We live in a scary time, compounded by the fact that the world around us is failing. The last thing people want to do is voice their fears.
Here were some of the answers.
It Turns And Turns
Less and less people seem willing to compromise to get results. I totally understand that not all problems are solved by "everyone meeting in the middle", but the fact that it seems more important to be right than it is to find a way to make things work makes me scared. It just means that less and less stuff will be solved by discussion and consensus, and will instead be solved by zealots brute forcing their solutions on everyone and feeling justified because it was the right thing to do.
A comment I saw on reddit a few years ago describes it well. Paraphrased, it was something to the effect of: In the 21st century people no longer want to live in democracies. They want to live in dictatorships that agree with their views
Rate Of Change
There's this idea of the "singularity", theorized by Ray Kurzweil, which states that due to the geometric increase in technological progress that occurs in shorter and shorter time frames, eventually we will reach a point where technological progress occurs at a nigh-on infinite pace.
Regardless of whether or not you believe that eventuality, it's undeniable that our technology is already advancing at a far greater pace than during our parents time, and theirs far greater than their own parents time. Meanwhile, we're already seeing some major societal shifts with our own inability to adapt to the current rate of change.
Think of the problems today that are caused by not properly reacting to technological changes in the world that occurred say, 5 years ago, as the parent post points out. Now imagine if the same level of societal harm occurs for not immediately reacting to the 200 or so similarly mind-blowing, immediately accessible technological changes that just happened in the past week. Imagine if household electricity, electrical appliances, the personal computer, smartphones, cheap VR systems the size and weight of a pair of sunglasses, and a personal assistant with above-human level intelligence were all invented within a week, with another set of equivalent crazy changes due the following week. We'd all be totally, royally f*cked.
I live in a very liberal city, and one of the most shocking and sickening trends I've seen burgeon its way into public consciousness is the use of public shame and mob mentality to literally drive people out of the community based on nothing more than heresay.
One of my close friends was a cross-fire victim of a false racism accusation. One of her managers had old Nordic ruins tattooed on his knuckles and apparently some of those symbols had also been appropriated by a nazi gang who runs in our state. Someone had gone into their business, seen his knuckle tattoos, falsely assumed he was part of this nazi gang, and they put him on blast on a leftist fb page.
Overnight, he was targeted by DDoS attacks, and the next day he was receiving death threats. They stalked him home. Found out where his daughter went to school and stalked his daughter. His pregnant wife was also stalked, harassed, and was the victim of rape threats. All because he was falsely assumed to have been associated with some nazi gang. No one even asked him to clarify. Took him months to even figure out wtf was going on because as far as he knew, these people targeted him randomly.
My friend worked under him as an associate. People threw bricks through their storefront windows. She was followed home from work by angry groups of people who taunted her and accused her of "working for a nazi". She took long, circuitous routes home for 3mo afterwards because she was so afraid these people would find out where she lived and attack her.
There's something wrong with the world these days, I know... but mob mentality and social media brigades against unverified purported wrongdoers is not the solution to anything.
They Want Us To Fail
The rise of debt slavery. The average millennial according to time magazine is carrying $67k worth of debt mostly in student loans. That's insane. You have no freedom when you owe that much. Your life pretty much revolves around paying that money back, makes you less likely to take risks like changing careers or moving to a new city, and trashes your credit making new business loans and mortgages difficult to get. It pretty much ruins your life, and this is how the new normal.
I firmly believe that the current college situation has literally crippled an entire generation. They shot us in the kneecaps and left us to bleed out. I will not be able to buy a house until I'm probably 30 and I'm one of the lucky ones, I'm "only" 50k in debt with 2 very strong degrees. The housing market will collapse, nobody will have money to invest in retirement. We are so fucked and I'm not sure there's a whole lot we can do, other than wiping the hard drives, but good luck wiping a hard drive worth $1,300,000,000,000.
Band-aids Vs. Actual Fixes
The issue of "robots are taking our jobs!!"
