What is Wrong with the World?

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The back end of this website shows what phrases people entered in Google to get here, and they fascinate me.

Some phrases are more common than others, and many have nothing to do with what I write about here. An increasing number are about rap. The secret to making a rap, how to rap with attitude, even “how to make a trillion dollars with rap.”

I’m not sure if these people found what they came for. I don’t know anything about these seekers, except the words that came to their mind when they realized they were looking for something.

Some are touching:

  • how to tell someone they are amazing with a song
  • your day is full of little tiny awesomes

Some are a bit disturbing:

  • how to frustrate someone
  • i don’t want my life anymore, do I?

And some are funny:

  • roaches are aliens that once had their own planet
  • swimming ymca naked
  • i’m not alcoholic i’m athletic

And these are all just yesterday and today.

Quite often the phrase appears to be not a regular appeal for information, but an emotional plea of some kind.

A good proportion of people who end up here enter something along the lines of “what’s wrong with people”, “society is sick”, or “I hate civilization.”

In that category, the most common form is this one:

What is wrong with the world?

It comes up often enough that I often glaze over it when I’m looking over search terms. It’s such a common sentiment that it was a cliche way before the internet was even around. But today one visitor caught my attention by entering it this way:


Clearly it was on this stranger’s mind in a big way at some point today, and it made me think: is that what I write about here? What’s wrong with the world? Sometimes, I guess. Did they find what they were looking for, I wonder.

When people ask what’s wrong with the world, it’s usually in response to some human-caused tragedy so I think it’s safe to say they mean the human world. I don’t think they’re referring to the planet itself, its fault lines or geographic blemishes.

It’s not usually an earnest question either, it’s an exclamation expressed as a rhetorical question, like “Why the hell would anyone eat black licorice?”

And you know, I’m not sure I’ve ever treated it as a face-value question. I certainly never articulated an answer.


What is wrong with the world?

I would really love to hear your answer to that question, in the comment section below. Whatever comes to mind.

The question does presume that there is actually something wrong with the human world. If you think there isn’t, please say so too.

I think most people would not say there isn’t something wrong. But if we’re going to regard the world as if there’s something wrong with it, shouldn’t we be able to identify it, at least with ballpark-level precision?

Googling the question myself I quickly found that there’s no shortage of people who know what is wrong with the world. The most frequently cited reason is probably the decline of religion, specifically the religion of the person writing it.

Second to “the fall of religion” the most popular answer is probably “religion.” But there are other themes too: lack of respect for elders, unregulated capitalism, greed, alcohol, the economy, the rich, attachment, premarital sex, liberals, the unemployed, pride, lawyers, apathy, Starbucks.

Those sound more like symptoms to me though. If certain behaviors are widespread and problematic, whatever causes them must be a bigger, more fundamental problem. Right? Maybe not. I’d really like to hear what you think. I’ll tell you what I think later, once I think about it.

I know it’s a pretty broad question, and any answer is welcome. There’s no need to do up an essay or anything, but you’re welcome to. I know Raptitude readers are a thoughtful bunch and I just want to know what kinds of ideas you people have in your minds about what’s wrong with this world.



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doucare September 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm

What is wrong with this world? You take a look at your regional and national and world news channels..if you dont I suggest you do for a few days or so to let it soak in. Then read the Gospel old and new testiments through once..I suggest 2 or 3 times and pray deeply.

If you have not been called by the Holy Spirit to God the Father through Jesus Christ His most beloved Son to join Him in real life you cannot possibly understand the true seriousness of what is occurring in these times.

Chrisitians know what the “real deal” is…and it will come soon enough..aint got no date for that per what the scriptures say.

Richard Wallenstein December 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm

What is wrong with the world… well I feel like there is no will to be nice and when I look into pictures of myself from a few years ago I see an emptiness in my eyes and I often see this emptiness in other persons eyes as well. There is a deep sadness that everyone can see but we just ignore it and that is something that i feel is really disturbing with the people in this world. When I see some with this emptiness in their eyes i want to give that person a hug, because they are in desperate need of it even if they try to not show it. Trust me I have felt the same, I actually almost took suicide. This world lack humanity and kindness and that IS what is wrong with it. Live well if you can.

