The Pessimistic Fate of Future Generations
In 50 years, the world will be in chaos.
The nuclear taboo will have be broken, and nuclear weapons will have destroyed the planet. We will finally have suffered the consequences of not taking nuclear threats seriously.
Countries will acquire bio weapons and wreak chemical terror on others. And if scientists are incompetent enough to not know how to create chemical weapons, cyber terrorists will hack our databases and intentionally start conflicts that escalate.
We’re going to run out of space as the population of the world outpaces the space available. It won’t be immediate, but we won’t think anything of it until disaster strikes and the damage is irreversible. By that time, we’ll have stripped all of the green off of the land, and the planet will be a mix of blue and brown. But the blue will be more abundant than the brown; our resource consumption and our CO2 emissions will finally catch up to us, and the resulting climate change will not directly cause extinction, but will cause a rise in sea levels, exacerbating the issue of overpopulation.
We’re going to run out of effective antibiotics, and all of the bacteria will become resistant, eventually allowing a deadly, widespread disease outbreak.
And the polar bears? They’re gonna die. So are all of the tigers and elephants that we’ve been poaching for generations, and overall biodiversity will plummet, and the zoos will be empty soon enough.
Not as though people will want to go to the zoo though. The skies will turn more and more gray and the gas mask industry will prosper, but the overall quality of life will go down. Air pollution won’t kill us all, but we won’t be happy. We won’t have a blue sky to gaze at, and we’ll see fewer stars to wish upon.
Technology? Well, we’re going to develop so many new types of technologies in the coming years that will eventually take over the role of humans. Vending machines replace vendors, and factories and mass production replace handmade goods. While this may be good when you initially think about it, what happens to all of those jobs? My thought is that eventually every role today that requires a person will eventually be replaced by a robot, and that the only new job will be as mechanics and engineers, to fix the robots when they fail, and to create new robots that will fix broken robots.
Increased communication through technology will cause an inability to speak to others in person without feeling extremely awkward, and eventually people will never leave their houses. I mean, why would they need to? You can shop online now. Food delivery is such a commonality, and windows and natural light is overrated anyways.
Computers will be cheaper. People will be less inclined to get out of their chairs and go outside to exercise.
The media will continue to infect our minds with arbitrary and flawed perceptions of beauty. We as a society will become more insecure, prone to suicidal thoughts and self-harm.
In 50 years, we won’t know what an apple is. Everything that we eat will come in the form of a vitamin or supplement and everything will be mass-produced and modified by science because our crops are struggling so badly. The quality of meat will decrease, animal abuse will skyrocket, and even the most exclusive and high-class restaurants will serve subpar food.
The people will revert to savagery. We won’t have anything else to do.
And all of those dreams you’ve had as a kid? They won’t exist anymore.
President? The government will revert to anarchy because they won’t be able to solve problems well enough, and the people will mutiny and overthrow the bureaucracy.
Astronaut? Well, space tourism will be such a plausible concept in the next few years that if you’ve got the money and time, you can fly to Mars or a nearby comet for fun. While the role of astronauts won’t become obsolete, the wonder and mystery and prestige that you initially thought to be associated with being an astronaut will cease to exist; you’ll just be one of those people.
And if none of these manages to throw our planet drastically off of its balance, we’ll probably face extinction from threat from a large asteroid slamming into Earth.
*Note: this is a creative writing prompt; I don’t necessarily agree with everything said above.
The Human Rights Crisis in North Korea – Why Should You Care?
Note to readers: I am not North Korean. I’m not even South Korean. I’m Chinese. Cool? Okay cool.
A summary about the status quo of North Korea
North Korea is commonly believed to have the most oppressive dictatorship on the planet. If you question government legitimacy, you will be denied every basic right, and will either be sent to a prison camp or publicly executed. You are not allowed to leave the country without permission from the state.
These prison camps? They’ve been around for five times as long as Nazi camps and twice as long as Soviet camps. There are often no reasonable justifications for being sent to one of these camps; you might be sent simply because you are related to someone who committed a political crime.
