Traits Without Context

In the modern era, there are several personality traits that are seen as socially harmful. One only has to wait long enough before someone says, “People need to learn how to relate to each other.” Younger generations are blamed for un unwillingness to perpetuate older cycles, while older generations are blamed for being maladaptive. Through all of this, not enough people are stopping to consider that society was created to enhance antisocial behavior. Strong communities based on tolerance and mutual respect are bad for those consumed with a quest for extraction. Therefore, it becomes offensive to offer statements like, “Love wins” when considering harsh realities like race in the built environment.

Technology is blamed for people’s attention spans when anyone sits still long enough to hear it. Online, on television, even in public, everyone is blaming smartphones for the lack of attention span, followed closely by social media. However, humanity exists in an attention economy, created by those who have the power to control people’s attention by owning the media and hoarding resources. How long would our attention spans be if there were fewer commercials? Moreover, how would several companies make money without being able to run commercials? What would become of the marketing industry? Saying that kids are on their smartphones too much absolves the people who created the smartphones and an economy designed around people not being able to pay attention for long periods of time–especially for things like job interviews.

Impatience is another trait fueled by the dominant narrative that few consider. Abusive personality styles often flourish by someone being able to quickly coerce others into forfeiting time, money, and energy without returned efforts. While people wish that others had patience, too many are forgetting that without enough, time, money, and resources, people are vulnerable. If someone is about to lose a home, they cannot wait for multiple interview levels and apply to every job twice. A pregnant household cannot hope a garden produces enough food to feed a fetus; the baby needs food now. Individuals have gotten so accustomed to telling people to wait that they fail to acknowledge how everyone’s autonomy is different. However patient one is, people live in a dependent socioecosystem, and someone else’s impatience could be fueling certain responses.

Avarice and addiction are always criticized by the comfortable, but often, those who live in ideal conditions lack empathy for those who live otherwise. It can be extremely easy to tell people to stop chasing money from a position of privilege, but rising costs of living mean that money has to come from somewhere. To cope with the never-ending stress of having to relentlessly strive to earn even more money, many people have multiple addictions–including to work. Some of those addictions make it possible for people to participate within the dominant narrative, so losing them requires a changed society. Telling unhoused people to stop drinking ignores their being unhoused; perhaps guaranteed housing would make people stop needing to escape into a bottle.

Everyone has been given a rosy picture of what life should be while consistently being denied the tools to attain such a life. It is no wonder that all communities are breaking under the strain. No one can create an ideal world without the relinquished identity of those in power. Unfortunately, people who lose their identity without a dominant narrative are demonstrating their lack of interest in change. Thus, everyone will be forced to contend with greedy, addicted, impatient people with no attention span until more of the population learns to stop validating that behavior.

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