bring up (I am, after all, the same girl who only a few months ago couldn’t leave her toothbrush at her boyfriends house), but the only way to find a solution to a problem, is to discuss it and jointly come up with a solution.  It sucks I know, but if you need a magazine to help you ‘trick’ your partner into something… well…

 

2. Stop talking about religion – period. 

Are you a good person?  Great!  I don’t care if it’s because God, Allah, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster told you to.

Religion is not the cure for all the things that go wrong in the world.
Religion is also not the cause of all the things that go wrong in the world.

Let’s stop all the arguing.  That includes you Atheists…. you are just as complicit in this as everyone else.

 

It’s time that we stop judging people period.  However if we must judge let it be on the basis of their actions not their beliefs.

1. End this odd sense of entitlement

I am not sure where some people got the idea that they are entitled to certain things in this life.  There are certain things that are considered inalienable rights;

  1. We Are All Born Free & Equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way.
  2. Don’t Discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.
  3. The Right to Life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety. 
  4. No Slavery. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave. 
  5. No Torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us. 
  6. You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go. I am a person just like you! 
  7. We’re All Equal Before the Law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly. 
  8. Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly. 
  9. No Unfair Detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country. 
  10. The Right to Trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do. 
  11. We’re Always Innocent Till Proven Guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have the right to show it is not true. 
  12. The Right to Privacy. Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or our family without a good reason. 
  13. Freedom to Move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish. 
  14. The Right to Seek a Safe Place to Live. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe. 
  15. Right to a Nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.

That’s it. I didn’t read anywhere in there that you are entitled to a new Smartphone every year, a BMW, or a job simply because you did what hundreds of thousands of other people did and got a university degree.  You are not entitled to be a jerk simply because you ‘got swag’ or ‘yolo.'  Sorry….but if there is one thing that I think the world could do with out it is this odd sense of entitlement that seems to be going around. 

References:

www.worldhunger.org

www.thelancet.com

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/

 

 

Jaime Cundy is a writer and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program.

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