The government has attempted to create an information blockade – no radios, no Internet access, no international calls. North Korea has been isolated from the rest of the world for decades.
The people are starving – the agricultural policies are sub par, the climate conditions are brutal, and food imports are limited. Malnutrition is a commonplace.
The refugee crisis
People leave North Korea for a myriad of reasons. They might be desperate for food, medicine, or money. They might hear from outsiders about the world that exists outside of North Korea – they might want to experience it for themselves. They will want to escape economic hardship, political and religious persecution, and the lack of basic, fundamental freedoms.
A scanty number of those who attempt to escape to China will actually make it. Over half of the women who succeed will become prostitutes. Those who get caught? Beatings, torture, prison camps, or execution. Take. Your. Pick.
Hope for the future?
A quote from the LiNK website that answers this question perfectly:
“North Korea is changing. Significant grassroots changes have been happening since the late 1990s, driven by the people themselves, and these developments and trends have the potential to lead, eventually, to a radically transformed and better North Korea.
However, there has not been enough focus on these changes happening at the people-level, and the issue of North Korea is not associated with dynamism or change. This is because, traditionally, the focus of the international community has been on the level of international politics and nuclear weapons.
If the world knew of the dynamism and resilience of the North Korean people in the face of extraordinary challenges, and could see that underneath this Cold War style stalemate, there is a far more interesting story of hope for change, we believe many more people would be motivated to help the North Korean people.”
What exactly is going on that we need to so badly encourage?
After a devastating famine, the North Korean people established illegal markets to obtain food. These markets are primarily female-dominated, and the regime has failed to break up these illegal activities. Simply put, “the markets are here to stay.”
There’s also more communication with the outside world. These illegal markets have triggered food imports from China, a country that is significantly more democratized and liberated than North Korea. Through these activities, the citizens realize that neighboring countries are very, very much advanced.
Even if trade with China were to stop, a leap in access to outside information has truly impacted the mentality of the North Korean people. We’ve got phones, TV’s, radios, and foreign media to help them learn about the reality of the outside world.
“All signs are that this ‘education in reality’ will only continue, and will further empower the North Korean people to push for the change they want inside the country.”
That means that the people are growing increasingly suspicious of the government. No longer are they completely oblivious and brainwashed about reality; there has been less tattletaling on people who are questioning regime legitimacy.
“Ultimately this could result in the emergence of a growing civil space for the people, who are breaking off from the state not just at an individual level but increasingly at a community level.”
And like all social movements, no matter where they originate, the driving force behind this sort of progressive change is young people. I’m talking, people in their 20s and 30s, who have not yet accepted the traditional ideologies of the past, who have not yet condoned the omniscient supremacy. These are the people who will be the make-or-break factors in the push for change.
We don’t want your pity
I don’t want you (the reader) to fall prey to compassion fatigue. I know that we see desolate pictures of North Koreans suffering very often. At first, it seems like something to pity, something that you, as an ethical human being, should do something about. But then you see pictures of starving African children, and then women in the Middle East who have been raped, as well as homeless children in upstate New York, and then you hesitate to take action. The media constantly bombards us with images that attempt to call us to action, to make a change, raise awareness, or donate money to some cause. The result of this is compassion fatigue, when we can no longer put up with all these ethical obligations. Only then do funny memes get created and the idea which originally was intended to arouse guilt and compassion starts to mock the subject of the photos, which backfires on the point of these images.
I don’t intend this to happen with this post. The point of my writing about this is not to evoke pity in you. It is to shed light on the flawed lens through which we have been observing North Korea as a regime, a country, a military power, a nation led by a “madman,” and as a group of individuals – citizens that are starting to squirm under the oppression of a tyrannical ruler. We shouldn’t just realize the difference and feel bad about their unfortunate situation. Rather, we should raise awareness. Some sort of revolution/governmental overthrow might happen, and the success of such a movement largely depends on the support that the North Korean citizens could potentially receive from the outside world. We need to know about the humans rights crisis. We need to something about it. But this post is just the first of many others, to shed light on the inequality in North Korea, and to demonstrate how we might do something about it. This first post was just to illustrate what exactly is happening right now.
