Bystander Syndrome – the modern version

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We’ve all heard about it, people staring at someone in difficulty and not raising a finger to help. When I was a kid it was called Bystander Syndrome and despite everyone agreeing what an awful thing it is, most are guilty of it. I’ve been on the receiving end of it myself. I was attacked in the street when I was sixteen by a stalker and no one helped me. I’ve heard people saying, “oh let’s not get involved, pretend we didn’t notice.”

The modern version of this is Bystander-With-Camera Syndrome. We’ve all seen the videos and photographs on social media. The crimes being committed, the accidents happening, the embarrassing moments, and we all laugh, cry, or are shocked together. Never do I see anyone commenting as to why the person was filming when they could’ve been helping. Now, instead of just pretending you haven’t noticed and slinking away, you get out your smartphone and brazenly film that young girl being beaten to death, or the man being killed, or the dead body of the dog that was hanged by a group of youths.

I wish I knew the reason why people do this. Surely it is better to be regarded as a hero for helping out, rather than the sicko that filmed it and didn’t help, or am I missing a vital point?

The added twist nowadays is the obligatory social media post, which usually goes something like this.

‘This sicko killed this dog. Let’s share this photo all over Facebook so that poor creature can have justice.’

Forgive me for being a tad dense but how the fuck does sharing the photograph over social media bring justice? So you believe the victim deserves justice eh? Then why aren’t you phoning the police instead of filming it or sharing it over social media? Do you really believe that Mark Zuckerberg is going to take all your shares and magically jail the sickos?

I really fail to understand the mentality of the amoeboid sludge that inhabits this planet in the guise of intelligent life.

Reading – only for the middle classes?

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I had a very interesting conversation the other day that got me thinking about who reads books these days. A friend of mine casually commented that she was helping out during the school summer holidays by listening to groups of children reading and talking about the books they read. One of the things she has noticed since doing this, is that only certain types of children seem to be reading at all.

The women that run the scheme were of the opinion that it is only children from the upper middle classes that read and are encouraged to do so by their parents. It is her experience that children from working class or poorer backgrounds never take part in this scheme. I wonder why this should be.

My first thought is to wonder if the educational standards available to poorer families are lower than those available to the less poor. I quickly dismissed this as not entirely applicable due to the way our British educational system works. Unless you are rich enough to send your child to public school, everyone goes to the same schools regardless of income. I went to the local comprehensive along with eleven hundred other kids from various backgrounds and I remember most of them being of a far lower reading standard that me.

Perhaps the cause lies in how reading is perceived by the various classes of society. Many people live in inner city environments, they struggle financially with many spending years on benefits, and many come from families that haven’t gone out to work for generations. Inner cities are a different environment to grow up in than rural areas and children grow up with an extended ‘family’ consisting of other kids from the same environment. Gangs are a part of city living and kids grow up without the experience of emotional and mental self sufficiency that is available to those in rural communities. Inner city kids who spend their free time playing in the street or running with gangs will likely look upon reading as ‘cissy’ and of little value to their vision of what lies ahead for their lives.

I believe that the class divide is the likely candidate for reading’s unpopularity. Not only are reading standards down among those in poorer, inner city areas but the idea that reading is important is lower in those same people. When you have parents that have never gone out to work and gained any kind of work ethic to pass on to you, your values change according to your circumstances. Your priorities change to suit your environment and if that environment is a deprived inner city where gang culture rules the streets, trying to ‘better yourself’ is a way to make yourself a target for aggression. Far from being an environment they wish to get out of, the deprived inner city way of life has become a culture all its own, of which its people are proud to belong, and which they fiercely defend. It brings with it a set of unique rules and cultural taboos and reading is not a priority.