Ang December 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Looking at all the comments posted about the tragedy lead me here… So many people have rhetorically asked in the aftershock, “What’s wrong with the world?” What makes someone do something so seemingly unjustified? If you have been shown real love and if you are able to love…can a person still be greedy, self-centered, self-serving? We shove so many things in the hole that we have in our souls in the attempt to give ourselves happiness. Where does rage, envy and greed come from? Truth and satisfaction is found in love–the real and honorable kind.

I am nature January 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Nature made you. Nature made your neighbor too. Nature made his mind and the environment around him. And there is something wrong with the world!? Hahaha
Everything is as nature intended. Perfect in nature’s way.

Tina February 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I think that if people could work on loving one another more than thinking of their problems they would find that their problems would find answers and this world would heal.

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Todd April 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.

Ryan April 17, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Wellm i don’t think anything is wrong with the world itself, its the human greed, and evil within us all, the hurt, pain, and sorrow can all be avoided, by our personal wants and desires come between them. People just care for themselves, and want themselves to be the best, and never care for the other people they hurt. Love your neighbor as yourself, who really follows this law every second, minute, hour, day, month, or year. I know I dont, even silent prejudice is breaking the law. It is the black sin in ourselves that make the world horrible.

Narrokai April 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I’m going to agree with the author of this article. The planet itself if fine and does what it does best which is to exist, orbit, and rotate. The real question is, however, what is wrong with our civilization? Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers. As a specie, we generally are self destructive, greedy, and over populated. We are the only specie that hunts on a full stomach, enact genocide, and create wars. But what I just described is only looking at us through a negative perception. As there is much catastrophes in our world (which cannot be denied) there is also good things about the human race. We have accomplished the of building civilization itself and evolved into sentient creatures. Art, philosophy, science, and entertainment are things that have flourished throughout history which is to be commended to our specie. So just as there is many “bad” things in the world, there is also good and perception plays a lot on how you see the in this imperfect world. The reality is…everything is everything. With elevated intelligence, egos, and difference of opinion, we will always have conflict. Wars, racism, violence, or what have you is simply a product of human behavior, societal factors, and environment imo. If you ask me, If people would simply try just a little harder to look out for one another rather than the interest of the individual or companies, then I think today’s society would be much more pleasant live in. In order to keep myself from keyboard rambling, ill leave you with this final thought…I work for a bank and I deal with people from all walks of life. One day I talked to an uber rich man who was going through his third divorce. When asked if I had resolved all of his issues, the rich man said, “Yea, you can help me by taking all my money away so I can live in peace.” I’ve also delt with a poor customer the same day who had all of his accounts overdrawn and in serious debt with the bank. When I asked the poor man was there anything else I can help you with, the poor man replied, “No you helped me the best you could. I may not have money or a pot to piss in but I got my family who loves me and that makes me rich in my own way.” From that exact moment, I realized that we can either view the world as an ugly place or a decent place regardless of skin color, social class, or gender. Good day to you all.

John Bromwich April 20, 2013 at 3:45 am

Thank you for promoting such a considered and healthy debate.

My thought is that we are not dealing with one world rather 7.5 billion interpretations of the world along with the collective opinion that there is ‘something wrong’. Can I suggest it is symtomatic of man’s arrogance that he feels he is able / entitled to comment on such a subject. Plus we would rather do anything / talk about anything than focus on our own lives and what is immediately in front of us. We are as a race vested more in justification than we are in action. I certainly notice that when life ain’t great the first thing i do is look at my circumstances instead of what I can be responsible for. My belief is that humanity is going through its adolescent phase and is making mistakes and learning from them slowly and surely and in however many hundreds or thousands of years we’ll realise what we are doing now isn’t working and eventually reach a state of acceptance. We are all part of a much bigger picture so for the time being why not just accept the world is perfect as it is right now. Just as you are perfect right now. Anais Nin once famously said ‘you don’t see things as they are, you see things as you are’ so if we want to experience living in a perfect world we know what to do :~) I have just read an essay called ‘Self Reliance’ by Emerson which I highly recommend to anyone interested in tending their own patch of ground. Thank you for letting me contribute my two cents.

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Garrett April 28, 2013 at 12:20 am

I’ll start from what is thought of (by myself and many others) as a solution, and work backward. If the solution to what’s wrong is “being the change,” then what’s wrong is not enough people are “being the change.”