Isn't the real problem that nothing else is changing accordingly, other than more money in company pockets??
Isn't the ideal to have tasks done by robots, and to have humans work less time or less hard, and live more? Relax more? Create more? Love more? Maybe if everyone had more time and/or less stress, we could actually work to improve the society that we're all hopelessly overwhelmed by.
This also branches to the issue that people need to be a certain amount of "useful to society" to be allowed food and shelter... there has to be a better system than this.
Everyone is talking climate change, but only the most radical environmentalists are discussing the possibility that everything about the way society is organized and ran today is incompatible with long term sustainability. It's easy to forget the industrial revolution as a whole began maybe 10 generations ago.
I've been wondering whether there isn't a fundamental incompatability between environmental sustainability and economic development. Economics is so fixated on eternal growth, when we've only got so many raw materials to go around. Earth overshoot day is earlier and earlier each year. At some point, we've got to just run out, right?
Nothing Is Available For Trust
Believe it or not, an over-reliance on the word of scientists, particularly as interpreted by journalists.
As a scientist myself, I of course "believe in science," but the system is far from infallible. In fact, we are in a crisis of irreproducible results right now because work is so poorly done and improperly vetted before publication. Don't think bad science won't see the light of day, institutions can't wait to put out press releases for anything someone gets published.
Mix all this with journalists who sensationalize things and don't really understand them in the first place, and it becomes very scary to me how this becomes straight-up dogma to so many people. Good science exists but it is rare, and a good science journalist is even less common. People need to be more critical about what they are reading.
The Selfish Life
That being selfish is becoming lauded. For the past ten years, it's been more and more common to see people on tv or social media talking about "putting themselves first" and "needing me time" and "treat yoself" and "retail therapy." Call me a cynic, but this isn't a great new social movement, this is consumer culture wanting you to spend more, to consume more, to shop more.
People talk these days as if being selfish is some kind of virtue, as if everyone is trying to enslave them to responsibility and they are bravely shaking off the shackles by "putting themselves first" and "being a little bit selfish." That might be an admirable sentiment in (very) small doses - you totally have to look after yourself - but you also need to consider other people and the consequences of your actions.
There is a difference between genuine self care and constantly indulging yourself. Genuine self care isn't cutesy and wouldn't make a good instagram post; it's things like eating vitamins, brushing your teeth, speaking politely in situations where you might want to get angry, being a good citizen, going for exercise when you don't necessarily feel like it, etc.
But I see so many people talking like doing whatever makes their life easiest in the moment is the best option for them, and like "the best option for them" is "the best option". No. Sometimes, you should put other people first. ALL THE TIME, you should consider how your actions affect people close to you, and society.
Eating a ton of cupcakes is not brave. Ghosting relationships rather than doing some work to save them is not brave. Walking out on your kids to "put yourself first" is not being empowered. You have responsibilities. Other people are affected by what you do. I can't believe what behaviour I see people participating in and then justifying it with taglines like these. I actually think it's harrowing, and I worry about what society has become.
I may not have made any sense here, but this is something that weighs on my mind a lot.
Your Personal Sphere
I'm terrified about how little people care about anything happening outside of their immediate emotional spectrum. I know far more people who will exhaustively talk about some personal happenstance but when introduced to anything new they shut down. In contrast to people who will listen to something new simply because they have never heard about it before.
Curiosity might kill but lack of it may be deadlier.
A Future Dark
The lack of stability, the rise in partisan politics and the outright lack of vision in governments around the world, my case is prominent in Australia.
In the past decade I have probably changed tyres less than we have had a change in Prime Ministers, both major sides have to be almost polar opposed on any issue and I cannot see the hope for any major infrastructure projects especially as this partisan politics fucked the NBN which would have given us 21st century internet and somewhat futureproofing but now we have a broken mixed technology fix which is corrupt and not fit for purpose.
Not to mention an ill thought out high volume immigration policy which is making things worse.