If you turn on the television for any length of time, you may end up feeling a little depressed about what our society values. I know this is true for me. Commercials about violent video games, raunchy movies, and the ever-growing capitalism and debt of America breaks my heart and infuriates me whenever I turn on the television. You don’t have to look too far to see something you don’t want to; negative images seem to be all around.
As I write this, I have an image in my mind that I can’t unsee. It’s not a graphic image, and let’s be honest, I’ve seen a lot worse, but it’s still haunting me. It was for a video game, I can’t tell you which one, and I’m sure this will describe many of them. A man is holding an automatic weapon of some kind that he pulled from a stash of many others and stands on a rooftop above the city with his gun loaded ready to shoot. What breaks my heart is that this scenario could be happening somewhere right now and instead we choose to glorify this behavior. We choose to let our young people play this game for fun.
This scene likely describes many games out there today. But I wonder if images like this aren’t a true representation of our society as a whole. What if there’s much more hope and light and kindness and love out there than we realize?
What if there’s more light than darkness?
What if there’s more hope than despair?
What if there’s more joy than anger?
What if there’s more kindness than selfishness?
What if the world was different than it’s being perceived?
Our culture teaches that you have to “get yours”. You have to, whether through legal means or not, show yourself to be the alpha. You have to win, you have to beat out everyone else, you have to make a name for yourself, you have to do whatever it takes to be the best. While I appreciate the fact that capitalism was founded upon this Darwinistic, evolutionary paradigm, I think we may have taken it too far.
What if what you gain in being the “‘top dog” isn’t worth everything that you lose in the pursuit of getting to that status?
What if relationships were more important than titles?
What if generosity outweighed the allure of greed?
What if grace was given and mistakes were absolved?
What if lessons were taught instead of being shoved in someone’s face?
What if blame and shame were eliminated from our vocabulary?
I think there has to be more to life than selfishness. We weren’t created to just consume and then die because what’s the fun in that? I believe that we were created for adventure, for love, for giving, and for relationship with God and others.
I’m not saying that video games or television are bad, I’m just wondering if they’re leading us to believe things that simply aren’t true. I wonder if our paradigm would change if we got out and saw the good that people were doing in the world. I feel like many people see horrible things happening and they bury their heads in the sand, not wanting to see the terrible things going on around them. But what if we did the opposite? What if we ran toward the crisis instead of away from it? What if we talked to some people who are hurting and found out how we could serve them? What if we spoke with organizations that are on the frontlines combating the issue that so terrifies us? What if we did something instead of hiding? I think that one paradigm shift can be the start of a beautiful chain reaction that can cause change win our world. Light and hope and love are all alive and well, what are you willing to do to spread them to someone in need?