So what are we to do? Do we try to change this situation, and if so, how? Should we try to change it at all, and if not, why not? Society has always been fluid, evolving with its people as the generations come and go. Whether we fight or go with the flow, one thing is for sure – if we give up the defence of reading for good, we can never bring it back once it’s gone. The moment we lower our reading standards and priorities, we can never raise them again. We must decide whether we are prepared to bid reading a fond farewell or keep hold of it, even if it does become the sole preserve of the upper classes.

Book or movie person?

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Are you a book person or a movie person? I don’t mean exclusively, most people enjoy both but in my experience we always enjoy one a little more than the other. The balance may be close, but it’s always there. Personally, movies take the lead for me.

I get more inspiration when I can see the action taking place than I can when I’m reading about it happening. A movie enables me to get absorbed into the environment and characters more fully than a book does. When watching a character interacting with his or her environment, I can instantly see whether his reactions could be made better in some way. A book cannot do this. If you’re not clued up on psychology, it’s easy to make your characters less than believable when you have only your mind with which to ‘see’ his interactions.

Watching a movie takes no more than a couple of hours and you can watch it over as often as you want and examine every nuance of each character’s behaviour. In this way, you can watch and learn about how people react in a given circumstance much easier than by reading it. If a movie character seems believable, examining his every move, right down to subtle facial movements will help you when writing your own characters. If characters seem wrong, more careful examination will help you identify why and how they’re wrong and you can avoid making the same mistake in your own writing.

Too often, movies are met with disdain by purist book lovers but I say take the time to watch them closely and you might just learn something valuable.

Are you a book person or a movie person?

Inspiration for fiction writers – Two Steps From Hell – Victory

Anything from Two steps from Hell is top of my inspirational music list. I can’t write with music playing as I find it distracting, so I listen every time I take a break. A little burst of inspiration every now and then. Hope you enjoy it.

I’d be interested to know where you find your writer’s block cure.

Deadpool – movie review

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Another highly anticipated Marvel offering, the Deadpool hype began long before we got to see the actual film. I won’t pretend to be a Marvel expert, nor even much of a fan but I like superhero movies so I decided to give this one a go when it came out on DVD.

Ryan Reynolds is the strawberry clad hero in this action packed epic and he does a good enough job in the role. To be truthful, there’s no way of knowing how much of the character we see is actually Ryan Reynolds, since he wears a full face mask for 90% of the movie. It’s probably a stunt double most of the time. Whoever it is, he has a nice ass, but I digress.

Deadpool is standard Marvel fare. Action, fighting, love interest, fighting, car chases, fighting, a bad guy who holds the key to the character’s redemption, fighting, and death defying stunts. Did I mention fighting? There’s lot of it, and plenty of blood and gore. Although not overtly gratuitous, it’s borderline. I’m tempted to believe that this is an attempt to cover up for the lack of any real plot or depth.

Where this movie differs from the rest is the humour. The character is meant to be funny, but a warning here to all non-Americans, it isn’t that funny. American humour is a unique being and as an English woman, it failed to touch me. I laughed three times in total. The opening and closing credits are funny, and the bit where he chops off his own hand but that was it for me as far as laughs go. It seems to me that a group of old men locked inside a dusty office decided to try and put some funny bits into an action movie, but failed. Maybe I’ve just got a weird sense of humour. That’s always possible.

As usual, the effects and stunts are awesome and the costumes are cool. It would be nice though, to see one superhero who doesn’t wear brightly coloured spandex. What is it with that? Why is that a thing?

I don’t think the character has enough depth for a sequel, so I feel it best that Ryan Reynolds backs out of the room slowly.

The Revenant – movie review

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Winner of 3 Oscars, this movie stars Leonardo DeCaprio and Tom Hardy in a tale allegedly inspired by true events. DiCaprio plays legendary explorer Hugh Glass as he struggles for survival and revenge against unbelievable odds.

Visually, this movie is spectacular, with breathtaking scenery of a very wintery American wilderness. There are a few ‘yuck’ moments which add a visceral, edgy quality that prevents the movie from becoming a schmaltzy ‘survival against the odds’ yawn. The special effects are awesome and fit seamlessly with the context, avoiding any hint of the magical or fantastic.

