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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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tabind August 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

The man with ‘The Rich are wrecking the planet’ is seeing the world with framed view of rich and poor. Actually world is composed of human beings not rich or poor. There are people and people. We see them divided. This is our lacking not theirs.

Miel August 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm

This is really sad. I hate the thought of people hating each other. Some people really love drama, like those organizing rallies. I don’t understand them..you are right it makes me question what’s wrong with the world today? This is just very very sad and I hope that people would just leave things be and be positive rather than hating each other.

Kiron August 9, 2011 at 2:23 am

I think people who ask questions like “what is wrong with the world” aren’t really asking “what is wrong with the world.” They’re asking something more like “Why does the state of the world contain so many things I dislike,” probably hoping to find something along the lines of “press up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A-select-start and life will be good.” Obviously, there is no such answer, but the question is interesting in that when it’s phrased that way, it’s clear that it doesn’t have an answer because people’s desires are contradictory, so it becomes a matter of democracy (is the AIDS epidemic empirically bad, or is it bad because most people can agree that it’s bad?). Unless everyone agrees on everything, somebody somewhere will think there’s something wrong with the world, and if they’re lucky, they’ll google it and end up here. So really, what’s wrong with the world is that it isn’t populated by six billion of me.

anon August 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Radio Head:

“You do it to yourself it’s true and that’s why it really hurts, you do it to yourself, just you-you and no one else”…

David August 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Haha.. I always thought that song was about exactly this. I have no doubt about what the man whispers at the end of the video

mick August 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm


Allie Daley October 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm


Pat August 11, 2011 at 10:27 am

Technology made us powerful in a hurry. Wisdom accumulates so slowly.

Adam September 25, 2011 at 2:55 am

The problem is that most people fail to see things from other peoples perspectives. There’s no right or wrong. Just different point of views. Even the most evil person has his story.

Jasmine November 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I feel like I could live my whole life righting the wrongs in this world and bearly make a dent on the grand scheme of things. People are dying all over the world, should that not be the BIGGEST ‘wrong’ in life? That we are so caught up in stuff, lifes little dramas, work, relationships, stress over everything. What if you had to spend your whole day concentrating on pure survial? Its not like there isn’t enough to go round, and we all know it! In my own belief, the rich have become very god damn good at getting richer and manipulating the masses, people have become greedy and have forgotten their own truth. We need to stand up to lifes wrongs and put them right! Don’t be scared to question things, the masses have the real power at the end of the day. I am part of the masses and so are you. I hope to make a real change in this world myself one day, and I hope that meny more do the same.

denis December 6, 2011 at 9:47 pm

somehow i think it goes back to old aristotle

gilbert B.Bacio January 3, 2012 at 1:24 am

The problem is not really the World that is the problem ,but the beings that enhabit ut.because this 3rd rock ,was doing wayyy better b4 we showed up and started to mess up everything…its gotten to a point where we cannot even trust the church,governmemt,and even the law,or the babysitter .and it seems that everyone stopped caring even about there own children.and the the badmedia gloryfies allthatis bad and all thatlike it sopp itall up,like sourdough bread in chicken noodle soup .We ….but I guess thats what happens when people stop caring,everyone some time at one point or another should put your feet in some one elses shoes once in your lifetime tjat way you could see alot more tjen you could possably im

Robert Le Blanc October 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I loved reading all the ans. to the question. It is very simple one parent needs to stay home and be the home maker. there is no one that will ever love or give the love to our children than there mom or dad. last;;; close all the stores on sunday and have family day. ps get rid of all these electronic things and read books. the liabriay has millions of them for free.

gilbert B.Bacio January 3, 2012 at 1:29 am

The problem is not really the World that is the problem ,but the beings that enhabit ut.because this 3rd rock ,was doing wayyy better b4 we showed up and started to mess up everything…its gotten to a point where we cannot even trust the church,governmemt,and even the law,or the babysitter .and it seems that everyone stopped caring even about there own children.and the the badmedia gloryfies allthatis bad and all thatlike it sopp itall up,like sourdough bread in chicken noodle soup .We ….but I guess thats what happens when people stop caring,everyone some time at one point or another should put your feet in some one elses shoes once in your lifetime tjat way you could see alot more tjen you could possiblly Imagine.and also let all of this happen in this way ….what hapen to we the people??? You tell me?.

Anon April 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

That the many have too little, and the few too much. A single piece in a much larger jigsaw.

Lacey June 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm

The people in the world don’t try to fix all the little things that are wrong, so they end up being big things that are wrong.

sammer July 16, 2012 at 9:30 am

I’m visiting this website after just watching the Television series ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’, which began as me procrastinating from studying and has led to me question whether I really want to identify as a human being.

Of all the truly inspirational people there are in this world (people who have overcome terminal illness, people that adopt orphaned children so they may have a better life, etc.) and there are many, I wonder whether all of these good people make up for the bad.

