- Effects of cultural habits on freedom
- Effects of the internet on culture change
- Problems faced by the thousands of thousands
- Carelessness of millions of thousands
- Freedom and responsibility
- Effects of excess freedom
Cultural habits are capable of making people who live by that culture susceptible and compromise their freedom. Freedom without limitation or boundaries is dangerous. People can injure themselves in moments of weakness. Many things that can cause human weakness and one of these things include culture. It is true that the way people live can cause them to become weak because it means that they have to conform to the society’s way of life. The people who often cry for freedom are usually the ones who abuse it. Benoit Denizet Lewis researched on the teenagers’ sexual life and detailed it in the New York Times. His findings were shocking to say the least. Teenagers as young as thirteen practice various forms of sex that was unthinkable some years ago. They have disregarded the idea of dating and thus they do not form relationship (Lewis 2).
The internet has changed the culture of the society. What was seen as a taboo is the norm today. It has redefined culture and people’s behavior and perception. What was seen as the preserve of adults is now the expertise of teenagers. Teenagers engage in all manner of pornography and other sexual practices and most of them see nothing wrong with that. There are various sites, which teenagers use to network. They exchange ideas and connect through these internet sites.
Not every teenager is willing to engage and form connections using these sites, yet they do so because of influence. Their peers demand that they do it in order to fit in. This continues because we are often not willing to think beyond what the world thinks. As Campbell put it, “we get so caught up in the world that we tend to interpret the meaning of life in terms of the world (371). “ We are not able to see the traps that the world has lay in front of us. We jump right in, we are caught, and more often than not, we do not see any way out.
In his research, Lewis records of teenagers who often compromise so that they can fit in. someone who does not do what the society expects them to, is seen as different. People question the logic of moving away. The case of a girl who had not kissed a boy that she had been seeing is a good illustration of this (Lewis, p.14). Because people are not ready to live by their own decisions, they tend to become careless. This carefree attitude is what makes people abuse their freedom.
Teenagers do not often think twice about the consequences of their actions. Many teenagers engage in dangerous sexual activities such as having oral sex and they do this with multiple partners. Yet, they have been brought up knowing the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. There are many sources where they can be educated and where they can get the necessary information in their hands. They do these because they want to have a sense of belonging among their peers who are doing the same things that they are doing.
Avoiding culture is not easy. In his book, Radical Hope, Lear says, “human beings necessarily inhabit a way of life that is expressed in a culture (6).” They therefore become susceptible because of following a particular culture. Most teenagers no longer know who they truly are. They have become so integrated in the emerging culture that it has become hard to be principled. One cannot know what he or she stands for if he does not have principles by which to live by. There are some however, who do not conform to that.
Lewis notes the case of a teenage couple who are considered losers because they date and because they have a relationship. It is not easy to move against the current. The teenager was actually worried that his friends’ assertions might be true. He was unsure and wanted to find out another opinion from a different person who was a bit older. There is a need for teenagers to know what they believe in and to stand by their beliefs. It is what will guide them even when they do not feel as if they belong.
Lear says that is possible for things to stop happening. He asks the question of how human beings can live with that possibility. Yet he notes that people must learn to live within a culture that is robust and thriving (9). Cases of teenage sexuality are now booming. The pornography industry is now a multimillion industry. People should note that it is not necessary for them to adopt the thriving culture but they have to find ways to live within it since it is unavoidable. It calls for courage, wisdom, and all the strength that an individual can gather.
Lear gives the example of the chickadee. It is not physically strong, yet it has a strong mind and heart. It listens to others as they talk about everything, yet it has to apply wisdom (80). The chickadee person learns from the wisdom and success of others. Although a chickadee person listens as everyone details their success and failures, he or she chooses to learn from their success and ignore failures.
Teenagers could learn much from the chickadee person especially where matters of wisdom are concerned. The will has to be strong and influence has to be kept aside. They should learn how to work for wisdom and this is hard work. Everyone has a duty to be accountable for his or her actions. It is impossible to take any action without having the freedom to do so. This means that people have an amount of freedom in their lives. Some have much freedom and others have a limit to the things that they can do.
Dostoevsky tells a story in which he features two types of people – those who can handle freedom and those who cannot. According to him, the majority are those who cannot handle freedom. In the article by Lewis, this statement is so true. Most teenagers are not limited in what they can do. Their parents have given them so much freedom that they can exercise what they want. The trend is changing and children who are barely into their teenage years are doing things, which college students used to do.
Young teenagers below the age of eighteen are accessing adult sites in the internet and they are lying about their age. This has made them to believe that there is nothing too big or too mature that they cannot do. The situation worsens, as they get older. The question is whether freedom makes people happy. If people were denied some of the things that they have let themselves become accustomed to, then they can be happy. A person can find it hard to have this point of view if he or she has never practiced it. As Dostoevsky points out, freedom comes with responsibility, responsibility calls for someone to deny himself or herself of some luxuries and passions, and this ensures that they learn how to avoid mistakes.
In view of the above arguments, freedom is possible. People might not have the privilege of choosing what freedom they want but it is possible to have it. Those who have it in abundance do not know how to control it. They misuse it forgetting that it comes with responsibility. Responsibility means that a person ought to be accountable for what eh or she does. People should not let others dictate who they are and who they should be. Those who have let culture make them weak should retrace their steps and find out who they are by taking a deep look inside them. Teenagers should have their freedom limited. They are the million of thousands and they cannot handle their freedom. Parents, who are the thousands of thousands, have the responsibility over their teenage children
Campbell, Scott. Heidegger and the Educated Life. Print
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Grand Inquisitor. Hart, KY: Kessinger Publishing, 2004
Lear, Jonathan. Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2006
Lewis, Benoit. Friends, Friends with Benefits and the Benefits of the Local Mall. The New York Times. 30 May 2004. Print.