(quotes are from the LiNK website, linked above)
We Are All Alone
The picture can be somewhat misleading; being alone doesn’t have to be a sad occasion!
They say that when you’re suffering, there’s someone out there that feels your pain. They say these things to calm us down when we throw tantrums about the difficulty of our life and the uniqueness of our dilemmas. True, maybe someone else has had similar situations as you have, but in the end, really and truly, we are all alone.
Sometimes I wish I could just sit down with someone in a quiet and lonely corner, and tell them my life story. If only we could sit there for hours and I could tell the story of my parents, and how they grew up and moved to America, and then how I was born. To truly understand someone, you have to start before Day 1 of their life. You have to start at Day -1000, because there was a chain of events leading up to their birth that influenced their life, no doubt. Life isn’t just one microsecond after another; rather, it is a collection of events that influence each other in ways that no one is able to predict or comprehend.
I’d start with the story of my parents, and then talk about my childhood and what kind of environment I grew up. I can’t afford to skip over whole YEARS of my life like Charlotte Bronte did in Jane Eyre, because each seemingly insignificant moment has led up to today. Rather, I’d have to go into extreme detail about the time I was in pre-school and “accidentally” keyed my mom’s car by etching my name into the side, spelling it incorrectly. Id’ have to explain as well as I can how I’ve often thought back to that day and felt guilty. I’d tell everything there is to tell a person in the timespan of an afternoon and still, I would not be done. I’d still have to expound on my political views and my taste in music, and still, I wouldn’t be halfway there.
After an afternoon passes, I doubt this person would even have a clue what kind of person I really am.
No one knows what goes through our heads. You can use every word in the English dictionary to try to describe what you’re feeling, but ultimately you are the only one who can experience exactly what you are feeling. Everything, whenever we attempt to communicate with others, is misperceived and wrongly interpreted. Each person is his or her own self, and when we try to express our feelings, there will always be crucial details omitted for the sake of not embarrassing oneself, etc.
It’s a sad feeling, no? Realizing that no one around you understands what you’re going through, not even your twin sister, or your closest friend. We are born into this world with our mind alone, and that’s how we leave it.
This sort of miscommunication is the cause of many conflicts. Making a choice that you feel in your gut is the right choice might not seem like the best choice for someone else, and that sort of disagreement sparks all sorts of problems. When someone that you thought understood and agreed with you completely takes a separate path, you feel betrayal and confusion. You’re upset because they ended up deciding something different, deviating from your usual mutual agreement.
But I have a kindred spirit!, you say. Maybe it seems like it. But ultimately, a conflict will come between the two of your and drive you apart. There are no kindred spirits. There are no soul-mates and no perfect other-halves. But it’s not the end of the world. Humanity has survived without understanding each other; our ability to communicate has skyrocketed since our first days on earth. As long as we are able to get general points across, total communication is not necessary to survive.
FOESO: Why We Need to Reflect
FOESO of this post right here.
In a society where everyone is encouraged to stand up for themselves and assert their opinions, many people will do just that. They will defy standards and rebel against what they think is unfair. But those who narrow-mindedly believe in such things do not acknowledge the essentiality of reflection.
There are many regrets of mine that primarily emerge from saying or doing the wrong things because what I say and do has not been thought out thoroughly. Passion is a double edged sword. Yes, we develop strong ambitions and determinations to overcome countless obstacles. Correct, when you find your passion, you never seem to tire of it.
But there’s a different form of passion that comes from getting riled up, in the heat of the moment. Moments build upon themselves and you get carried away. Before you realize it, you’ve said something completely untrue, or you’ve done something that you will not support at all the morning after.
