Every day we are treated with traffic jams which exhaust our physical and mental capacity. How can we, in the little free time that remains, possibly have the energy and the concentration to follow and analyse news, watch films and read books of a certain depth and social relevance?
by Robert Castaldi
Photo: Matthew Mirabelli / Times of Malta
Pursuit of social awareness is a prerequisite for democratic participation. Unfortunately, several factors hamper the process of mustering enough awareness, hence undermining the possibility of social movements for radical change. What holds us back from learning enough about the society we live in? Routine.
The workplace environment, overall pressure to report personal success, day-to-day struggles to make ends meet, and even time spent purposelessly in traffic jams (itself a socio-political issue about which we need to be aware) all prevent us from learning about the bigger picture and interconnectedness of the issues.
The workplace environment puts us under constant pressure of unrealistic expectations, while a wage does not reflect the efforts entailed. The workplace often cultivates an environment which inhibits freedom of expression and holds employees from expressing their views in public, thus reducing their interest in social affairs and preventing them from being active participants in democracy.
The struggle to make ends meet is aggravated by the sky-rocketing rents and the property costs together with a pressure to pursue a certain lifestyle. A desirable lifestyle is regularly advertised through marketing campaigns that encourage us to spend on pricey products which in turn are meant as necessary for a decent standard of living. This has trapped many of us in a never-ending race of consumerism at a price of physical energy and intellectual freedom.
Traffic is another factor that adds to more frustration, especially after a hard day at work. Many of us would be craving to arrive home to rest, relax and restore energy levels. Instead, we are treated with traffic jams which exhaust our physical and mental capacity further. In such circumstances, how can we, in the little free time that remains, possibly have the energy and the concentration to follow and analyse news, watch films and read books of a certain depth and social relevance? How can we be motivated to find out about what is currently happening around the world in light of the daily challenges and the shortage of time that we are facing in our daily lives?
All these factors contribute to a society that is not aware enough of its problems and thus is unable to organise a movement to counter its own oppression.
Work needs to become more meaningful. It has to be directed towards creating a better social environment which would also help us believe in our abilities and encourage us to be hopeful, positive and optimistic. TV programs also need to focus on encouraging individuals to be active members of their communities. There needs to be more space for people to connect with one another. Nature sites and open spaces, where we can detach ourselves from the routine of the daily life, relax and reflect and regain their strength, must be available to the public.
These initiatives will make it possible for the individual to combat the difficulties and challenges of day-to-day life, make our lives more fulfilling, fill us with hope, energy and reduce the risk of mental and physical strain. This will provide a background which encourages the individual to have more time and desire to focus on learning about the world, seeking new ideas and exploring new points of view which would pave way to a better society.