This article discusses some of the ways in which to manage ourselves and live an unhurdled life in a society that is post apocalypse (and most certainly shallow and hollow)
What has life as we know it become in today’s world marked by anxieties? We are surrounded by endless wars, where nations are openly aberrating from treaties of trust like Russia’s invasion of Crimea. News of environmental degradation is upon us 24/7, as we are being plagued by deforestation, mass extinction of species and melting of glaciers. Furthermore, economic inequality is rising abound, the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer. And brutal stratification of humanity is ever on increase, where women are losing their rights to abortion in the US, Muslims are losing their rights to live as free citizen in Eastern parts of India and systematic extermination of minorities groups like Yazidis and Assyrian Christians is happening in Syria and Iraq etc. So what is the definition of a dystopian society? According to Oxford’s Lexico, it is a “society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic”.
A question that arises here: “what is all of this a sign of’’? Things may seem bad, but do such horrors around us indicate that we are headed towards a situation much, much worse- just like a page out of a doomsday book? Or can something be done about it if we put our individual strengths to act like a vector of change? Or make a difference through collective action? Or simply join hands to form a force reminiscent of David against Goliath? After all, our ancestors have brought us out of episodes like Nazism, Apartheied movement, and many other extreme forms of racist movements etc in the past. So without much further ado, what are some of the parts that each of us can play to face this debacle with dignity and meaningfulness?
Try to shun any sense of derogatoryness from within and around:
Any systematic system of oppression and making people conform to uniform expectations rely on restricting independent thought, individuality and freedom. And what better way to suppress such inclinations than by suppressing people’s natural confidence, human dignity and courage through means like propaganda, inciting fear and dehumanizations? Hence, a very powerful tool in such terrifying times can be holding on to human dignity and all that it represents:
Things to consider:
- Share your resources: Sometimes all it takes to break away from anything oppressive is a different perspective, a new idea or a small opening in a door. So share your resources and networks with others. Be it at LinkedIn so people might move to new locations for work, or introducing them to your social networks so people have greater freedom to meet like minded people etc.
- Create a safe environment for those who are vulnerable: This will allow the ones who are most caught up in any critical situation to just have weight lifted off their shoulders. This might be passing your friends or family crisis prevention hotlines’ numbers to reach out to someone in a safe and non hazardous way or simple acts of kindness like taking groceries to your neighbour’s house.
- Amplification: Nowadays we can use various methods to help out the marginalised ones to amplify their voices. These include: online resources to amplify stories of the marginalized ones, signing petitions or simply listening to their stories yourself.
- Speak up: If you see something, say something. This might feel scary at times, but if you come across bigotry, racial hatred, harassment etc, use your voice and speak against it. Or if this could pose a threat for you, reach out to authorities who are in a position to help.
Try to gather strength in the face of adversity:
If people are pulling you down, the best way to prove them wrong is to stand up on your own two feet and show them otherwise. Now you must be thinking who can even accomplish such a feat? But trust me that history is replete with many such examples, which means it’s all humanly possible. For instance, during Nelson Mandela’s 27 years as a political prisoner, many back bending antics were tried on him, but he always remained committed and preservaring in the face of adversity. He kept himself in good shape mentally by reading widely, by keeping himself up to date on the law and by completing his LLB degree from the University of London. And as his saying goes: “It is in your hands to make a better world for all who live in it.”
Some things to consider is this aspect:
- Try to maintain dignity and overcome hurdles: Discussing another example of Nelson Mandela, in his autobiographical book, Long Walk to Freedom, he says : “On Monday through Thursday, I would do stationary running in my cell in the morning for up to forty-five minutes. I would also perform one hundred fingertip push-ups, two hundred sit-ups, fifty deep knee-bends and various other calisthenics.” Hence by maintaining his dignity and keeping himself healthy physically and mentally, he refused to succumb to the definition of second class status that his oppressors tried to impose on him.
- Don’t accept the status quo: This might not be that simple but the answer here is to use your voice in whatever way possible. Write a letter to your councillor, express your emotions, speak about injustices even if within your own circle of friends and family.
- Create an ongoing healing plan: This can be a very powerful tool to recover from trauma or adversity of some kind. This incorporates accepting support from a loved one, assistance of a trained professional or practicing meditation and mindfulness.
- Be proactive: Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, work out what needs to be done, make a plan of action and then act. Although recovery from a traumatic event or loss can take some time, know that you can save much trouble if you know the strings around your problem.
Be open to showing and receiving support:
This is a very common one so I think let’s dive directly into some of the commonly used ways to accomplish it:
- Show your tangible support: This is a very effective way to impact the marginalized pockets. This can be done through offering monetary support or your time.
- Find allies: Find a group of people who are of a similar mindset as you and with whom you can openly discuss and convey yourselves.
- Volunteer: If you have some spare time use it in a meaningful way. There are many organizations everywhere who are in constant need of your involvement.
- Put your money where your mouth is: Buy products and affiliate yourself with businesses run by minorities, refugees, and people of colour etc. This will allow you to support marginalized groups more forthrightly.
Start being diligent and well informed about how you use technology in today’s time and age:
In today’s time, invasion of privacy, both electronically and online, and the way it’s being used to take control of our lives or impact our choices are becoming huge issues. This spy and monster is everywhere. It is monitoring our tastes and habits every time we search something. Or sends our conversations and information about our physical activities to mobile companies every time we use our phones. Or simply controls our views and opinions through a deluge of easy to access and something even completely unverified news and information. This is not only dangerous but also a very serious concern. So what control do we have?
- Try to vet news sources: Credibility of what we read and hear can be verified by checking the topic’s credibility across a variety of sources, researching the outlet’s expertise and always checking the website address to make sure you are actually reading what you think you are reading.
- Try to go directly to the real sources: This can be done by subscribing to magazines of noteworthy organizations, following famous journalists on social media for links to their stories and reading content on actual websites of the authorities that have issued it.
- Be careful about your online privacy settings: Many a times, we simply get bogged down by how to control our interaction with so many online sites? Some useful tools include: converting to browsers that have made privacy a pivotal feature e.g Brave or installing spywares and malwares on your systems that will prevent you from site trackers and filtered search results.
- Control the data you share with others: Sharing your personal data like information about your current location, preferences and habits etc can make you a direct target of unintended marketing schemes or disruptive offers. Such schemes have the power to invade your daily habits. So people, control this by being very selective about why you allow any entity to gather data from you.
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