posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 06:50 PM
In a very short time (when you take into account the whole of human history), we
seem to have become far too jaded to the ways of the world and we are growing
increasingly distant from our fellow man. It seems that the days of fellowship and loving
thy neighbor are rapidly going the way of the dodo.
Not even a decade ago, I can remember residents of the neighborhoods in my town
getting together and throwing housewarming parties for new members of the community.
Every Saturday morning, you had to make sure you drove slow through EVERY neighborhood in
town so as to avoid the massive number of children playing. Neighbors thought nothing of
knocking on any door in the neighborhood if they were in need of assistance; Be it money,
sugar or a ride to town. When a member of the neighborhood fell on hard times, it was
commonplace for the other members to get together and do everything they could to make
sure the less fortunate family was taken care of. On Halloween night, the children
wandered the streets in packs and laughter, shrieks and the hopes of good candy filled the night. Thanksgiving brought together whole communities to
share food, recipes,
best wishes, love and anticipation of the Christmas to come. Christmas itself was a time
of magic for children and adults alike, reflected in the countless lights decorations
that dominated the town.
As I write this, it is Friday night, November 30th. The laughter of children at
play will not wake me early tomorrow morning. When I walk outside, I will not have to
dodge a football or watch for bicycles as I back out of my driveway. I will pass the
local park (full of jungle gyms and toys we would have prayed for as children) and it
will be empty, save for the one single mom and her two children that are there every
Saturday morning. The merry-go-round will be motionless and the seesaws will be in the
same positions that they have been in for months now.
On my way to work, I will see one house decorated for Christmas and that house has a large homemade Snoopy cutout from "Peanuts" lying on top,
accompanied by the appropriate lights in the spirit of matching Snoopy's dog house during Christmas editions of the comic strip done so well by
Charles M. Schultz. As the month progresses, I doubt there will be more than one or two more homes in my area decorated this year. Seeing as I live in
an apartment building, we are not allowed to decorate our homes. Though, I doubt many would if we were allowed.
What has happened in the world? Where have all the children gone? Where are all the Christmas lights that, ten years ago, would have dominated the
Reality television shows, credit card debt, Myspace and other meaningless things have taken over our time. Instead of getting together with the
neighbor and going fishing or just visiting, we sit at home and watch Survivor and wonder who will be voted off next. Instead of taking the time to
greet our new neighbors and get to know them, we get on Myspace, Facebook or some other killer of real world social skills in attempts to "meet new
people" and "make friends". A great deal of us look at having 240 "friends" on Myspace as being far more important than 1 REAL friend or
neighbor. The "Social Network" has taken the place of the neighborhood.
As I sit here and think about these things, I cannot help but be reminded of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood", which I watched religiously as a child.
Naturally, his little opening song pops into my head.
"It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood
A beautiful day for a neighbor
Would you be mine
Could you be mine
It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood
A neighborly day for a beauty
Would you be mine
Could you be mine
I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you
So, let's make the most of this beautiful day
Since we're together we might as well say
Would you be mine, could you be mine
Won't you be my neighbor
Won't you please, won't you please
Please won't you be my neighbor"
Sure, it's simple, quaint and cheesy as hell by today's standards. But, this little song reminds me of the main problem the world faces today. We
have almost completely ceased caring about our neighbor.
Fred Rogers, while I'm sure he had as many skeletons in his closet as any of us (though most say he was very genuine), spent his life preaching
about caring for yourself and for your fellow human beings. He tried to teach adults and kids alike that everyday could be a beautiful day so long as
we had friends, family and neighbors to share that day with.
If we all lived with this philosophy, would things really be as bad as they seem these days? Would there be a 50% divorce rate? Would pedophiles and
rapists be as prevalent as they are today? Would it be dangerous to venture out at night alone? Would countless families have to worry every night
about losing their home, having food to eat or having their power turned off? Would there be single parents throwing their newborn children into
dumpsters or killing them in the restroom of a convenience store? Would illegal drugs be the epidemic that they are today? Would AIDS be such a
problem? Would money still rule our lives?
As each of us lay on our deathbed, what is it that we will be thinking about? Will it be the money we had or didn't have? Will it be who won the
second season of "Dancing With the Stars"? Or will we be thinking of the family that we have to leave behind and those that left before us?
10 years ago, I would have easily said that the majority of us would lay on our deathbed and think about the family and love that we must leave
behind. I would have said that most of us could have died in peace knowing that our loved ones are there for us in our ultimate time of need and
support. Today, however, I am not so sure.
I can't help but wonder how many people are dying alone now because their family has become more in love with money than them. Or how many people
die alone because their loved ones abandoned them long ago for some "persona" they met on Myspace.
Something that I have noticed lately is, most of us are completely losing our ability to socialize with REAL PEOPLE. A lot of us seem to completely
pull away from the world outside of our door in favor of trying to find friendship and love online. As the result of hardships we all face when in
social situations, a great number of us have chosen to "take the easy way out" and throw ourselves blindly into a world where anyone can be exactly
who and what you want them to be. Most of us seem to have become so damned cynical and weak that we are sacrificing all the truly great things in life
in favor of single serving happiness via an Xbox 360, the internet or a bottle of Jim Beam.
Just looking around the world in which we live today causes the mere THOUGHT of what the world will be like in another 10 years to scare the hell out
of me. What kind of future can any of us have if we continue to completely dehumanize ourselves and withdraw from the REAL world in favor of the
online world or a world of social seclusion?
Don't get me wrong, a bit of entertainment and the sharing of information with people the world over are NOT bad things. In fact, they are GREAT
things, but only in moderation. We, as a species, have a need for a social life. We have a yearning in each of us to give our love to someone else
while also receiving love from others. Yet, because of having been hurt in the past, a great number of us give up on real life and try to feel the
voids that remain with the "fake" love and caring that we can receive so easily online or after a night of tequila shots and jager bombs.
As a result of this attitude and behavior, we have countless numbers of single parents running around with 4 children by 4 different dads. We have
marriages that don't last a year and children that will never know their mother/father. This, in turn, has led to even more bitter and cynical people
who seem to be unable to realize that their problems stem from FALSE feelings based on the "image" of someone they thrust themselves so blindly upon
because they never really took the time to actually get to KNOW the person before hopping into bed with them.
Yes, I think the world might be a better place if more of us took Mr. Rogers' philosophy a bit more to heart. Sure, the world is not a perfect place
like the world of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" but, I refuse to believe that we can't make it a much BETTER place than it is now by taking the
simple philosophies of the show and utilizing them in our everyday lives.
I would love nothing more than to see the days return where I have to watch out for the children on Saturday morning and when I get more than 3 rings
of my doorbell on Halloween night. I miss seeing the stores full of children begging mommy and daddy to tell Santa Claus about the toy they want that
year and how good they have been while beaming a smile that could light up any room. Most of all, I suppose I just miss having true neighbors. Not
necessarily just someone who lives next door to me, but neighbors in the sense of having an extended family of friends that are there for each other
no matter what.
Who knows, the world may just benefit from us putting the words of Fred Rogers into practice. I do know that it's certainly worth a shot.
NOTE: The reason that I am putting this in general conspiracy is because I personally feel that many of the conspiracies we talk about here are
responsible for us becoming the way we are.
A few of those are the ones along the lines of "the government is trying to dumb us down by introducing chemicals into our food and water supplies",
"brainwashing of our children through the use of mind numbing television and such" and "conspiracies to drive us apart by making us anti-social".
Plus, it happens to be my favorite "hangout".