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:
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD????
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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