“Would you like yourself, if you met yourself?”
Amit Kalantri


We cannot debate anymore. Shit. We cannot seem to agree on the basic foundations upon which debates and rich arguments are based on. We end up pointing fingers instead of listening and debating.

Worse, we end up pushing back against values or, at minimum, the values that had been valued in the past (for good or bad). Beyond the “we” I am using, I can honestly say that it has actually forced me to reevaluate maybe not values per se, but certainly what is valued. That sentence alone suggests I, in my generation, am an anomaly. My generation, the older ones, do a lot less reevaluation and a lot more ‘pointing to the past’ as we point fingers at people.

But we need to do some hard reevaluation because:

To the rising generation many of the past “values influencers,” many were found in religion, seem to have ridiculous beliefs and are out of touch.

Education, once revered as the pathway to upward mobility, seems more like a bottomless pit of debt unless you are within the wealthy few.

Hard work, once recognized as the path to some version of prosperity, seems less appreciated in what appears to be a rigged system – so we pursue ‘less work’ get-rich-quick schemes.

But possibly the biggest attitudinal shift has occurred with regard to America’s increasing discomfort with hierarchy. What I mean by that is America, while ‘of the people, for the people’ always felt comfortable in a hierarchy, until we weren’t. I could write a book on how we fell out of love with hierarchy, but suffice it to say those in power abused their positions. All they had to do was (a) insure people had the opportunity for some upward mobility and/or (b) ensure the hierarchy shared the benefits with the people. Basically, they fulfilled neither and then the internet, smartphones with cameras and 24/7 exposure entered into the hierarchy game with the consequence ending up being everyday people thinking “I can do the job they do”, “I am as smart as they are (or have better common sense)”, and “they are making disproportionately more money than I believe they should for what they are doing.” In other words, attitudinally, the world became flat.

Which leads me to hypocrisy – ours, not theirs.

Yeah. A fundamental cause of our general discontent is our own hypocrisy, actually created by us (everyday people), yet we point fingers at those in power. It contaminates our minds and, ultimately, society.

We believe in social mobility and equitable opportunity, but embrace zero-sum beliefs.

We espouse Christian values (basic values), but business seems to have its own rules and values.

We claim to be non violent, but insist everyone should be carrying a gun or, even without a gun, keep shouting at each other looking for some fight.

We embrace the concept of exceptionalism, but the idea of its exceptionalism has been co-opted by a large number of citizens to be synonymous with economic, military, religious and historical superiority.

We encourage loyalty to a business and business in general, but (a) see lifetime employees leave empty of meaning and dignity or (b) see employers toss away employees like old clothes.

We claim to be an informed democracy, but continue to vote for authoritarian or, worse, the uninformed vapid.

We believe in meritocracy, but a large percent of the population reviles intellectual curiosity and critical thinking.

We continuously say something and do the exact opposite.


The people.

Yet. Far too often the everyday person yells at leaders, who are sincerely trying to create a better world, for some hypocritical aspect of their greater whole, some weird purity test, while neglecting to look in the mirror with regard to our own hypocrisy in our less-than-pure behavior.

This all has the consequence of dystopian feeling. Where it often seemed like America thrived on optimism, now it seems weighed down by pessimism and disappointment.

And we devolved into a society of pointing fingers.


“The masses’ escape from reality is a verdict against the world in which they’re forced to live.”

Hannah Arendt


It seems clear to far too many of us that internalizing accountability, after analyzing and recognizing information, was precisely what we no longer need to do. We outsourced our unresolvable contradictory attitudes and behaviors to “those people.” In doing so we made ourselves adrift on a sea of endless content where we sought islands of likeminded people pointing fingers in the same direction and at the same people as we did.

Who could blame us for pointing to celebrities on jets and politicians who lied and media who conflated issues? They were to blame, not us.

It’s stupid.

We are being stupid.

And we should be pointing at us, not them.

Marshall McLuhan wrote that every new technology was an extension of the human body, but also an amputation of the same function from the body itself. And that is what technology and 24 hour media has done. While they have become an extension of our lack of individual accountability, they have simultaneously amputated our brains or, at minimum, encouraged us to let our brains atrophy.

We have met the enemy and it is us. We are just too busy pointing fingers at everyone else to see that. Ponder.

Written by Bruce