by Dennis Lid
There is but one answer to the question of what to do about all that overwhelmes us.
Dennis W. Lid
We have arrived! We have reached the point of no return. I first noticed it about twenty years ago while on an international airline flight from Tokyo to Chicago. The stewardess couldn’t make change for a ten dollar bill for the purchase of an item. She couldn’t find the correct change, so I wasn’t able to buy the item. That’s when the real problem dawned on me. Systems and the people working and living within those systems are beginning to break down and are becoming overwhelmed to the point of being unable to resolve the issues confronting them. This inability to solve the problem has numerous causes and consequences . . . and it’s just getting worse with the passage of time. Life in general is faster paced, more stressful, seemingly out of control and more overwhelming. Take a look around and note the reasons for being overwhelmed, the consequences and results that follow, where it leads to and what we can do about it.
Have you noticed lately that folks don’t seem to be watching out for one another anymore? The “me, me, me” syndrome, egoism, and egocentrism dominate our culture and society at large. Materialism, nihilism, narcissism and atheism are on the rise. There is an overemphasis on self and things, and an insufficient emphasis on the intangibles such as values and virtues. The idea of sacrifice has been totally lost on society and the individual. Immediate gratification and self-preservation are the order of the day. There is an unwillingness to compromise, discuss problems and arrive at equitable and amenable solutions for all concerned. Witness the adverse actions of individuals and groups, the number of dysfunctional families, note the preponderance of divorces, and observe the inability of presidential, congressional and judicial representatives to deviate from partisan politics and come to agreement on national and international issues of the day to solve the nation’s real problems. They, too, have become overwhelmed by the immensity of the daily crises they face.
The results and consequences of being overwhelmed run the gamut of possibility. Individuals are reduced to impotence, frustration, anger or rage. This is evidenced by an increase in violence and the seeking of vengeance by individuals and groups worldwide. “I can’t take it anymore” becomes a common individual complaint. Observe the impatience of people waiting in line for sales or service, their rudeness to one another in general, their displays of discourtesy while driving to the extreme of road rage, their sublime inconsiderateness even while at play as witnessed by the person trying to preempt another player from using a specific slot machine by asking that player the inane question, “Are you playing this machine?” and the inability of insufficient clergymen to attend to the individual spiritual needs of their parishioners because of time constraints and a dearth of vocations to the religious life. Even nations reach their zenith of tolerance, patience and diplomacy with one another in an effort to resolve their differences, thereafter resorting to force, commonly known as the violence of war, in all of its many forms. The earth itself rebels when it reaches its limit of tolerating abuse. Witness the extent of contamination, pollution, and the extremes of climatic conditions leading ultimately to a depletion of the ozone layer and to global warming.
High tech devices such as the computer, robots and the like have added to the chaos through the elimination of members of the work force. These labor and time-saving devices have actually added to the workload of those employees who remain. After the introduction of computers, automation and other high tech components to a company or organization, most of the employees who are retained are overworked and underpaid. Employers and employees have lost their sense of loyalty to one another as well. This, in turn, results in careless workmanship, shoddy products, poor service, indifference and tarnished reputations for all concerned. Add to all this the advent of critical systems going awry. The electricity goes off, the power grid is overloaded, the supply of gasoline runs out, or there are other malfunctions in one’s life that ought not to occur. Then what happens? Without manual backup systems and people who know how to fix what goes wrong, or how to use the backup systems, everything comes to a standstill. Systems fail; things stop working; people are stymied. Everything comes to a grinding halt. And where has all this led? It has led to the ultimate state of being overwhelmed. What, then, is the solution to the chaos? What can we do about it?
Perhaps there is no solution, or it may lie beyond our capability. Past abuses inflicted on one another, our organizations, systems and the world have created a self-sustaining momentum that has taken on a life of its own and may well be unstoppable. We can only really take certain precautions and initiate limited positive actions to address the problem - the chaos. Self- preservation demands that we seek to resolve what we can for the sake of our sanity and the preservation of the human race. The secular oriented person can take refuge in the “compartments of the mind,” their internal reflection zones, for serenity and stress relief. Yoga is a common practice that invokes peace of mind amidst the chaos. Those who are religiously oriented may turn to prayer, their Lord and His promise of eternal life for the peace and tranquility they seek. Both types of people can benefit from doing the best they can under the circumstances to maintain internal peace, though externally things are falling apart. Let all else that cannot be controlled pass away. One can’t do anything to change those things that one lets pass on by. Keep life simple in general. Finally, do that which does not come naturally but which is the only effective and complete solution to the problem and all the chaos: Love yourself, your neighbor and your God. Just do it! Love before it’s too late. This is not an apocalyptic decree or sentence. It is the solution to the problem and the end of chaos.
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