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 Selma Cook



Has the world gone mad? Walking down the street, it is not difficult to feel alone. Can this be so, even though we live in cities with so many people?

People seem to move along somewhere between reality and where we are. Is it just that we don’t see each other, appreciate each other, or care to do so? So many people no longer feel. Violence or injustice happens and people just move on like they never saw a thing.


The world now calls itself a global village. Maybe it’s become more like a global factory. It seems to be churning out more and more desensitized, materialistic individuals who suffer from compulsions to buy and fit into predetermined definitions of beauty and acceptability. Modern man is running a frantic race.

A ‘village’ implies a group of people who work together for the common good; people who communicate and perceive life in a similar way, sharing a common culture. If we truly belong to a village of any kind; global or otherwise, it would be impossible to see crime, poverty or injustice and just keep living as if nothing had happened. Have we forgotten the ties that bind us as humans?

Maybe we have just become numb. We rush to work, then rush home again, watch TV, eat something; junk, fast or processed food, drink too much but hardly enough water, socialize with people who think and live like us, ignore the ‘other’, ignore pain, (even our own), ignore problems and sleep. Then we awaken to the barbaric sound of an alarm clock only to do it all over again. How many people stop to think about life, how we live it, and why?

We live with pain. We do many things to suppress and hide it. As life becomes more and more complicated and expectations get more and more unrealistic, people suffer. So much energy is exerted trying to find joy and any amount of peace. We entertain ourselves with soul disturbing music, watch violent, blood thirsty, surrealistic films and live in the shadows of life. We seek to have more and more possessions, more status, and more wealth as we drift further from each other. All this enhances our already over-developed sense of unreality.

People complain of compulsive disorders, anxiety, depression, psychosis, and are given quick-fix drugs to push them back into the work force; to be good consumers and exist in a comatose state of non-being; pushed further into a vacuum where the masses exist; where everything is nice, peaceful, ‘enough’; an illusion of well-being.

The family is being slowly dismantled. The once loving, supportive extended family is often scattered throughout cities and sometimes spread out between countries. Time and space separates the hearts that need each other so much. Family members are so distant from each other that it hardly seems worth it to try and get to know each other all over again. The loving circle that used to form around the individual has been replaced with government help, community-based projects and pensions. Though such things help to cushion some of life’s blows, they can never provide the stable foundation on which children grow and learn to deal with reality with love and an open heart.

Are we losing the last strong handhold that will prevent us from sinking into the chaotic push and shove of the rat race of the modern world? We have courses teaching us how to cope with stress, tension, and the pressures of modern life but has no one thought of a way to actually get rid of all these pressures once and for all? Can anyone show us the way back to our roots; to our humanity?

In distancing ourselves from each other; in denying who we are and living in isolation; in succumbing to the pressures of this materialistic, individualistic world, we miss out on the love and joy we can share with each other. We miss out on learning from each other and giving each other chances, just by being our simple human selves, to show kindness and forgiveness. In comforting each other’s pain, in sharing our resources, in forgiving each other’s weaknesses and in offering a helping hand, we can rekindle our humanity and turn the tides.

(Quran, 78:40) “...on the Day when man shall [clearly] see what his hands have sent ahead…”