Is Decadence a sign of Growth?

by on June 15th, 2005

“Relationships”: Perhaps the most widely abused concept in the dating scene amongst teen and young people today. It has a certain subversive inflection to it that connotes a decadent euphemism.

An theoritical word tottering on the verge of profanity; involving contraception, control, gratification, unsettlement, and impatience; at least one-third of all teens by the time they have pubesced into ‘responsible adults’ at the age 18 have had anywhere from six to ten of these ‘relationships’.

A certain dictionary defines this word as “the connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with each other, especially as regards how they behave and feel toward each other and communicate or cooperate”. Communicate and cooperate. Right.

“About 50% of first marriages for men under age 45 may end in divorce, and between 44 and 52% of women’s first marriages may end in divorce for these age groups. The likelihood of a divorce is lowest for men and women age 60, for whom 36 % of men and 32 percent of women may divorce from their first marriage by the end of their lives. A similar statistical exercise was performed in 1975 using marital history data from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Projections based on those data implied that about one-third of married persons who were 25 to 35 years old in 1975 would end their first marriage in divorce” reports the U.S. Census Bureau, in its February 2002 report.

Obesity is on the rise amongst young children these days at unprecedented rates with the proliferation of fast food outlets, seductive advertising snippets, and groupthink and standardization in peer association.

These fat kids in their spare time, after completing their ‘homework’ chores using sophisticated technologies such as PowerPoint, excel, Microsoft Word, are also adept at basic computer languages, and technology tweaking.

I know a kid. Let’s call him Mustafa. He is a budding expert at dealing with computers and relationships. He obsesses over the technology of html and C++, the latest developments in digital software, and the delicate technology of the human heart trying to reconcile itself with the technology of basal instincts: Tears, Sperms, and Computer chips.

Mustafa made his own computer, but now he wants a ‘relationship’ of his own: Desperately.

A lot of people, fat, divorced, or lean or engaged, participate in the online community whose features are growing rapidly. A computer doubles its capacity and resources every eighteen months, and new streamlined technology with subtleties and potential are surfacing, making information more accessible and at once more specific.

It is possible these days to access soft porn, and hard porn, keep abreast with the latest twist in ‘relationships’ of celebrities. One can harness detailed expertise on anything ranging from the G-Spot to Globalization. Both options are there in equally comprehensive proportions, along with everything in the betwixt.

Is this rapid rise in options contributing to social melee? Naturally.

“Almost 50 percent of Americans will develop a mental illness at some point in their lives” according to the researchers of a Harvard study lead by epidemiologist Robert C. Kessler.

“Kessler and colleagues found that 18 percent had a serious anxiety disorder; 10 percent depression or bipolar illness; 9 percent an impulse disorder; and 4 percent a severe problem with drugs or alcohol. One in 5 had a disorder classified as serious.” As reported by Baltimore Sun, an acclaimed mass publication in Maryland.

The information did not come to me as a surprise. It was a somber reassurance of what I already knew to be an obvious and warranted fact.

Every other person I’ve met in the last five years has demonstrated some kind of craziness.

People obsessed with ‘multitasking’ and ‘planning’ prancing around like skittish squirrels, consumed with automaton tasks and recited rhetoric, issuing self-pitying epithets like “I need a vacation”, “I am tired, but I’ll keep going”, “I am about to collapse”, and “I need that coffee, make it 24 oz.”.

Caffeine is the most abused drug in this country, so much so, that prices for coffee beans has risen considerably over the last decade, as demand is overwhelming supply.

Then there is the garish tapestry of the paranoid and the unhappy. Jilted ‘lovers’, abused ‘lovers’, ‘lovers’ tired of ‘playing games’, ‘lovers’ tired of compulsive sex.

Nothing reflects the phenomena like popular music.

Consider this song by The Cardigans called >‘Lovefool’:

“Dear, I fear we’re facing a problem

you love me no longer, I know

and maybe there is nothing

that I can do to make you do

Mama tells me I shouldn’t bother

that I ought to stick to another man

a man that surely deserves me

but I think you do!

So I cry, and I pray and I beg

Love me love me

say that you love me

fool me fool me

go on and fool me”

love me love me

pretend that you love me

leave me leave me

just say that you need me”

Yet, in this decadence, there is a yearning. In this intensity there is a quest.

As the quantity of disenchanted folks grows geometrically, so does the need to find salvation.

Bookstores are strewn with self-help books dealing with Pilates, Yoga, Meditation, detoxification, and anti-stress manifestos.

People are growing increasingly disengaged from the impotence of effete institutions, like ‘religion’, ‘public education’, ‘relationships’, and ‘McDonald’s’ and searching for answers engendered in Spirituality.

The trends are alarming. But it is in the recognition of this alarm that the hope persists.

Meanwhile, the great struggle on technological, spiritual, and physical fronts are creating a higher intelligence, expanding the reasoning facilities of the mind.

These subtle and intricate surges within our neural pathways and chemistry will indubitably mutate into a higher strata in evolution, once the intensity is reconciled in composure, and our collective needs are collectively placated.

Alexander Rai