The allure of materialism, the pitfalls of technology, and their combined impact on happiness in our contemporary society.
By Muniba Shafi
In the contemporary milieu, characterized by its relentless pace and perpetual evolution, the timeless quest for happiness endures as an enduring yet increasingly elusive aspiration. The denizens of the modern era find themselves confronted with an array of formidable challenges, including the pernicious specters of stress, the weighty burden of societal expectations, and the intricate web of issues spawned by the relentless march of technology. These formidable impediments cast a shadow over the pursuit of happiness, rendering it a pursuit fraught with difficulties. Furthermore, the conspicuous prevalence of materialistic pursuits over the cherished domains of well-being, coupled with the frenetic tempo of contemporary existence, has conspired to cast a pall over the overall levels of happiness experienced by individuals in the present age. The Cornerstones of a Fulfilling Life
To achieve happiness, it becomes incumbent upon us to accord primacy to two essential pillars of human flourishing: health and knowledge. Health, as the bedrock upon which a fulfilling life is constructed, furnishes us with the vigor and vitality necessary to savor the myriad joys existence has to offer. Simultaneously, knowledge serves as the fulcrum upon which the lever of informed decision-making pivots, enabling us to evolve, contribute meaningfully to society, and navigate the labyrinthine complexities of life with sagacity.
The contemporary tapestry of our lives often appears starkly dissimilar and less sanguine in comparison to yesteryears, marked as it is by sweeping societal transformations, mounting stressors, and shifting priorities. Nostalgia, while it may cast a sepia-tinged glow upon bygone days, cannot supplant the imperative of adapting to the exigencies of the present, a pivotal endeavor for fashioning a fulfilling future.
The “generation gap,” a term invoked to denote ideological disparities among individuals hailing from divergent generations, is frequently misconstrued as a bane that erodes the moral fabric of our progeny. However, a more nuanced perspective necessitates an acknowledgment of the profound disparities in circumstances and living conditions that have prevailed across the chasm of time. Most contemporary children are born to parents who themselves came of age in a vastly different era, engendering a palpable generational disconnect. The trajectory of modernity has ushered in a litany of advantages, yet it has not been without its attendant drawbacks. The shrinking of familial units and the concomitant expansion of the generation gap have become widely acknowledged byproducts of the march of modernization. Undeniably, modernization has bequeathed a plethora of conveniences, but it has also begotten the erosion of moral values, the proliferation of Western influences, and an uptick in substance abuse, especially among the youth, including young women.
Modernization has reduced the expanse of our world, facilitating interconnectivity, yet in the days of yore, people exhibited a greater degree of fervor and a sense of shared camaraderie. When it comes to matters of sartorial sensibilities, the 21st century has, in many respects, eroded the ethical moorings that once guided our attire, in stark contrast to the 19th century when modesty and appropriateness prevailed. Beyond sartorial matters, the transformative wave of modernization has engendered profound shifts in societal comportment. Comparisons with the 19th century reveal a marked contrast in industriousness, with modern society, regrettably, witnessing a predilection toward indolence.
In summation, our contemporary society finds itself ensnared in a conundrum where cherished values have been relegated, and the relentless march of progress has exacted a toll on various facets of existence. To revitalize our cultural and ethical compass, a concerted effort is imperative to harmonize our cultural heritage with the exigencies of the present age. In the present day, an unsettling materialism pervades, with individuals relentlessly chasing the elusive specters of wealth, power, fame, pride, and a panoply of luxury items such as ostentatious apparel and opulent abodes. The capricious sway of public opinion is prioritized over authentic self-expression, and an obsession with prestigious brands has given rise to standards that prove onerous to attain. Paradoxically, nations such as the United States, ostensibly brimming with affluence, find themselves grappling with alarmingly high rates of suicide, a poignant reminder that possessions do not necessarily equate to contentment. This malaise can be attributed, in part, to the omnipresence of technological distractions, exemplified by the ubiquitous cell phone. While these devices have ushered in undeniable conveniences, they have also exacted a toll on the environment, leaving us increasingly tethered to their digital embrace. The misuse of these devices by teenagers has exacerbated the moral fabric of our society, leading to a lamentable decline in genuine human connections.
We have forsaken our cherished bonds with parents, friends, literature, and outdoor recreation in favor of these ubiquitous gadgets, inadvertently nurturing a culture of immorality in this technological epoch. We have become ensnared in the throes of technological dependency, with gadgets assuming an indispensable role akin to sustenance and oxygen. It is incumbent upon us to liberate ourselves from the clutches of these devices in order to embark on a quest for genuine success and fulfillment.
In concert, let us endeavor collectively to fashion a world that is steeped in the values of health, knowledge, love, and humanity. Let us embrace the practice of self-care and commit to a lifelong journey of learning and growth. May we nurture authentic connections with our fellow humans and cultivate empathy as a guiding principle in our interactions. By embodying the quintessence of our shared humanity, we have the power to fashion a society characterized by happiness and harmony, where the virtues of compassion and understanding flourish. Together, we can reclaim the happiness reminiscent of days gone by.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of this newspaper. The author can be reached at [email protected]