All the Trouble in the World is a great PJ O’Rourke book, which I highly recommend, but that’s not important right now.
It occurred to me the reason we’ve got to this particular state of shambles is that we’ve given in to the therapeutic/do-gooder notion that we have to solve all the trouble in the world.
This is a relatively new notion. it used to be, when the West was mostly Christian (with a smattering of Jewish) that we assumed the troubles the world is full of would get solved when the redemptive event happened, be it the second coming, or the first, or whatever that will return the world to its perfect state under divine rule. And until then, fortunately, anyone who had it too bad on Earth got rewarded in heaven.
The problem is once you stop believing in that, no injustice, no ill, no lack of acceptance, no undeserved hurt could be ignored any longer. It all had to be fixed, right now. Justice had to be brought to every little creature. EVERYONE had to be happy right now, because there as no other time to be happy in. YOLO, am I right?
Except that humans are still humans. You can’t make everyone happy and fulfilled. H*ll, I’m my kids’ mother and have known them since they were born, and I can’t choose what would make them happy and fulfilled. I’d never have picked the really hard paths they chose. Why Robert thinks bliss is a packed ER room is beyond me.
Imagine me picking professions, payment, etc for total strangers.
And in the end that’s what that comes to. People picking in what way strangers are to be happy.
Which means people end up very unhappy indeed.
But even on their own, people can’t be happy because not everyone can end up doing what they want/marrying whom they want/living the way they want. A decent respect for the opinions of others might not hold us back but other things will. There are only so many people who can be astronauts after all, say. And no, not everyone can be a billionaire.
This workaday world doesn’t not have enough opportunities/rewards to make everyone happy. Most of my friends had instead to make their own happiness, after their first run at careers/marriage/motherhood/whatever turned out quite different from what they wanted. But they coped, they grew, and most of them found another kind of happiness, doing something else that was possible for them.
In most of the world that is called “being a grownup.”
The problem is that there are people who think you should be protected from every disappointment, every buffet, every slight. Everyone who wants something must be given it. No one can be told no, ever.
The problem is that when you do that to people they are not happy. Sometimes what you want is not what you need. BUT more importantly, you never learn to cope, with even minor set backs. So they have no give. The most minor issue will break them. It’s no surprise they feel micro aggressions. The princess can feel the pea under forty mattresses, after all. People who’ve never been cut will howl at a pinprick.
But it corrupts the do-gooders too. Their lack of success stings them. Understand, most of them start doing this out of genuine good intentions. And then it fails. Someone else must be doing this. It must be them, the haters, the wreckers, the saboteurs.
Because it can’t be human nature.
It all starts with good intentions. And it will destroy us unless we rub their noses in the fact they’re paving the way to hell.