What's wrong with the world? I know, I dove in deep real quick, right? But seriously. It is a question that has eluded the minds of leaders, thinkers, and philosophers for ages with seemingly no evident end to the amount of answers or possible solutions associated with it.
Now more than ever in a day and age where everything done in the dark is brought to the light through social media and the ever expanding possibilities of technology, more and more people find themselves asking this question. Especially with the recent events happening in Charlotesville, VA, with the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan and the once thought defeated, fascist idealism of the Nazis. Even the children are becoming more privy to the hate, violence, and unethical behaviors that we so desperately try to shield them from creating an illusion for them that the world is as perfect and untainted as their innocence. An illusion we too are in danger of submitting ourselves to.
The first step to fixing any problem is realizing that there is one; however, trying to pinpoint the source of this unethical epidemic to one thing or a categorized group would be nearly impossible. But, I believe I have come across the most profound and most real explanation to understanding the problems we face as individual societies and ultimately as a human race.
In 1908, Times Newspaper presented well renowned authors with the essay question “What’s Wrong With The World?” G.K. Chesterton asked this question and responded with an answer that was not one of complex theories or mind-boggling concepts, but a simple two word response. Two of the most simple words of the English language which ruptured the thinking of people across the nation:
Regarding your article What's Wrong With The World? I am.
I know right, mind blowing. When I first heard this my sophomore year of high school, I thought nothing of it. Like cool, he wants to take on the weight of the world on his shoulders, cool. Relieves some of my burden. However, after some much needed mental maturing, I revisited this, and I come to realize this man couldn't be more right.
My name is Jalen Christopher Ralls-Franklin, and I am what's wrong with the world. Not a lack of resources that continuously adds to world hunger and poverty, not the dramatic shift in climate and landscapes that our world experiences, but me. I am what's wrong with the world. There were countless times in my young nineteen years that I looked away. Hundreds of times where I had the chance to do something, to speak up, but didn't. And thousands where I just straight up said "I don't give a #$@&%*!."
Hey, I’m just being real. Time and time and time and time again I refused to care or do anything about it. The new kid, fighting back the tears as the older kids harass, bully and beat him to a pulp. The man on the bus with no shoes, rugged clothing, and me turning a blind eye because he wasn't all that appealing to look at. We've all seen something like this, and more likely than not we've done nothing about it. If you're the exception who has seen a need and filled it, then hats off, for real, because you're a better person than I am.
I have contributed to the violence because too many times I have seen these such people and saw them as objects rather than human beings, and that in itself is a violent act against human nature. I have been selfish, ill-mannered, unaware of the afflictions of the people. I didn't educate myself and become aware of the world issues enough to the point where I can be a vocal advocate for change and I have ultimately failed this world. If we are being honest with ourselves truth is, we all have, but I can’t speak for you. Only for me.
Just imagine for a few seconds, the immense power we possess. The power to shape and form a system of societies complete with the values and morals we deem it to have. We have put money, which in its simplest form is nothing more than a collection of woven cotton and linen fibers, at the forefront of our society. Being well liked over building genuine relationships with people. Getting rich and keeping to yourself, instead of giving back and helping others. Where we have the opportunity to endorse love we inject hate. Where we could have given we taught our kids how to take. Where we could have built up those to learn how to fix a problem, we teach them how to ignore it. This the world we created. A world where we had the power and potential to create everything good, but left the future to exist with anything but. That’s on us.
We’ve all committed a misdeed that has contributed to this world’s demise. No matter how big or how small, we’ve all done something and it is not until we ALL collectively humble ourselves and in one sincere breath proclaim “I am” that we can begin to undo the damage and heal the world. It’s not about putting the blame on him or her or them because they did this way worse than we did. It’s about accountability and taking ownership for our actions. In the words of one of the greatest performers to ever live, the late Michael Jackson, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways...If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change.”
Regarding the question “What’s wrong with the world today?” I am. I’m the problem...but I’m also the solution.