Attention as a metric? Is someone trying to ruin America?

What are the current metrics of merit?
They seem to have changed in my short lifetime, and I don’t like it.

Would you rather be liked or respected? Sometimes you have to choose.

Chasing likes amongst a sea of short attention spans with apparently no end to the degree of disgrace people are willing to go is creating a vortex of insanity. I was raised in the 80’s and 90’s with the values of hard work, honesty, kindness, and patience. When I hit rock bottom in 2008 because I wasn’t following these attributes, I placed my focus on these values again and charged forward with vigor. As I worked to build a really STRONG foundation for myself, I added in personal responsibility, self-awareness and service, I really thought I was onto something with these!

My conscious choice to strengthen the presence of personal responsibility, self-awareness and service within me was about 15 years ago, this is the philosophical base I have been building my personal approach to mental health, professional growth, spirituality, and emotional health upon for many years now.  It has worked very well for me, except over the last few years I have begun to question if these values are no longer relevant in our culture today?

I am able to find places where these values are still prioritized, but we all know there is a powerful force promoting something quite scary sweeping our nation, our people, perhaps our planet…

“Tolerance” to the point where we walk past people falling over in the street?

“Acceptance” to the point where we are letting people destroy their minds and their bodies, because “you do you boo!”

“Political correctness” to the point where we don’t feel comfortable opening our mouths?

“Safe spaces” that are so “safe”, you don’t have to the face the truth? 

If these principles are working, why are people infected with such desensitization where we film other people in conflict, as opposed to stepping in or stepping up? Why do we have homeless people crawling the sidewalks of nearly every city now? The problem is greater than anything the average citizen can address. Violence, homeless, mental health, disease… these are awful issues that are plaguing our people, yet, our behavior seems to be prioritizing something other than addressing these issues.

Traditional, apparently “conservative” values are being attacked and something else is trying to replace them.

The currency of “attention”

Could this be an overarching phrase to describe the decay of our America’s values? I’ll try to show why I think it could be-

I don’t believe in blaming inanimate objects for taking society in one direction or another, but I think social media could nearly be called a living entity.  I remember the internet first being introduced to the consumer around 1993ish, it was through AOL and Netscape, and you saw what you searched, and when Myspace came out, you saw the posts of the people you were connected to, it was simple, unfiltered, and private.

Now, it has morphed into a beast so important, where people are losing their jobs, getting expelled from schools, getting swatted, losing banks accounts… because of things they said on the internet.  This has clearly turned into something extremely powerful and it’s certainly influencing all of us in a major way.  I think we have an influence on it, however, it is now backed by trillions of dollars and I think the “shaping” maybe not be an equal 50/50 split.

That being said, referring to the absurd behavior and disturbing levels people are willing to go to in order to get views and likes, I’m seeing that attention seeking could be a partial explanation.  Chasing likes amongst a sea of short attention spans with apparently no end to the degree of disgrace people are willing to go is creating a vortex of insanity.

If our people are using likes and attention to measure their worth, how can we shift to a culture where people are motivated to become individuals who are accountable, honest and giving towards others?  It seems like attention seeking behavior is influencing people to act as crazy as possible. I don’t want to live in a society where that is promoted. I would like order and structure. How about you?

One thing that I’ve been finding helpful is to stop scrolling mindlessly through sites/apps like Instagram, Pinterest, twitter, telegram, etc.  My dear friend Eric (RIP) passed away last year and he was taking this kind of approach.  I would ask him if he knew about a certain current event and he usually didn’t, and he would tell me, “if I need to see it, it will come my way”.  I decided it’s time to take this type of approach and stop scrolling and liking… that in itself has given me back a ton of energy and peace.

Do you want common sense and order?  Or am I just an idealist?

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