Advertised as, ‘inspired by’ true events, I personally found it a little over the top and suspect that a rather large dollop of artistic licence has been added to the actual historical facts on which the movie is apparently based. I am left wondering just how much ‘inspiration’ they took from the facts. This is one of two things that disappoint me about it, because the dialogue is decidedly dull. The characters spend much of the movie grunting their way through fight scenes, screaming in pain, and growling revenge. The only relationship dynamic is between the two lead characters, and that is flat at best.

The ‘survival’ aspect of the story has, I feel, been taken too far, making DiCaprio’s character and his experiences, unbelievable. We all know movies build things up a little but this one is too much. The native Indians in the movie come across as simpletons, little better than grunting savages without any basic ability to reason or make sound judgements. I feel this does them an enormous disservice.

I am left wishing I had seen it before buying the DVD, as I feel I have wasted my money on a movie I doubt I’ll watch again. Not Leonardo DiCaprio’s best career moment.

I give this movie 2 stars for stunning visuals.

Using Twitter to build your brand

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As anyone with a product to sell or brand to build will know, getting your name known ‘out there’ is the hardest job of all. Whether you’re an author, painter, carpenter, website builder, yoga teacher, or armadillo trainer, getting known, for yourself as well as your product/service is a thankless and laborious task. Unless you have pots of money to give to a marketing firm who will do the work while you sit back and sip your latte, you will have to spend some regular time using the internet.

The operative word here is use. I don’t mean surf, I mean use, make use of. There is a difference. Unfortunately that difference means some time on your ass, typing, but it will be worth it.  For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to concentrate on Twitter as it’s the most intensively used social media for branding, as far as I can tell from daily observation anyway.

I’m going to take it as given that you have a Twitter account that you use regularly and some followers. You will also need a pro Hootsuite account. The pro version doesn’t cost much, less than $10 per month, but you can’t follow this method without it. If you don’t have both of these, go get them and come back here.

One thing worth noting here. I’m not saying that what follows is the best way to approach branding on Twitter, or the only way. It’s my way and I’ve found it less time consuming than other ideas I’ve been told about, and far less expensive.

The secret is CONTENT.

Let’s break things down to simple terms. I want you to do three things. Know my name, know my product, and want to try my product. In order to do this, a lot of people on twitter simply flood their feed with demands to “buy my shit, it’s better than anyone else’s shit.” Of course we all know their shit is probably not better than anyone else’s, and the terse way they bombard us with demands that we buy their shit, puts us off doing so. This type of ‘call to action’ marketing is seldom successful and pisses everyone off no end.

No, what I have to do is let you know I exist first, in a non confrontational way without asking you to do anything for me. I want you to know I’m a nice person, witty, clever, helpful, and have a great sense of humour. It’s the kind of thing you do on a first date. In order to give you the chance to get to know me as a person, I fill my Twitter feed with all sorts of stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with my product. These tweets are known as ‘content.’

You will see this content on your feed, if you are one of my followers, and will hopefully find it interesting, thought provoking, and sometimes funny. You will think, “she’s cool, she’s into the same stuff as me.” Or you might think, “her funny memes are awesome, I think I’ll retweet them.” Then again you might think, “that article she linked to was just what I needed to sort out that problem I was struggling with.” Do you see what’s happening here? You’re beginning to think I’m the dogs bollocks. Because you like me now, you will be more willing to retweet my tweets, and when you finally see one that pertains to my product, a book link, you are less likely to scroll on past.

That is how content works, in a nutshell. So how do we do it? It’s easy really but there is an outlay of work at the beginning, and regular upkeep each week. There are four basic steps.

Compiling your list of content from around the internet.

Making your blocks of tweets.

Producing a csv file in Excel.

Upload the finished csv file to Hootsuite.

