Tuesday, 22 January 2008

i'm dismayed

by the amount of talk of boredom, the joylessness i seem to encounter on the internet these days. so this article in today's independent appealed. this fellow occupies his commute by making paintings on the backs of his metro tickets. i'm loving his notebooks also. how much better to be doing something than droning on in a modern life is rubbish, i'm so bored vein

i used to do something similar when i lived in the city. if i was ever stuck for material i'd go for a walk and watch the people go by. easy. never failed. writer's block? lack of imagination!

thinking about it a bit more i'm remembering a conversation i had a work a few weeks back, me being the only uk resident, about the numbers of overdoses/self harms we were getting in. can't remember where these particular doctors were from but all over and their basic question was - what's going on with your young people? i couldn't and i can't answer. i can be flippant, as above, about modern life being rubbish but for far too many, it really is. and it's not just the admissions we get. why do so many, many people have as what appears to be their only answer, a prescription for some anti-depressants?

not that i'm anti-medication. they have their place and i'm all for them. but they're no good for joylessness, thwarted expectations, frustration etc. the default setting for a response to this is a guardianesque, something should be done. usually by the government and almost never by the person doing the asking. so long as we have someone to blame and so long as it isn't us!

i had no answer to the doctors' question. but i did ask them one in return which addressed our own work culture as well as that around it. why are we so crap at looking after each other? it costs so little and we gain so much. like me they had no answers. so we watched some tv.


antonia said...

i think that's because the perspectives are rubbish for many young people, sure people may not - or some do - go to bed hungry, but what awaits young people: sinking salaries while having to face increased pressure at work and at the same time no or less pensionfunding; universityeducation more expensive; even with some decent eductation lesser possibilities to land a job = a good job, like in the eighties were you needed only one and could make even a living and they couldn't sack you the next day & even the dentist was covered by the healthinsurance; housing more expensive; and the knowledge that things are closing in and not exactly will improve soonish. When living conditions develop in a way that most of the time people are struggling with keeping the head above water there won't be much time left to develop the emotional skills to deal with frustrations or to learn how to look after each other and so on, tv is the easier and also, more understandeable alternative. I think it's a very complex and disturbing problem that can't be easily solved, at least not with meds alone.

Sorlil said...

work, purpose/faith, the estrangement of one's political/social nature, and darwinism. work ought to be an end in its self as a self-affirming activity and not just a means to life but for how many is this the case? the residue of marxism in me still thinks that to be truly human is not primarily atomistic, individualist and material-centred man but rather it is to see oneself in association with others and to participate in the central social and political structures of society but for most this is not possible. the determinism and ultimate hopelessness that is the logical philosophical conclusion of darwinism also has a lot to answer for, well I think so anyway!

swiss said...

interestingly i'm just back from reading the bmj which suggests that suicide rate in dutch adolescents has risen 49% in the last five or so years. the bmj article suggests that attempts to link this with a reduction in prescription of ssri's are wildly speculative but even so, that's quite an increase

and while i agree with much of what both of you say i can't help feeling there's more at work. certainly among the young, there's a lifestyle issue, particularly amongst girls, which seems to see self harm almost as a rite of passage. and while disadvantaged home circumstances are undoubtedly a factor quite some number of our attenders come from well to do middle class homes. we call ths the idiot parent factor - some of the behaviours from all concerned have to be sen to be believed!

and while dealing with the young can be upsetting this client group is far from being composed solely of them, in fact our frequent flyers tend to be in the late 30s -50s age range.

my gut instinct is to disagree that it's not possible to associate with others. however it seems that there's a barrage of social factors that entrench individualist, self centred, selfish attitudes and predicate against it. i've worked wih some east germans recently and it'svery interesting to compare and contrast their upbringing with the likes of mine!