Normality is increasingly mediocre

Courage, let’s flee from mediocrity


Maybe I’m getting old, but I’ve been observing for years and I can’t help but come to the conclusion that what we call “a normal person” is increasingly mediocre. Naturally, I include myself.

Unfortunately, I got the idea from observing children. Many years ago I began to warn that the worst thing that has happened to children in the last 10 or 15 years is the appearance of channels like Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, etc. Access to “children’s” programs 24 hours a day was unheard of until the appearance of these channels. TV is sweeping children’s imaginations. Imagination is “image in action”, but if the child, instead of facing boredom, unanswerable situations, a simple stick, and a rope, we give him ready-made images in action, his nervous system will significantly reduce the ability to create them by themselves.

How naive I was when I believed that the worst thing was children’s television 24 hours a day. Nowadays, they have a screen in the car, in the park, in the pediatrician’s waiting room, and in the restaurant.

Sorry for the self-citation, in the past I wrote an article on this same blog alarmed by the lack of ability of many children to develop a game that was not with a ball or a screen. (“My son doesn’t know how to play”).

Later, I began to observe and hear alarming stories about unhealthy competitiveness among young children. I am not necessarily talking about bullying, but about 7 or 8-year-old children with discriminatory behavior based on clearly adult criteria.

I went to the experts, I asked teachers, and the unanimous conclusion is that children (in general, let’s avoid casuistry) today are more competitive, less imaginative, they have less respect for authority AND their peers than 15 or 20 ago years.

Logically, we cannot blame any of this on the children. Childhood reflects what society is like at that time, so I began to look at adults, and that’s when I found an overwhelming level of mediocrity. Let’s go from the general to the particular:

Think about the politicians who occupy the front row today in Spain, in Europe and in the United States (I speak of them because I do not have knowledge of others) and compare them with the politicians of 15 years ago. And now with those from 30 years ago. Are we getting better or worse?

Think about the quality of the newspapers. Think about the quality of the language and the type of news that is offered to us as relevant. Now remember what the newspapers were like 15 and 30 years ago. Are we getting better or worse?

Television is supposed to offer us a good reflection of society. Now think about the reflection that the Spanish series and programs “La que se cerca”, “Gym Toni”, “Women, men and vice versa”, “Cámbiame”, etc. offer us today. And now think about the reflection that the series offered from 15 and 30 years ago. How are we doing?

Let’s get closer to something more every day. Think about the service you receive today when you go to a public establishment, a store or a restaurant, for example. And think about the service you received 10 or 20 years ago. Are we getting better or worse?

My conclusion is clear. We are going to get worse. Normal people today – and consequently the relationships we establish among ourselves – have a lower quality of life compared to those who were our age 15 and 30 years ago. We are becoming more and more mediocre.

The causes are many, I am sure, but I want to focus on those that I consider have a direct impact on children.

  1. We parents have lost authority. The reasons are many: lack of time at home, the very fear of being an authority (Freud generated the idea that parents traumatize children. It may have been true in his time. We would have to read what his diagnosis was if he lived today) and, without a doubt, the idea that to have a healthier emotional relationship with our children we should not impose our criteria, but rather accommodate the child’s – put on the same level the criteria of an adult, who has the capacity to foresee consequences, with the judgment of a child. The truth is that I see more and more authority problems in the consultation, and I can affirm that when parents have not managed to establish themselves as a reference of authority at home, the emotional relationship between parents and children is invariably confliction.
  2. The professionalitis. Saint Josemaría Escrivá coined that term to refer to an exaggerated inflammation (pathological, hence the suffix “itis”) of the importance we give to the profession. In his own words: “the immeasurable attachment to one’s own professional work, which becomes a fetish, an end, ceasing to be a means” (Letter, 24 – III – 1931). I recognize that I suffer from professionalitis to an extreme degree. I’ve tried justifying myself, but doing so doesn’t reduce the inflammation. It is one of the most widespread diseases in today’s society. It is destroying families, marriages and, above all, people. Not only do we suffer from it as liberal, self-employed professionals who live directly from each patient, each client, or each service we provide, but also executives, taxi drivers, doctors, speech therapists, teachers, butchers or workers in a production line. As the illness of many comforts fools, there are those who take comfort in seeing that professionalitis is a cancer that affects the generality of society. There are those who even think that anyone who makes a shameful effort to support the family above work is either lazy or deluded who will never get out of poverty (as if suffering from this disease gave money). In Spain, it is aggravated by the extended hours syndrome and “never leaving before the boss.”
  3. Of course, the omnipresence of screens. I am not referring to children now, but to adults. The parents who come home, instead of following a carrot tied to a stick, like the donkey that doesn’t stop walking, with a mobile phone tied to our hand, which we can’t stop looking at. If it’s not to see what email has arrived in the last two minutes, it’s to see who has posted the biggest nonsense in any of the 56 chats we have on WhatsApp. Let’s face it, we are addicted to the mobile screen (not in vain does it emit blue light, which hypnotizes us).

Once again, sorry for the self-citation, but I already wrote an article on this blog alluding to this serious situation. (“Digital marriages”).

These three factors – lack of authority, professionalism and mobile phone addiction – are causing serious personal degradation in adults and are rapidly reversing in children.

Logically, there is no point in complaining, pointing out the culprit and continuing with the same thing. It is necessary to take action plans to reverse this situation. I encourage you to do it. Unfortunately, the mediocrity that invades us prevents most people from wanting to read anything that exceeds 1,000 words, and I am already at 1,216, so I will present my own plan of action in another article. Courage, let’s flee from mediocrity.