Today 20 US elementary school children lost their lives to the hands of a man with a gun. Gun control advocates are up in arms claiming that we need stricter gun control and more availability of help for the mentally “unstable”. Sure, taking guns away from the citizens would stop gun violence (not including the fact that history has shown time and time again making something illegal doesn’t make it unobtainable) but then how can we explain and prevent what also happened in China today?
While the mentally deranged may be the only ones that will act upon their frustrations they’re certainly not alone in their grief. I’m referring to people who have been chewed up and spit out by society. Humans are wildly diverse and the truth is that not everyone fits into the idealized capitalist lifestyle. It can leave one feeling like a puzzle piece that’s a part of the wrong puzzle, you feel this sense that you fit somewhere but you know its not here. The problem is there are no other puzzles, this is it. So instead, society pushes on you like a toddler trying to make you fit anyway. Society doesn’t understand that you aren’t meant to fit here. After enough pushing two things can happen: the person either bends and sort of fits anyway (Its never a perfect fit, but enough to survive. These people rarely prosper however.) or they break. Breaking is different for everyone who experiences it, but its seldom pretty. Dealing with the fact that everything you’ve ever understood about your life is a lie and the feeling that you literally have no solution is overwhelming and can very often lead to mental health issues. Now for most that’s not shooting up elementary school kids but it only takes one, doesn’t it?
With the current rapid industrialization and the constant focus on “progress” many people are treated less as human beings and more as disposable “progress fuel”. We treat ourselves like worker ants, not birds of paradise. While effective and efficient, as shown in ant colonies, it doesn’t allow for much for self expression and individuality. However, as children, this is exactly what we are conditioned to want. “You are a special snowflake” is what children grow up hearing. They’re told to stand up and told to speak. And just as soon as they’re starting to become comfortable with themselves they become a number. Children enter the school system and realize that there are a hell of a lot of snowflakes and they all look a lot like them. The ones that accept now that they’re not special are the lucky ones, they’re the ones that’ll fit in society. The trouble is with the ones that refuse to believe it. These children then grow up still believing they are special and that somehow, despite all the logical adversity, they are going to grow up to the glamorous futures that their parents told them they would and make tons of money and obtain happiness. At this point, their sense of entitlement about life grows to be too powerful and they become the people who don’t fit in the puzzle. Society wants us to shut up and go back to spinning as a cog in the giant machine but that’s not the world they have always believed waited for them. So the pushing begins and as stated they either bend or break.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Are we not just setting ourselves up for failure? It seems to me we can place blame in two ways. Either we can blame modern parenting for teaching children to expect so much out of life or we can blame society for clipping the wings of children. I don’t see how we can ask parents to tell their children they are “average”, that’s against human nature and would likely lead to a plethora of other psychological issues. Society is what needs to change if we want to prevent the “breaking of the human puzzle piece”. Placing an organic and blossoming human mind in a cage is what leads to madness.
“Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”