As it’s the 21st century I’m going to assume almost everyone knows that poverty is a huge problem in so many countries across the world, you’re not starving right now but you know there are hundreds of thousands of people that are. And I’m just like you, I know there are people literally dying from hunger and niether of us are doing anything about it.

There are organisations (such as the NAMBLA) that promote relationships between mature men and young boys, racism, homophobia, stereotypes, disease, war, parents that promote beauty to impressionable young children rather than creativity and intelligence, there are people that rape and murder, people that are homeless, eco systems being ruined, etc.

The list could go on, but at the end of the day no matter who you are you think you’re better than someone. You think you’re better than someone because you’ve never done drugs, never smoked a cigarette, never hit your wife, never killed someone.

You can justify to yourself that you’re better than all of these people, maybe you gave a homeless person some lose change, or complimented someone on their perfume.

I thought by the end of writing this, I would know what was wrong with humanity, but I don’t and I would be most grateful to anyone that can offer and explanation.

Chris August 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I am deeply saddened by the world I live in to the point of extreme depression and contemplating suicide. Instead I just want to get away from everyone and everything that causes it. Monstrosities from religious zealots, anti-religious controversies, corrupt government, Facebook, television, MySpace, email, shopping, holidays, the lack of a mind numbing job, having a mind numbing job, fossil fuels, war, mass murders, child abuse, gun laws, health insurance, processed food, alchohol, tobacco, drugs, family, friends, marriage, animal rights, reality tv, religion, and whatever else. Everything that makes this world go around is awful and I want to leave it all behind. Apologies for the rant, I suppose im venting at your expense.

David August 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm

You sound entirely preoccupied with the awful part. You must value it more than love, art, nature, friendship, beauty and wisdom. That is all there too and always has been. Theoretically one could be as preoccupied with it as you are with the ugly parts. There will always be both.

Kashif Khan August 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm

You know what? You might keep up as many appearances as you like but the fact is the level of anomie and meaninglessness you find in an increasingly hollow and coldly brutal world of cheap money and even more cheaper looks is just like banging your head against the wall and then stopping to experience the pleasure of punctuated pain. The very things that mattered like family values, tradition, home, respect for legitimate authority and finally warmth, love, friendship and justice have literally been pulled from beneath our feet. I think it was Einstein who said that we seem to have found the way but lost the destination. We all seek understanding and sympathy if not empathy. But the degree of rudeness, shocking behaviour and abnormally sick and perverted act(ion)s you find in the postpostpostmodern world is depressing indeed. I am no higher being that reserves the right to air his views on others as the only truth. But after having met the most materialistic, mean and stingy atheists who blasphemed against the holiest acts of worship and I can only say I feel sad. I blush at the acts of Lady Gaga in her video for “You and I”. The song was okay so long as you ignore the lyrics.But upon eagerly seeing the video I felt horror and insult. What sort of message is this to give our children. At least give your children a rule to break rather than giving them no rules at all as Tipper Gore said in the 90s. Industrial Civilization leaves us slaves to nothingness and our last days are spent in a hospital where the machines are our mothers.

David August 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm

“Join my one true religion” is not the answer to what’s wrong with the world. I think we’ve established that.

Tobias September 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I think alot is wrong with the worldly enviroment we create.
“Whats wrong with the world” i wrote in the search field, as if i didn’t know, like you wrote in your blog post.
Here’s my short list: Child molestation, sexual assault, violence, greed, the whole nature vs. nurture topic, ignorance and pride.

I live a good life, i’ve recently become aware of that. Although i’ve had and still have my battle with emotional trauma, i live a sheltered life from the dangers of nature uptill a certain point, because we as people in a society have to co-exist, but i have enough food to keep me from being hungry, i have a good society that’ll take care of me if i get sick, i’ve the opportunity to get free education, and i’ve the ability and power to change/influence the enviroment/society that wasn’t always there.

The world ain’t all crazy, but it’ll make you crazy if you let it. Living in europe, most of us have the option to choose personal power when we face the wrongs.

Hope you understood, i’m working on my english skills.

Tobias Andersen, Denmark

Wonderer September 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Money is being picked over morals. That’s what it all comes down to.

Timothy September 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm

The problem is the dominating philosophies.

Timothy September 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

The problem can be identified in many of the answers provided. “People are not selfless enough,” selflessness and self sacrifice is the dominating moral principle responsible for the justification of dictatorship and enslavement of individuals. “Religion is dead,” tell that to the Islamic Fundementalists that decapitate desentors and threaten the western world with death and destruction. Religion, all religion, is a strayjacket of the mind, and an inevidable threat to civilization. “Unregulated capitalism,” any cursory glance at histoy reveals that the freeist countries economically are the most wealthy, prosperous and fashion the hightest standards of living. Notice the fall of economies of entire nations the more regulated they are. And my personal favorite, “there is no real answer to this question,” this is at the heart of the problem, the idea that no answers are possible and that the only thing that is certain in life is the depravity of mankind. Consider this last statement and again ask yourself what is wrong with the world.

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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