A Postcard from 2040 A.D.

A Postcard from 2040 A.D.

A Postcard from 2040 A.D.

I dreamed I awoke in 2040 as a
grey-haired spectacled Public Health professional. My morning
coffee – (a blend of beans and tea leaves grown from the
same plant) steamed in the early morning light. The News digi-com
flicked on with the simple voice command displaying the
following.

Year 2040: The
release of the first findings of the largest epidemiological
survey of its kind in human history has produced disturbing
results. The World Health Organisation launched a Public Health
warning today declaring Loneliness as one of the most
significant risk factors contributing to mental stress. A WHO
organisation spokesperson Dr Melissa Croaket commented that
“at last humankind has worked it out. Loneliness is painful
and the vast majority live in ways which perpetuate the
experience. A return to community values is needed. But what
authority is there to determine what we value. By our own
authority we have created a world – where mental disease
has increased, loneliness is at pandemic proportions, depression
has dramatically risen in all the age cohorts, social narcissism
and hedonism are given wide spread social and even religious
support. The burden of boredom in our children and young people
is the crowning jewel of our civilisations progress toward
something greater than ourselves.” In an unusual gesture,
the WHO called for an international day of mourning. “This
research should be cause for the longest and most soul searching
lament” she said. “We have created a society –
a global community – marvelling at our technological
prowess while ‘traumatising’ the majority of the
worlds citizens. We are lost and too self-centred to know how
lost we are.”

Noble Prize laureate Dr Sione
Malo, the leading researcher of this study, stated that a clear
and unequivocal correlation between boredom, meaningless, &
loneliness has been suggested as the greatest problem facing
society. The 21st century had not improved and
findings of the WHO Report were evidence of this. His Digi-Book,
The Archaeology of Anxiety: a roadmap from Guilt, Blame, and
Boredom, while highly criticised by the academic intelligentsia
has, he claimed, been somewhat vindicated. Dr Malo argues that
from the 1960’s the psychological problems confronting many
people could be connected with a sense of shamelessness. Through
the later part of the 20th century, guilt and
conscience were taken out of the ‘equation’ and
treated as moralistic anachronisms by mental health
professionals, social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists
and even many pastoral counsellors. Mental distress and illness,
despite the many social movements for distigmatisation, remained
something to be hidden or something to address at very
superficial levels. Many people, he claimed, “had adopted
an “entitlement” attitude, spurred by rampant
materialism and individualism and suffered not from the pangs of
introspection and reflection but on the shards of
projection-blaming, denial, repression and rejection.

A new condition ‘boredom
disorder’ has been classified in the American Psychiatric
Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual VIII.
‘Boredom-disorder’ is prevalent among the youth while
loneliness is recognised as a major condition of middle and third
age citizens. 90% of adolescents in high schools around the globe
in the largest study of its kind reported they did not see a
future for humanity in the next century and 95% of the middle age
cohort agreed. It was the older generation in this study which
surveyed several million people globally (via bandwidth
technology) who held the greater ‘optimism’ that
human kind would survive socially and physically into the next
century.

This group were also more
religiously inclined. Many considered the rise of the
‘new’ global religion – headed by the enigmatic
and charismatic JEBUDDA (JEB) as a major contributor to the
fatalistic attitude pervading society. Over 70% claimed they
belonged to this sociological phenomenon which can be described
as a fusion of Zen Buddhism, Hassidism, Gnosticism and guru like
leadership. One researcher suggested that the movements’
complete emphasis on focusing on the here and now appears to
provide a psychological buffer from discomforting realities but
also produces a lack of social/civic responsibility. Considering
the consequence of actions in the future is necessary and the
prophetic like figure of JEB (who claims Jewish ancestry to
Jesus) with his ball of magic tricks is doing just the opposite.
The report noted also that hedonistic attitudes among the youth
and young adult culture were twice that of Third Agers.

Parents were more likely to suffer
depression than non-parents. Perhaps as Edward Staddle a
secondary school teacher put it, at least educationalists have
got it right. The Counselling Therapeutic Industry had grown with
counselling being taught as core curriculum subject in most high
schools and colleges and teachers having to do compulsory
on-going training as a professional competency.

And then I awoke in 2003 as a
health professional with a spiritual passion. Poured a coffee and
read the news. I thought about the dream and concluded that
without an anchor in truth and the truth is Jesus, we simply
don’t have enough going for us to make it up. Rational
human beings are still traumatising societies. Any spirituality
which amounts to escapism is pseudo-spirituality. I cannot make
sense of the world if there was not the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ. I cannot make sense of the hope and
resiliency of the human spirit (which is more than neurological
phenomena of electrical impulses and energy) and of the
invitation to live in his embrace if this truth did not transcend
my own capacities. The cold hard facts of mental anguish, mental
illness, and pain are no less painful but they are not the end of
the story of hope and recovery.