From the Editor: Stagnation and Apathy Are Extremely Destructive — Here’s Why

In this edition of From the Editor, Roman King warns the general population not to accept a mediocre life.

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by Senior Editor Roman King | U.S.

WARNING: In addition to the normal warnings about not giving the executives of this company a hard time because you might not like my writing, this editorial will be slightly more so than previous editions of this series. Thank you, and enjoy.

The U.S. is the self-proclaimed land of opportunity. If you’ve lived in America for any length of time, you will have experienced the patriotic epithets, the proud claims of our nation’s undying superiority, and the legendary stubbornness of which our people tackle their ever-growing problems with, and to be frank, it’s what I love about this country the most. I love our blind optimism. I love living in a country that breeds an attitude that says that anything is possible if enough work and willpower is poured into it. What other country on Earth has such a collective and absolute mindset? I have yet to find it.

As always, though, too much of something any good is bad. Too much patriotism can produce overly toxic nationalism. Too big of a collective ego can prevent both normal citizens and lawmakers alike from exercising rational thought. Overconfidence can lead to both minor incidents and massive macro-societal breakdowns. Most destructive of all, however, is the tendency for the standard American optimism to reach a critical mass. Instead of driving people to shoot for the sky, it catastrophically horseshoes around to cause compliance with stagnation, mediocrity, and worst of all, apathy to what amounts to a massive systemic issue with America’s core policies and attitudes. I could (and will) go on a tangent on how this is both a common and extremely destructive problem, but I will preface said tangent with — God forgive me — an internet meme. Don’t worry, though; it’s extremely pertinent.

The meme in question, and the subject of this editorial criticism.

Before I engage in what could possibly be some meta-breaking social commentary, I will preface it with a disclaimer that I have absolutely no problem with hard, honest work to make a living for yourself. As I said above, that’s one of the things that I love about this country; people can build from nothing to something. That being said, it absolutely needs to be said that nothing should be the means of which you achieve your end, not the end itself. It is not something to be compliant with. It speaks volumes about the state of the federal economy and the government that working two jobs at 50+ hours a week for years on end isn’t enough to achieve the American dream. It deeply disturbs me that to enter even a moderately successful field, you will most likely have to sink yourself tens of thousands of dollars in the red and prevent yourself from effectively living a fulfilling life for multiple years. The choice of life shouldn’t be whether or not you get to enjoy it but die impoverished or not enjoy it and die with your life making no long-term influences on the world around you. Where is the drive? What are you working for? What is your endgame? Because if it really is about working multiple miserable cubicle jobs during the prime of your life to pay off monumental debts you accrued to get your miserable cubicle jobs, I have some troubling news for you: when you’re on your deathbed, having achieved nothing of societal or economic significance, and having only the clothes on your back and a bank account to call yours, the work you put in for that big Fortune 500 company will have ultimately meant nothing, your life will have meant nothing, and the tragic cycle life cycle of the overly optimistic American lower-middle class worker will have worked its way full circle once more.

There is a difference between begrudgingly participating in the cycle with a plan to create a unique and gratifying life experience for yourself as opposed to embracing the cycle as not just a necessary evil, but a positive good. There is a difference between engaging in meaningless busy work to start your life, and with a goal of escaping it, as opposed to continuing to believe the perpetually perpetuated lie that “this is is just what life is” without trying to find the infinite amount of very real opportunities this country has to offer. There is absolutely no reason why anybody should be proud or happy with stagnation, especially when it comes to something as singular and as important as your life, because as much as we might not like to admit it, we only have one shot at this. It would be within all of our best interests to accomplish something meaningful and important in our time on Earth, as opposed to accepting the lies of those in the ivory towers. Let’s live life. It’s better than the latter option, after all.

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