The first step is by far and away the most work. It involves trawling the internet for articles, videos, meme’s, blogs, lists, anything you want to include in your content.  It is important to keep your content relevant to your product. If you are a carpenter, you don’t want to post recipes or cute kitties, unless of course they have a funny ‘woodworking’ angle. As a science fiction author, my content is outer space, science fiction, NASA, writing, and everything relevant to my subject. You want to attract people who are interested in the broad subject within which your product lies, so this will help you target your content.

Step two is making up blocks of tweets. I do blocks of six, but you can have any number you like. I would say that four or five is probably as low as you should go. My blocks consist of an article, a list, a video, a quote, a funny meme, and a book link, in that order. These blocks of six are repeated throughout my entire content list. Notice that only one in every six tweets are about my product, my books. This means that my followers can get to know me without the hard sell and when a book tweet comes along, they don’t mind because they know I give them lots of other interesting stuff too.

Next you need to build your csv file in Excel. You will be scheduling your content via Hootsuite, which demands a csv file so there is no choice here. Fortunately it’s easy, just filling in two columns of a spreadsheet in Excel.

Open a blank Excel sheet. You will be using the first two columns only. In column A, you will be putting the date and time of each tweet. In column B goes the tweet itself. The tweet needs to include a link to the article, video, meme, or whatever, and for this you will need to use a link shortener. There are loads to choose from on the internet, but I find it quicker and easier to use Hootsuite’s own.

hootsuite link shortener

If you’ve not used Hootsuite before, above is a screenshot of the tweet input box. Notice I’ve put a URL in the long narrow bit at the bottom? Click ‘Shorten’ and you end up with a nice short link that won’t take up all of your 140 characters.

hootsuite link shortened

You can also add hashtags to your tweets if you wish. Many people on twitter search by using hashtags, so they are useful if you want your tweets to get noticed by people who don’t (yet) follow you. Make them relevant to the tweet itself or you will quickly receive angry tweets from several thousand irate twitterers. Believe me, I know. There is a very useful tool you can use when compiling tweets with hashtags. If you go here you can type in a word and get a readout that tells you how many people use that hashtag.

Excel looks like this:

excel sheet example

I’ve put a block of six example tweets to illustrate how the list is built. Continue building your blocks of tweets, making sure only one tweet per block is about your product/service.

Next you need to decide how often you want your tweets to go out. I do one every thirty minutes throughout three quarters of the day. My tweeting day starts at 10:30am and goes right through to 5am the following morning. I’m in England, so I make sure I catch the folks who stay up late in the USA before breaking it off. We’re 5 or 6 hours ahead here, depending on whether it’s summer saving time or not, so my tweets go out until midnight in the USA and start again at 5am their time.

Build your time preferences into your list. You don’t have to take a break each day, I do because Hootsuite will only schedule a maximum 350 tweets at a time so I can do a week at a time. It also means I can use those tweets in busier parts of the day when more people will see them.

Back to Excel to do column A with your dates and times. This is the part that will require the regular maintenance I spoke of earlier. This is another reason I schedule a week at a time. It cuts down the time spent editing the dates in my spreadsheet.

You have a choice of two date input types. You can either have mm/dd/yy or dd/mm/yy. Whichever type you choose, input your dates and times with date first, followed by time. See my examples in the screenshot above. I’m English so I use dd/mm/yy and mine go like this:

01/01/2016 02:00

Once you have your list, with enough tweets going out at your chosen time interval, for the period of time you want, save the spreadsheet as a csv file. You will notice that there are two choices of csv file, macintosh and MS Dos. I use MS Dos and have never had a problem. I assume that the other one is for Mac users (?). You will get a box pop up asking you if you’re sure you want to save as a csv and saying some features might not work etc etc blah blah blah, click yes. When you go to close Excel, the same box will pop up, click ‘don’t save’ this second time.