So, what does it mean to “be the change one wishes to see in the world” (falsely attributed to Gandhi)? Or, rather, how can one ‘be the change’? I’d like to see a world that is without money (a social construct with no intrinsic value) and arbitrary borders–just as 2 examples. I can live simply (at least relative to others who live on this body of land known as the United States), but the fact is I’m not willing to live without money since it would make life dangerously difficult. And, if I want to leave the U.S., I can either observe borders (as arbitrary as they may be) or risk going to jail.

But perhaps what I need to do is explore what’s behind the invention and continued use of money and borders (again, those are just 2 examples…I could come up with more, of course). And do my best to not reflect those characteristics in the way I live my life. I suspect that will be easier said than done.

Garrett April 28, 2013 at 12:51 am

I realize, of course, that the change one person wishes to see is not exactly like the change every other person wishes to see. Therefore, the opening “If this, then that” statement of my previous post is potentially problematic.

But I guess my hope is that there’s enough overlap (in terms of which changes the 7+ billion humans on Earth would like to see) to make the opening statement of my previous post considerably less problematic than it might otherwise be.

JS August 28, 2013 at 11:05 am

Most of the comments are self contradictory and have to borrow concepts derived from a Christian biblical worldview. For example, where did anyone get the idea that there is right and there is wrong? Why is love a good thing and hate a bad thing? So many in the comments condemn “Christianity” by charging it with evils that can only be defined as evils through the grid of a Christian worldview. The reason is that the Bible alone makes since of reality as we know it to be and we can’t even talk about reality without borrowing concepts from it and the reason for that is because it is the Word of God. It is God speaking to us. Religions may be bad, indeed, even false Christians can be very bad and misrepresent to the true message of the Bible but God’s Word is what brings light into the darkness of this confused discussion. The story of the bible has four major parts or themes and answers the four major questions of life. 1. Creation: where did we come from? 2. The Fall: what went wrong, what is wrong with man and with the world that we live in? 3. Redemption: Is there hope and where is that hope to be found?…in the coming of God’s Son into the world to reveal to us the truth about God and to die on the cross receiving the punishment we all deserve for our sins and being raised from the dead as Lord of all now seated as the God-man king in glory ,while the gospel goes forth to the nations calling men and women to repentance and faith in Him as the way of hope and deliverance from sin and this present evil world 4. Consummation: Where is this all heading? Christ is coming again to judge the world in righteousness and to usher in the new heavens and the new earth where there will dwell nothing but righteousness. Paradise lost and the beginning will be regained and even better. This is the only hope of mankind.

Genevieve Hawkins September 17, 2013 at 8:27 am

I think there is only one world for each of us, and that is the one going on inside your head. Many people never realize this and instead ascribe their internal personal turmoil to outside forces. If I had to think of one single thing that is wrong with the world, it’s that so many people are asking what is wrong with THE world instead of asking what is wrong with THEIR world and trying to improve from the inside. That’s the only place change can occur.
My world is great. It’s not a search term I’d use…

A3 November 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

OMG what is wrong with the world is too many people needing fiction to explain their aberational (to the rest of the non-human world) behavior. Your god might forgive your unnatural acts but will the natural world ever recover from it.

Happiness is for idiots, the rest of us learn through pain.

A3 November 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

The other thing (amongst many) wrong with the world is that people seem to obtain their absolutions lately by “laiking” things on Facebook or twattering about it twitter. Seriously! Doesn’t anybody live anymore?

k January 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Too much!
Mostly the fact that the rich sit in houses worth a million dollars while a million others starve to death!
While a million die of preventable diseases.
While the environment is slowly murdered to support their over indulgence.
That they throw away enough food to feed a country.
That being rich is the best way to get ahead in this life.
That they don’t care!
That they consistently justify their over indulgent lives, sit on their $20,000 sofa, then close the blinds at night and forget about everyone else.
The rich are whats wrong with the world.

just February 19, 2014 at 10:03 am

Greed. I see lots of good things started that are lost to greed/profit. Something thats started out of passion becomes popular because of that passion then it gets destroyed by greed. It becomes a numbers game and the people become numbers. Smaller is better

mark l March 29, 2014 at 8:11 am

as far as im concerned the biggest thing that is wrong with the world is GREED

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