Taking risks and saying things “before its too late” is overrated. First of all, is it ever really late? Unless it’s a strange situation where the absolutely last available train to a certain destination leaves the next morning, there’s never much of a deadline on any decision. At worst, you have a substantial portion of time before the decision must be made, so we should take our time in making that decision.
Secondly, is risk-taking a habit to promote or relegate? It might be something best to not encourage such a tendency; generally, when we state our opinions, other people are involved. The danger in blurting out whatever is floating around in your mind exists because these other people will immediately perceive you to be an unconditional supporter of your words and actions. They will hold you to what you say and do. To avoid uncomfortable confrontations and confusion and misinterpretation, it’s best to think about what you want before announcing it to others, unless they are a part of your reflection, in which case they should know that you’re just brainstorming aloud.
Reflection comes in many forms. A long car ride in the passenger seat, or the moments before you drift to sleep as you lie comfortably under the covers. It can be your savior in many situations. But it’s not just sitting idly in one position simply thinking about a situation. There’s group reflection, where you can ask other people to help you make a decision. There’s also research reflection, which is going through evidence of some sort (totally dependent on whatever you are reflecting about) to aid in coming to a conclusion.
So yes, I agree. We should fight for what we believe in. But reflection allows us to pinpoint exactly what we believe. How easily we can be swayed! A sad video of polar bears in the Arctic and people forced to flee their homes as a result of rising sea levels might convince you in ten minutes that climate change is a drastic, pressing issue that needs to be addressed immediately. But while a certain video might succeed in tugging on your heart strings, there still exists much literature about why climate change might even be a myth. In deciding whether or not something ought to be done about the impending global warming crisis, thorough research reflection would be required.
To live up to the title of educated voter, we cannot simply go with our gut feeling and immediately support that cause. We need to decide what our priorities and our opinions are first. The same applies to people who have a duty to a community.
What if Abraham Lincoln had been quickly swayed after visiting a plantation and seeing slave oppression? What if he had issued the Emancipation Proclamation that very night, only to wake up the next morning in a nation that had eagerly believed him, ready to break the established norms? What if he randomly decided that African Americans were inferior, and that the abolishment of slavery was a bad idea? Okay, bad example.
But my point is that we should solidify our opinions by mulling over it before we go announcing it to everyone. Do whatever you need to do to decide, just try to avoid making split second decisions.
Now I’ll refute the idea that technology is causing a disconnect in communication.
NO, THAT’S WRONG. The Play-doh analogy? (a reference to the previously linked FOESO) Technology has actually helped our ability to communicate. The quality of communication will only increase, and it will only yield positive outcomes. This is for 5 simple reasons:
1. Globalization – Facebook is offered in more than 60 countries, Twitter in over 15, etc and etc. Your message can reach people across the world, and can reach more than one person at a time. It used to be that word got around through word of mouth, and only spread as far as within a community.
2. Convenience – Who has the time to sit down and write an actual letter, let alone stand up and go meet someone personally? It’s easier to send texts and emails, and in the most extreme of cases, call someone using a phone. It has reduced the burden we used to have, and has made communication only easier.
3. Speed – Technology is instant. It no longer takes days to mail a letter across the country; the Pony Express has evolved into Fedex and UPS. Pen pals seem to be fading into the obscurity that is our past, but we should regard it with bitter sweetness; even as we lose a dear and long-practiced tradition, we will embrace a novel method of communication that will yield new traditions.
4. Bigger and more diverse audiences – You don’t have to indicate an interest to receive a message. We have the ability to broadcast to millions of people through the news, through Youtube accounts, and through WordPress posts. Whether it be a wanderer or a dedicated follower, the hits of any given blog will be very diverse, which means a greater quantity of communication is happening nowadays.