Now to upload your file to Hootsuite for scheduling. On the far left side of your hootsuite dashboard, click on the icon that looks like a paper aeroplane. This is Publisher and the place for scheduling tweets ahead of time. Down the page a bit, click on ‘Bulk Message Upload.’ A box will pop up.

hootsuite upload box

Choose your file, click on the date input type and ‘submit.’ Then pray. If there are any problems, they will be listed at the bottom of the box. Basically, it won’t allow more than 350 tweets, duplicate tweets, or tweets that are not scheduled for at least ten minutes ahead. If you get any, go back and check your date and time input, it’s easy to make mistakes in Excel especially when updating week after week.

Make sure every tweet is different, it won’t allow duplicates. This will probably only apply to those tweets pertaining to your product. I have twelve books out, and making forty to fifty different tweets for each one is a huge pain the rectum, believe me. If you want, you can change a full stop for a comma, change a comma for a full stop etc, or change a word or two to make it different, I did this when compiling my lists. Once you’ve corrected any mistakes, your tweets will be scheduled and will go to your twitter as per your instructions.

It is then time to go back into your Excel spreadsheet and edit your dates so that you can reschedule the list. I have three lists of 264 tweets each, which means that apart from my book tweets, all the others are unique and different. My followers don’t see the same tweet for three weeks. Personally, I feel that less than a week between repeats is pushing people’s attention span and patience.

To edit your Excel list, click on the entries in column A and edit them in the edit box. If you look at the example of my Excel sheet, you will notice I’ve highlighted one entry in column A, which has been copied to the edit window right in the middle of the photo.  It’s next to the funny shaped F. Edit your entries in there, click return and it will automatically go to the next one in the column.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Remember to resist the temptation to fill your list with hundreds of “Buy my shit NOW” demands. Keep those to one per block of five or six. Your followers will thank you for it and you will quickly see retweets in your notifications. You will find people add you to their lists, comment on some of your content tweets, laugh at the meme’s. Your followers will get to know you without feeling you’re pressuring them to buy. If they like your content, they might decide to try your product one day.

Building your brand isn’t about getting rich quick. It’s about building your name and brand on firm foundations that will last and grow.

 

Another end of year lookback

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We’re almost at the end of 2015 and I know I’m not the only to notice that it seemed to go by quickly. Almost everyone I speak to says, “where did it go?” I used to think it was only older people who felt time going quickly, but now I’m noticing it happening. Wait, maybe I’m old now?

I’m not complaining though. 2015 has been a horrible year, for a lot of people besides myself. Not only have we had terrorism all over the world but many people I know have experienced personal anguish of many kinds during this year. I’m no exception to this unfortunately. I’ve had, and am still having, problems with the benefit system here in the UK. I still don’t know if I’m going to be receiving any of the benefit I’m due. I seem to be coming up against one total fuck up after another and I don’t see why I should have to fight just to get what I’m entitled to. I’ve been living on nothing since 20th October and if it weren’t for the generosity of some of my wonderful facebook friends, the cats and I would have starved by now.

The byword for this past year is Loser. It is during this past twelve months that I have been forced to face up to the fact that I am a total loser in every respect. Looking back over my life, I have failed to succeed in every single thing I’ve tried. It is not due to lack of trying either, an accusation my mother laid at my door just the other day. I have given time and effort, and often money, into many different hobbies, crafts, and entrepreneurial pursuits, and have failed in them all.

Since June 2011, I have been writing novels and short stories and now have a backlist of twelve books, with another finished to first draft and yet another half written. All have failed to sell and still nobody is interested in my work. I have tried doing free giveaways, one facebook release event I arranged garnered the impressive attendance of just 2. I am now experiencing the painful trauma of realising that I am wasting my time publishing and probably should not bother doing so again. When I say painful, I mean it. Failing at this is the most painful thing of my entire life so far. I cannot adequately explain how much I want to be a successful novelist, and to fail so spectacularly is a burden that is too much to bear.

