The Junk Value Epidemic
I watched a TED Talk by Johann Hari last week about why there seems to be more people than ever suffering from anxiety and depression in the current era. I’ve gone in on this topic multiple times before myself, but a lot of what he said made sense too so I read into it. In the past I’ve explored things like not having a survival instinct and the comforts of the first world as factors leading to more depression amongst the population. I still think these reasons are playing a role, but Hari also pointed to Junk Values. These junk values are something I’ve been harping on about extensively, but never really saw the deeper issue with them.
To understand the junk values that we hold I think it’s good to start with an example of how something similar has happened to us in the recent past. Up until the late 00’s, we generally consumed junk food without considering the implications of what we were putting into our bodies. It was cheap, tasty, available, and not at all good for us. But we loved it. This changed in the early 10’s when there something of a ‘Nutrition Revolution’, and we became more aware of the harm junk food is causing our bodies. In a very noticeable sense, the world became more health conscious, and junk food became something you had sparingly, rather than all of the time.
I think we’re at the point before the revolution with regard to junk values. We’re consuming bad values, creating terrible habits, and facilitating immoral behaviour all in the name of short-term gratification. Up until now, we’ve been getting mental ‘take-aways’ every day of the week, and we’re left wondering why we then feel so bad, why we seem to have reoccurring mental health issues.
What are these junk values then? In very simple terms, we have become the most superficial and materialist generations in quite some time. Everything is fake, there are very few real values that are long lasting. We place emphasis on how we look rather than how we feel. We care more about getting designer clothes and expensive technology than we do about what our impact is. We do a lot of things for bad reasons. We care more about our follower counts than we do about our actual friends and family. We have fake lips, fake abs, fake friends, fake lives, just to look a certain way. Many of us long to be other people because that’s what we’ve been told to desire.
When you consistently eat junk food it affects your physical health. When you hold junk values, it affects your mental health. Very few of us these days appear to be thinking about our actions, or how they affect others, or how they affect ourselves. Very few of us appear to be thinking at all. The media has instilled a notion that a glamorous, superficial life is the correct way to live, and it’s poisoning the well. Just because you can justify bad behaviour, doesn’t make it any less bad.
I think a lot of us have forgotten that you can, and should have a life that is offline. Not every aspect of your life needs to be recorded. Go for a hike once in a while and don’t post a picture. You don’t need to show the world your pint. You can be offline.
We’re a while off still, but I think we’ll have a mental revolution and realise all the behaviours wee consider to add value to our lives now, are synonymous with eating McDonald’s; enjoyable ever now and then but very bad for you if you have it very day.
I dunno, maybe I’m wrong though.