5. Ability to remix and build off of previous ideas – Yes, there are certain laws that prohibit certain actions that might not give credit to the creator of an idea or work. But a majority of the internet is free information. The internet is a culmination of ideas floating around, waiting for the correct mind to realize its truth, and to expound on the truth through words or music or art. Through the sharing of ideas, each person is no longer alone. We find something great and add on to it and make it even greater. As long as we have the decency to give credit to your source of inspiration, no one is ripped off; sadly, not everyone works that way. But then we’d have to ask ourselves if we prioritize the growth and development of thinking that allows for such optimistic changes in our society.
Even if we are not able to communicate like we did in the past, that’s not a bad thing. We’re advancing at rates unprecedented, but in a positive way. I see no major consequences not being able to pass notes physically, because as the other FOESO explicitly states, that is merely a thing of a past. We’re beginning to move onto bigger and better things.
FOESO: Let’s Be Bold and Speak Loudly
New segment/category on the blog: From One End of the Spectrum to the Other!
This is essentially where I will argue for both sides of an issue. I believe in what I write for both sides, but don’t forget why this blog is called Never Stationary…
Here’s one side of the spectrum, the other side will be coming soon!
A common misconception is that recent developments such as Facebook and Twitter have increased our quality of life and our ability to communicate with others. Yay, instant and global! Public and permanent! However, people who believe this blatant lie fail to recognize that it can actually replace the original ways that we communicate, which prove to be more valuable than these new social networking sites.
So let’s be bold and speak loudly, like we used to. Way back when we didn’t have Facebook for picture stalking and Tumblrs for ranting invisibly, we would write letters and potentially send emails to communicate with our long-distance friends, and we’d make phone calls and physically meet up the people that fortunately live near us.
Tumblrs are for spilling out feelings without communicating to other people directly what you are feeling, and Facebook is for stalking without the other person ever knowing. We scroll through statuses and pictures that we like and don’t physically thumbs-up them. I suffer from this problem too.
On WordPress, I can tell. Thanks to the Stats page on WordPress, I know how many views this site will get, and even how many views this particular blog post will receive. I know whether the site hit comes from Facebook or WordPress “Freshly Pressed” or from links on other blogs. There are a lot of lurkers on the internet that will stumble upon random sites like mine but not leave a trace, except contribute to the amount of views I get.
I’m young, and everyone seems to have a Facebook/Instagram/Twitter account. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrolled past pictures or quotes or tweets that make me giggle, smile, or re-evaluate the meaning of life, but about which I have done nothing. I’m not one to physically thumbs-up things on Facebook.
But it’s not fair! People who SHOULD be recognized don’t get recognized. Just as (excuse the horrible analogy) the structure of political parties allows it so that anything that the party advocates, followers often vote that way too, on social networking sites, too many people get likes, ping-backs, and retweets of what the post simply because that is the norm.
Do you even think that picture is pretty?
Not really, but look how many likes it already got. Everyone thinks her pictures are gorgeous.
That joke that you retweeted wasn’t even funny.
I know, but I always retweet his tweets…
I find that people nowadays generally have a harder time communicating with each other than ever before, because of the expansion of communication methods.
But, our ways of communicating have expanded! Doesn’t that indicate that we should be improving the ways that we keep in touch with other?
Think of our capability to communicate as a piece of Play-doh. There’s a finite amount available for each us, and we can either choose to keep it in a form with all the material is bunched together, and condensed into one solid mass. On the other hand, we also have the option of flattening it out and smearing it thinly across a table surface. The table represents the world, and our hand symbolizes the decisions that we make about how we communicate with others. We can keep it condensed in a ball form, or flattened like a sheet of paper, and we can certainly keep it somewhere in between. Each person has a different form of Play-doh than everyone else, which demonstrates how capable we are of communicating with people through technology. Indeed, in a complicated way, if we choose to extend our relationships across state border lines and oceans, we risk sacrificing the quality of communication that we used to have when technology was so much simpler. Simply put, recent technological developments such as mobile phones and the internet are beneficial in helping us reach others that don’t live close to us, but only to a point.
We don’t take risks anymore.
This problem relates partially to our usage of technology, but of course, there are also external factors that contribute to this issue.
