It is commonly believed that the society people live in today is “civilized.” Humanity today has more in terms of development, economics, technology, and communication as it never had before. Human beings are mostly able to read and write; they have the economy, the market for goods, and labor markets; there are schools and universities, hospitals, spas, theaters, and cultural centers. This all attributes to a “civilized” society. The very word “civilized” is not accidentally written in quotes - the concept of civilization was different at all times. There were, after all, times when humanity has no idea, for example, about writing, since all the information was stored in memory. Nevertheless, moral values and concerns about others were of crucial importance as those “civilized” people tended to live in harmony with everything on earth. There were also times when human and animal sacrifices to the gods were regarded as appropriate ones. Modern people consider this as immoral and undemocratic because the human rights are violated. However, the humanity of those times also saw itself as a “civilized” society.
Returning to modernity, it is important to state that people do not make human sacrifices currently, and today’s society has a wide range of cultural items, concepts, and notions that were absent before. Nevertheless, modern society is far less civilized than it was before, since human beings have lost morals, kindness, compassion; they do not care about nature, family, and ancestors; many people have no respect. Instead, they choose deception, greed, and consumerism. Therefore, one cannot call any society a “civilized” one – it is just a child playing with toys and constantly expecting his/her dolls collection to expand.
It is worth mentioning that a human being is a social being by nature. People are made that “by default,” since from the most ancient times they lived in society, particularly in a team. In addition, even when the speech did not exist, people communicated by means of gestures and sounds. An individual cannot live alone, even a simple conversation with a stranger helps to relieve the tension and stress. At least once in life, every person has experienced an irresistible desire to share something with another person, to be seen or heard, especially if emotionally overwhelmed, i.e. there is a natural need for communication. For instance, a mother talking with her baby has only good intentions of showing her love to it. The child tells its mother the greatest secret; hence, she learns how it lives and what its interests are. Sometimes, the child tortures the mother with never-ending questions and arguments, and it gives the mother a chance to see the world from a different angle. Communication of mother and the child develops them both, brings them together, and helps to support each other. Consequently, the main reason why people cannot live without each other is not the desire to speak but the desire to live in a group, since it is one of the main human needs. Furthermore, individuals are not able to live alone, so they have to meet the demands of current society in order simply to stay fully-fledged. Taking into account that modern society is civilized, it is not a surprise that people have to do what it demands not to feel lonely, gradually turning into civilized people.
As it was mentioned earlier, a modern society reminds a child who got too many toys for a birthday. This statement touches upon the problem of progress. It indicates that a civilized society not only satisfies the real needs but mostly imaginary ones. That society has too much in excess. Comparing the humanity with a small child, it can be shown that society cannot get enough toys. Indeed, there are bunches and bunches of toys, but it wants more and more - another car, aircraft, the Internet, tablets, computers, social networks – the list can be infinite, because there are multiple choices of toys.
The discussed “childish” nature of humanity is perfectly represented in God Bless America directed by Robert Francis Goldthwait. “I wanted Escalate,” - shouts Cloe when she sees her new car. “I did NOT want Blackberry, I wanted iPhone” – cries Ava when saw her new phone. “I tried to commit suicide, because I wanted to go on TV again,” – says Steven Clark. The characters in the movie are exaggerated and metaphorical, but in spite of that, they are the embodiment of a future generation of people. They represent all the beliefs and values of a modern human being starting from the childhood, as for instance, a new phone, good grades, or fame. Thus, the Marx’s scheme of classical capitalism, where demand determines supply, no longer works.
Unfortunately, a modern young man has to drive all the boutiques and salons to buy a flash-card (two gigabytes more than he had a month ago) or a T-shirt similar to that worn by Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake in order to express “respect” to the values of adolescent and make an attempt to be accepted into the group. A modern girl should have a skirt below hips, long and dark lashes, a Lois Vuitton bag, and thousands of photos on Instagram. The average young lady should have her hair 3-4 times painted, be 7-8 times punctured (regardless of a place), abandon something 5-6 times (no matter what - drinking, smoking, using drugs, eating meat, etc.), and date 10-20 times (there is no difference with whom, but preferably with somebody popular who has as many likes as possible).
Before putting the problematic issues further, it is important to provide some definitions. The above-mentioned term consumerism is quite widespread today, although, unfortunately, it carries propagandistic tone with fairly pronounced modalities, which vary depending on who vocalizes this word. For some people it is something wonderful, a kind of perfection to be pursued in still underdeveloped countries, so many proponents of this view say that people need to reach the standards of consumption. Another viewpoint is that, in fact, this notion is terrible. However, it seems that neither supporters nor opponents are quite aware of what actually lies behind these words. To my way of thinking, consumerism is a destructive addiction to trendy and brandy things of modernity, such as food, goods, films, behavior, and beliefs. In other words, it is an addiction to “toys.”
As it is known, the society is understood separately from nature, but is closely connected with it, being a part of the material world that is a form of organization and the way people interact with each other and nature. The development of society is called social progress. Apparently, the emergence of new toys is the progress of a civilized society. However, not all results of progressive human activities will benefit the society. Eventually, no one has tried to stop the contradictory progress and social responsibility of scientists. The progress, in its turn, shapes the values the society representatives pursue. Under values, people usually mean the degree of importance attributed to this or that thing, object, or person.
Another example to prove this would be the fact that values became fashionable as the value nowadays is explained due to a trend of expensive things. To maintain a high social status, many people work day and night or get loans for the sake of an expensive phone, a luxurious car, or a cozy flat in the city center. In fact, it is the mythical goal – those things are merely amorphous, since by buying expensive things one does not become a different person. Those expensive things a person buys do not bring wealth and will not satisfy biological needs as these are just the attributes of one’s attempt to express his/her personality.
The brand has even become the main instrument of modern politics, and its main content is the struggle for the right to have these brands and to dispose of them at someone’s discretion. The perfect situation, of course, is the one where it is possible to make others pay for the use of those brands, ownership of which is able to be proved.
The key concept here is the brand of democracy. Probably, it would be naive to believe that nowadays this term, means the state form like it meant a hundred years ago. In this state form, democracy is related with the supreme power belonging to all the people or at least with the form of government, where people trust their authority to elect representatives forming parliaments or other authorities. In today’s world, this concept has almost completely lost any specific meaning and political sense and has become a typical brand standing for all the good and the right, as opposed to what is undemocratic that is bad and almost unnatural.
The intension of democracy was previously equal to justice in its manifestation of moral rightness. Similarly to justice relating to the morality, which is different from a person to person, from a society to society, democracy also varies from country to country. However, the ideal of democracy, obviously, is manifested in the USA. Again, relating to God Bless America, concerning democracy, people are capable of thinking and have the right to express any opinion. However, the question whether they are really able to do it remains unanswered. There is a very special scene when one of Frank’s colleagues, instead of expressing his own opinion on the news, simply repeated the phrase from the media. Therefore, the society is said to be democratic, but this notion has become a brand and trend, which the Western world, mostly the US, dictates to the other countries.
In conclusion, returning to the idea that the society is a child with too many toys, it is worth mentioning that the abundance of dolls plays a bad trick with humanity. People are too concentrated on them; they are too busy playing and entertaining themselves with empty things such as cars, phones, flats, clothes, and media. As a result, human beings have no time to delve into themselves and develop their intelligence and morality as they are too busy waiting for another toy.