It is very strange to go through one’s daily existence devoid of emotional connection to one’s conscious being. To be unable to ‘feel’ anything makes the process of daily existence much like a hamster running on a wheel. One runs but never gets anywhere. It is not simply the joy that has gone, but the meaning itself, the point, the raison d’etre.

I am just one of scores who feel this way at the end of 2015 and many pseudo spiritual hanky wafters would say there’s some kind of great shift in consciousness going on, no doubt engineered by the great ones over at the Pleiades or other such spiritual masters. Poppycock. We’re sick of life the way it is, end of story.

I go into 2016 with no hope for good fortune or other rosy pink fluffy wonderfulness. As with all the others who feel as I do, I’m just glad another year is over and sure that the next one will be as dire as the last. I can’t wait for the asteroid.

Good riddance 2015.

 

Show and Tell is not just for school

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How many times have you been told, “show, don’t tell,” when people have read your work? Yeah, me too. It’s something most of us know about but often forget or just don’t know quite how to do it. It helps to know how to recognise each of them first.

Telling

Joe was a tall man, with greying hair and a habit of chewing his lip when nervous.

It was cold, at least minus ten and a thick layer of ice covered the lake.

Sophie walked the streets looking for David but couldn’t find him anywhere.

The spaceship came into land and everyone was glad the long journey was over.

He looked like a businessman with his leather briefcase.

Showing

Joe towered a good head and shoulders over her, forcing her to crane her neck to look at him. She longed to run her fingers through his black curls and thought the greying threads at his temples gave him a distinguished air. A slight smile fluttered at the corners of his mouth as he chewed his bottom lip like a frightened child.

His breath turned to ice, making rainbow coloured diamond dust that fluttered away in the light morning breeze. Half a dozen brave ducks padded across the frozen lake and he wondered why their feet never stuck the ice. The forecast said it would be at least minus ten by dawn and as he drew his scarf tighter around his neck, he knew it was colder still.

The rapidly darkening sky brought a mood of gloom that settled over the city and Sophie shivered. The shadows cast by the newly lit street lamps leapt menacingly, every one a serial killer waiting to pounce as she crept past. Music blared from bars, drunken crowds gawked and several wolf whistles reached her ears. Walking these same streets in the light of day brought no such terrors for Sophie and she wondered at the power light has over the emotions. The early afternoon sun had still been warm when she set out to search for David, but now, in the threatening darkness and with blisters on her feet that bit painfully at every step, she turned for home alone.

The still calm of the morning was rent as the roar of engines approached. Looking up, he saw the spaceship approach and smiled with relief. Dust flew in whirling turmoil, stinging his eyes and coating his robe as the ship began its final descent. Leaves, wrenched from the ancient oaks that lined the landing strip, flew like a cloud of butterflies and covered the ground in a lush green carpet. The journey has been arduous, the mysterious engine failure almost costing the crew their lives and their late but safe arrival was reason for celebration.

He strode along the street, the understated but elegant grey suit moving with him as if moulded around his body rather than simply being manufactured. The white shirt was plain and devoid of extraneous decoration, as was his silk tie and matching pocket-handkerchief. Quality speaks for itself and needs no assistance from fussy details, he would always say when standing for a fitting with his tailor. The water buffalo hide briefcase swung silently as he walked and he remembered his father giving him his first briefcase on his first day at the company. “Only cheap leather creaks,” the old man said.

**********

See the difference? Not only do we know more about the characters and settings, but they come alive for us. We are really there when we read the ‘show’ examples. The ‘tell’ examples give us the information but we can’t connect with it on an emotional level and that’s what you want your readers to do.

Show us the character, show us his emotions, his feelings, his physical state. Bring the environment alive. Don’t just give us a photo, take us there.