We still don’t take as many risks as we used to. Do we even know what it is like to ride a bike to someone’s house in the middle of the night and pound on their door? When it cracks opens, do we know how to beg for forgiveness and spout a heartfelt list of reasons of why the person is absolutely the most splendid thing in our life? So that’s never happened to me but I’m just creating an example.
Do awkward, inexperienced tweens quietly admit to each other that they have a crush on each other in person, or do they do it by text nowadays? There’s something different about texting someone “I like u. do u like me?” It lacks the genuine suspense that comes from staring a person in a face as the words slip out. The person that has to respond if they like the other person can’t run away and has to respond fairly quickly. It is much easier to interpret what someone is feeling by looking at their face, not by analyzing whether or not there were 2 y’s in their “yeah” or whether they used a period or not.
When I was in junior high, I was fortunate enough to still pass notes the old-fashioned way, through folding them up and sneakily passing them in class. I was in the last generation to be able to live that experience. Adolescents are now almost entirely dependent on their phones. Some schools even offer laptops to their students, which means that people can also communicate through Gchat, Facebook chat and other social networking instant messaging systems.
Let’s play the “phone stack game.” When everyone arrives at some sort of gathering (a dinner perhaps?) everyone is required to stack their phones in the middle of the table, and the first person to cave and check their phone has to cover the check.
This game subtly forces people to make eye contact and maintain small talk that will eventually carry over into a real conversation. There’s no distracting ourselves from checking Facebook or Instagram or Tumblr or Twitter.
Ultimately, it upsets me how everyone (myself included) seems to be increasingly dependent and obsessed with technology. Not that these new forms of communication are entirely bad, but allowing them to replace authentic methods of communication poses great dangers to our ability to socialize and maintain contact with other people. The quality of our conversations are likely to plummet, and the likelihood of social awkwardness is sure to skyrocket.
Silence is golden, yada yada yada.
But now we live in a world that is saying less. We are speaking out less. Specifically, we aren’t saying what we want to say to others. We aren’t taking risks and blurting out things that we don’t want to hold in. But we hold them in anyways. And if we can’t hold them in, we’ll filter them into blogs and journals or we’ll go on Tumblr and pretend like the other people who use this site actually understand exactly what we’re going through, and we’ll distract ourselves from the problem at hand. We’ll ignore the fact that we aren’t saying what desperately needs to be said.
Yes, if there is a pressing global social issue at hand, we will speak out. Revolutionary changes like the Civil Rights Movement and the Egyptian Revolution succeed because social networking sites and global news publications help spread the word and depict images that can provoke anger and change, but I’m referring to a problem that exists on a more individual level.
So let’s be bold, and speak loudly. Let’s take more chances and put our pride on the line.
Let’s stop stalking party photos and directly ask someone how the party went.
I know there will be backlash and initial judgment, as young people have a tendency to alienate people who try to stand out. We’re not used to such direct communication, and will probably perceive it as confrontation of sort. It’s weird to like pictures and statuses of people we rarely interact with in real life, but that just demonstrates the severity of the situation, does it not?
But if we take the time to focus our attention on someone through a letter (physical…) or an email or a phone call as opposed to a text or a chat, it no longer seems careless and thoughtless. The action of contacting someone would then demonstrate a genuine interest.
How To Be A Best Friend
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and I’ve been giving some thought as to what I’m truly thankful for. This is one of them.
A best friend actually listens to you. They don’t just wait for you to finish your story, so they can jump in somewhere appropriate and tell another story centered around them, just barely relateable to yours. When they ask how you are, it doesn’t sound like they’re just going through a checklist, bored out of their mind. They are ACTUALLY asking how you are. The typical response won’t be something like, “Fine, what about you?” It will commonly be a detailed description about your day and what you thought about it. They will take the time to ponder and reflect, and ask questions because they care. You don’t feel uncomfortable revealing something embarrassing because chances are, they’ve done something just as embarrassing. Continue reading