Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ivan Brkljač
Just recently on the TED Youtube channel I watched an excellent lecture on one of the longest experiments in human history. It lasted 75 years, and the research topic was “What makes a good life?” The study was initiated in 1938 on a sample of 724 men from Boston, and over the next 75 years the personal life stories of each of them were followed, down to the smallest detail. At this moment, about sixty men from the original group are still alive and still participate in the study. I strongly recommend that you listen to this lecture because in some 13 minutes it reveals the singular, key correlation to a happy and long life. “Good relationships make us happier and healthier. Period.” Regardless of the amount of acquired money, social status, cholesterol level, general state of health – those who had good marriages, good friendships and family relationships and were accepted in their community, lived longer and better lives.
More recently, Forbes magazine published an article about a shorter, but very comprehensive study concerning young people and their life expectations. In our generation three goals in life are totally dominant: money, fame and status. Young people are less and less interested in politics, culture, engagement in the local community and other, so to speak, higher social goals. On the one hand, this is justified; politicians have betrayed our trust, and states have, in many cases, become an apparatus of the oppressive, greedy financial elite. Culture – partly thanks to us and largely thanks to itself – has been reduced to the level of a reality show. On the other hand, the main interests of young people today are purely selfish and largely material. Social categorization has been reduced to a single criterion: “Has money = successful”, and often this “success” is accompanied by celebrity and status.
Although the most intangible goal, status actually has the deepest and most devastating impact on the alienation of this generation, both from each other and the community. For the sake of having a good image, our generation has begun to present itself in a false light, and social networks have enabled this on a large scale. That’s why you have “pinned photos” with borrowed clothes, from a night-out that we can barely afford, in a car that is often running on an empty tank, along with sentences that are not ours. We create an image of ourselves that looks as if we never eat baloney, we are never without make up and we are always in the best of moods. Because it’s precisely this false ‘status’ that prevents us from allowing people to penetrate deeper into our lives, under this false surface, so we are never seen to be imperfect, stripped of this ‘image’– so that they won’t see the human beings in us.
For the sake of status alone, we unconsciously shoot ourselves in the foot and deprive ourselves of genuine relationships with people and, according to the longest ever anthropological experiment mentioned at the beginning, we are denying ourselves a long lasting and happy life.
That’s why my week’s CTA is to get to know my neighbors. If any of you is even a bit like me, you know that colonoscopically-uneasy feeling when you enter the elevator with a neighbor. But in fact, as a friend from the countryside once told me: “Your neighbor is your next of kin.” I will at least try to make those elevator talks an opportunity to get to know my “next of kin.”
P.S. CTA – In marketing, there is something called a “call to action”. It’s the message that an advertisement conveys to a potential buyer, which tells them what they need to do after the ad (click, call, etc.). My CTA will be something I will write after each blog, and will be related to what I want to do, in order not to be just a passive commentator who does nothing about the issue he writes about.