Breaking the monotony of life and the spectator mentality
More often than not, people get too caught up with daily life to do anything else. Wake up. Go to school or work. Argue with friends or office mates for a bit, do some work, check Facebook, eat, crack a joke, go home. Eat again. Watch a new Korean or Japanese drama on TV. Drink. Go to bed. And the cycle repeats the next day, and the next, with only minor interruptions like holidays to break the monotony of things.
Life becomes so self-encased for many. Everyone is so preoccupied with their little world, we oftentimes fail to realize there is a larger existence influencing our daily lives. And though we have become so connected through online media, the emergence of social networking sites and the like have allowed us to take on more of a spectator role than to participate in influencing these events themselves.
Just look at the Japanese political world as it stands. The incumbent prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, has put forth a motion to raise the consumption tax in order to contain Japan’s astronomical level of debt. People will complain, his ratings will probably drop (as they have already) and he’ll probably be put out of power. But have they found a solution to the problem? No! Instead, someone from the old guard will be ushered in to take his place, only to make new, false promises that he won’t be able to live up to and offering the same, tired “solutions” to the same problem to little avail. The Japanese public are more than willing to remain as spectators rather than as participants.
It honestly takes two to tango. You have an apathetic public and a public sector concentrated on its own survival in an increasingly difficult world. The public sector takes care of itself, yet the apathetic public complains but does nothing about it. It’s akin to going to the hospital because of heart disease, chastising and replacing the doctor for not taking care of you, then going to McDonald’s to get a Double Big Mac combo for lunch.
Granted, much of the blame can be placed on the Japanese government, and I doubt Ron Paul’s libertarian dreams would fly in a country which has, since its inception, been controlled by a large bureaucracy. But a corrupt, big government does not necessarily mean that it is permanent. The Arab Spring. The dissolution of the Soviet Union. Most events that led to major political shifts were led in the interests of the people and by the people. Active political participation, rather than playing the role of a common spectator, will be necessary in changing the Japan of today into a more efficient, better Japan of tomorrow.
We are at the point where we can no longer remain spectators in the grand scheme of things. We can’t just comment on how horrible something is actually without doing something about it. We can’t just keep pulling people down (particularly unwarranted criticisms) when we have nothing to offer ourselves. There is life outside our little bubbles. It will all come crashing down if we personally do nothing to act. To change. To form a better future for ourselves and for our children.
And that change will require a hell of a lot more than a family remarking “最悪だな” while watching TBS News at the dinner table.