This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to exist in today’s society. Yup, this one’s going to get deep. No, that is not what she said.
Recently, I met up with an old friend of mine. We only really live around the corner from each other, but due to the nature of our personalities we generally only speak maybe once or twice a month. He had also returned to college with me, but had classes that were out of sync with my own. He’s always struggled with education, but he’s always been a great thinker. This week he told me that he was done with education. He said he couldn’t hack it and would never be able to hack it. He says he wants to get out of this city, but without something to get you out you’re pretty much stuck here (see James Joyce’s Dubliners).
The problems we’ve both experienced is that society today is structured very different from society as recently as 100 years ago. Today you go through compulsory education and you’re told all the way through that you can be anything you want to be, but how do you choose? There’s simply too much choice. I’ve had these thoughts myself for years, and this week he said them aloud back to me. How can you choose what to do with your life when there is so much out there to do?
I think this is why I’ve travelled and dabbled. I’ve never been at ease with settling into one role, I’m not even sure I am happy with life become stagnant and routine. I’ve thought about this a lot over the past few months, about what I’d do with my college education. Would I do nothing with it, like so many people I’ve met, or would I do something that would mean I could potentially travel with the job for the rest of my life?
Life being the way it is today I don’t think I would have any problem with moving around. Sure, I’d want somewhere to call home, where I can come back to and take stock, but I don’t think I’d be entirely happy living in one place for the rest of my life.
I think that there’s something unique about society today, and I’m not just talking about British society, I’m talking about the world society. Now, more than ever, we’re all linked together. This generation is more alike across the world than any other time in human history, and we are spoilt for choice. Years ago we’d have grown up to become farmers, or blacksmiths, or dressmakers – now we’re growing up to become office workers or supermarket assistants.
So whilst we may be spoilt for choice with education at universities or vocational jobs, those of us who can’t handle education are forced into menial work that leaves you with barely 2 pennies to rub together after pay day. Yup, minimum wage jobs that barely pay you enough to live minimumly.
Society today is completely broken; we’ve got young people entering into education without any clue of how they’re going to get work afterwards, whilst those who are going into work are finding that they can barely afford to live. It reminds me of that dire Bond film “The World is Not Enough” where the token Bond girl has a line, “There’s no point in living if you can’t feel alive.” Today, right now, I feel like there is no point in living if I’m going to wind up in a dead end job working for bullshit pay that’ll let me live a little be longer to only die a poor old homeless man.