When you show rather than tell, your writing will often be longer too, which is always good for word count, but don’t let that be a reason for unnecessary waffle. If you try to show everything in such detail, it becomes annoying and people will get bored waiting for the action. There is often benefit in telling rather than showing, to get to the action for instance, when your character is going from A to B. We know he needs to get from home to the hospital, but unless something along the way is important, just tell us he goes to the hospital. Sometimes you need to cover ground quickly, ground that would harm the story if you left it out altogether and in such cases, tell us about it and move on.

You can also avoid the ‘adverb/adjective’ crime by paying more attention to showing rather than telling. Rather than telling us the old house was spooky, show us the shadows dancing, let us hear the creaky doors and floorboards, let us feel the cobwebs on our skin. How do we react to the dark, the noises? What is our imagination doing? Don’t just tell us the car was racing along the road, give us the wind in our hair, the adrenaline rush, the G-force as we are pressed into our seat. Words like, ‘paranoid,’ ‘sadly,’ ‘grand,’ force us to work harder to bring them to life. I don’t have to work so hard if you show me the shadows leaping and dancing. Let me feel the weight upon my heart and the sting of tears behind my eyes and I will understand. Give me doric columns, marble staircases, and gothic arches and I’m there in your grand hall with you.

Working on showing and telling makes you think about your writing in a new way. It’s good discipline and forces you to think much deeper about not only what you’re writing, but how you’re writing it. It can sometimes feel as if it’s taking away from the purely creative aspect and making it more ‘mathematical’ but it needn’t. Keep in mind that it is not stopping you from being creative, it is allowing you to be even more creative.

Societal breakdown in 50 years or less

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Over the past ten years (give or take), I’ve noticed society changing for the worse. Rules are broken more, help is harder to find, and compassion is dying. We don’t care about each other anymore. We are angrier, more impatient, less tolerant, and more selfish. We scheme, deceive, and disobey. We need, we want, and we hate. Oh how we hate.

People kill each other more often and for even more stupid reasons than ever. More people are afraid to leave their homes than ever before. You are more likely to get mugged, robbed, beaten, raped, and murdered today than ever before, by people who are far younger than ever before. You can’t trust anyone today. Not your family, your neighbours, nobody. Your doctors and health care people are not only less well trained, but they are more likely to kill you than they were fifty years ago, either on purpose or because they just don’t care enough. The police and government are corrupt. That hasn’t changed, they’re just more open about it than ever before. We’re bombing each other off the face of the earth for control of a dwindling oil supply, yet refusing to invest in wind/solar/hydro power that will power society forever without harming our world. We’re trying to get to Mars but spending nothing on cleaning up the mess we’re still making on this planet.

You can’t even go into a store and be smiled at by the staff.

Society is breaking down, fast. I first began to notice it around ten years ago but it’s moving faster now. Over the past couple of years I’ve watched society hurtle ever faster towards its own destruction. I firmly believe that we are now way past the point of no return. No matter what we try now, we cannot save ourselves. There is nothing for us to do but sit and watch as we destroy our own societies. It is as inevitable as the dawn.

Why is this happening? There are two reasons I can think of right away. Population and human nature.

There are now far too many of us for the planet and our preferred way of life to support. As our personal space becomes, by necessity, smaller and smaller, we become more and more territorial and defensive. We need a certain amount of space to call our own and when that space is gradually eaten away, forcing us into ever closer contact with others, there comes a point where it is detrimental to our mental health and aggression is the result. More people mean more building for homes, schools, shops, workplaces. More buildings need land. More land for building means less for each of us to have as our personal space. Squeeze us too hard and we’ll push back. When deprived of the right environment for mental development, we become mentally imbalanced. Sociopathy, psychopathy, schizophrenia, and other mental diseases become more prevalent and our behaviour towards each other deteriorates.

How can we overcome this problem? I don’t think we can now. I think it’s far too late to recover and I firmly believe that society as we know it today will have totally broken down within the next fifty years.

Have you seen the new Mad Max movie? That’s where we’re heading, fast.