In a previous post, I discussed the tension and confusion between culture and community. But there’s actually something behind that. That something gives us a reason to hope for something better.
We hope for something better, but our hopes are constantly disappointed. Instead, as this “cycle has increased in speed and intensity” we find ourselves spending more time on less important things.
Why is that, and what can stop it?
Systems of Disfunction
We live in the golden age of systems. Everything we want to do, from financial security to weight loss, has been broken down into a system. These systems contain enormous powers of change and present themselves as a program with a simple series of steps to follow and a simple set of indicators to measure.
These systems have extended into almost every area of life. We have programs for better marriages, raising happy kids, growing as a person, and just about every other topic you can fit into the self-help section. We may approach these titles with a degree of skepticism, but approach them we do. Every time there’s a problem, we immediately wonder, who has already figured out the solution?
But beneath all that lies an undiagnosed problem. It shows up when our solutions create problems of their own, and we find ourselves dealing with the unintended consequences. Or when our proposed solutions fail, and the problem we were hoping to fix now looms even larger.
In moments like these, we may wonder if we’re up against something bigger and more cohesive than we first realized. There’s some kind of system at work that we don’t quite understand. Somehow we’ve run afoul of its process and we just want to get back in sync.
These are also the moments when we tell ourselves to “suck it up” or “get back in line.” We face the choice of giving up part of ourselves and what’s important for us just to get along. All the while, our hopes that this time it will be different are dashed as we find ourselves in the very place we were desperate to avoid.
Hope For Something Better
The alternative is to hope for something better and set out to search for it. But we carry with us the fear that whatever we find will eventually end up being more of the same. We wonder if we are the problem and wish we could just be content with what we have.
We resolve to stick it out where we are, but can’t shake the feeling that something may be dying inside us.
It feels like we’re at war, but we don’t know who the enemy is.