Societal attitudes and pressures lead to encounters of more change. Today interpersonal relationships lead to either marriage or live-in relationships. The number of people living in marital relationships keeps diminishing as couples choose to live together without benefit of marriage. It has become more acceptable to do so. Here, as well as in marriage, sexual relationships outside of committed relationships are not okay. So couples often choose to break up after an outside affair occurs. Even if the relationship survives, it is deeply affected forever.
Relationships in the workplace are changing. We still have the boss and the employees under that boss's direction. More and more people choose not to stay on a particular job if they are unhappy with the boss. Jobs in the workplace are ever changing in nature and require reeducation and training. Friction occurs constantly in such a changed atmosphere. "You don't like it here? Change your attitude or leave."
The biggest change in the workplace is a technology-driven economy. Those who cannot change cannot exist successfully in this environment. It is incumbent upon them to change or be doomed to a life of mediocrity or abject poverty. This has probably contributed to the rise of the drug culture we are faced with. It is much easier monetarily to deal drugs than to get a job. All of which finds us in a situation where employment may be rising while the number of unemployed also rises or remains stagnant. Included here are the unemployed who have just given up. The only way to change that is to constantly upgrade one's work skills and to do all we can to teach the value of work. This is not easy to do but it is a necessity.
Ultimately we face the changes of aging. There are increasing numbers who are living well into their eighties and nineties. Eventually our bodies and mental systems deteriorate. We are faced with serious degeneration of health and eventually death. If death occurs suddenly we are relieved of the problem of facing these changes. However, few of us experience sudden death. Facing the inevitability of changes that occur due to aging is a challenge we can and must make.
Socioeconomics influence how well we live. We experience the influences of socioeconomics daily, and over time they change greatly. The most severe major socioeconomic upheaval in America that most of us have heard about, remember, or lived through, was the great depression following the Wall Street crash of 1929.
Eighty-five years of changing monetary conditions have found us in a relatively stable monetary situation, though we have recently seen some rather momentous changes. We have had bailouts of huge corporations, rising costs of government social and safety net programs, and a widening gap between those who are doing extremely well financially and those who are faring poorly. The middle class is shrinking.
Changes that are occurring exist among extremely divergent views of how we will manage those changes. They are resulting in tumultuous times in our political system. Thus it is impossible to predict the future socioeconomic status of our country. There will be continuous change and there are many conflicting views of the immediate and long term goals and outcomes. We can only hope that the future of the next generation and generations to come will see our country strengthened, as well as the rest of the world.
Another great change we are facing is that of our belief systems. We are a society greatly influenced by religious institutions. The majority of Americans subscribe to some religious belief system. Many are strong members of some religious faith. While great pressures are applied among members of religious groups, we find that many have drifted away from fundamental beliefs while somehow clinging to the cultural milieu of their religion. There is a personal pull to remain within those traditions.
Some hold fast to the indoctrination they internalized as children. Others reveal views that cast serious doubts about some or many aspects of the dogma of the most faithful. Consider the diversification of beliefs held by Roman Catholics concerning birth control; or the concepts of heaven and hell across strictly orthodox holdings, to questioning even the Divinity of Jesus, or the dictates of Islam according to the Quran. There is no monolithic Christianity or Islam. Christian churches have long held to the belief that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. Yet, Christianity is a minority religion, with Islam being the largest. All religions have experienced change and people are faced with the challenge of dealing with those changes.
We have seen in recent years a drastic change in the way society in the United States views religion, marriage and divorce, racial relations, the distribution of wealth, poverty, habits of dress, the relative importance of the arts in our lives and personal regard for the sensibilities of others; all are effects of an ever changing technological world.
Think about the significance of climate change. There are a variety of views on this subject. They range from the benign to the catastrophic. We must face the fact that it is happening and we are going to have to deal with it.
In recent years we have seen great changes in the way society looks at marriage, co-habitation, divorce, the LGBT community and a continuing of change concerning race and ethnicity. The most difficulty in finding acceptance are those people who are agnostics or atheists.
As changes occur everyone is impacted. It is impossible to escape how change affects us and what we do as it occurs. We can ignore change, bury our faces in the sand and be bitter and miserable. Or we can face the reality of change and adjust as best we can. The latter choice, while often uncomfortable, is simply a necessity if we wish to live with stability in our lives.
Thomas Ramsey is a Northsider.