Alienated from Alienation by Alienation

Distraction can and does mutate into alienation. Meaning bloating with emptiness goes beyond apathy and morphs into a bitter desert of the heart and mind. This happens on both an individual and collective level.

Focusing on a personal situation tears open a painful baggage of issues which run deep into an individual’s veins. This baggage does not change when spotlighting mass alienation. If anything, it is much worse since it festers fetid layers revved by succumbing to going with the flow. Which is why society is no abstract force but the summation of communities in turn comprising myriad families.

Just a cursory glance at history shows that gravitating towards alienation is part of the human condition reacting – or not reacting – to specific circumstances. Today’s alienation is both a continuum of what we have inherited plus what we are doing to ourselves right now.

What are we doing to ourselves?

When Michael Morpurgo defined war as “man’s inhumanity to man” he was rightly reflecting on the indelible scars of wanton death and destruction when countries declare war on each other. Yet his comment perfectly sums up the war we are waging on ourselves – a war where the weapons consist of an ideology that trounces stability, serenity, and spirituality all in the name of openness and tolerance.

The best examples can be seen in the all-out assault on traditional family values and cavalier attitude towards marriage killing loving relationships and the innocence of children; the desecration of nature; the craving to play God while ridiculing religion; the manic obsession not to offend anyone but offending Divinity, the travesty of democracy, the greed of globalization, the bare-faced lies in promoting multiculturalism to oil slave economies; the tragic irony of communicating less despite our impressive communication methods (SM, in particular, is spawning hate and cowardice that trashes courteous agreement to disagree straight in the face).

All this is culminating in the expertly planned mass production of uncritical minds that are now even losing the power to express themselves and therefore to think things out as the overwhelming substitution of words with emojis amply manifests. Incidentally, emojis are not even a return to hieroglyphics because they merely involve a copy and paste click rather than a pondering of how to substantiate signified with signifier.

Consequently, today’s alienation has given rise to an absurd perception of most people as perverse by a small but powerful and vociferous fraction of populations in some wealthy countries.

Can anyone explain what is wrong with believing in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman as a bedrock for happy families? Can anyone explain the trumpeting of infidelity when we should be celebrating the wonder of lifelong commitment despite hardships, setbacks, disappointments, frustrations, and boredom?

Far from advocating the acceptance of any type of abuse in a marriage or being blind to falling out of love, I am enraged at how laws often make it harder for the victims of abuse rather than punish the perpetrators. And if anyone thinks that I rant against homosexuals, you couldn’t have got it more wrong since I am not bothered with who people choose to sleep.

What I believe is worth ranting over is bewildering children with sexual orientation that should take its temporal course. Same goes for the abuse of language in the guise of political correctness that spurs on the debasing of us all. Same for the series of ill-advised social theories (possibly even well-intentioned) put forward over the past century which have created a blighted landscape littered with victims of all kinds. Also, the vilification of rest leading us to believe that outperforming ourselves to constantly stand out is the key to success and fulfillment.

Since both personal and collective alienation thrives on paradox, I will leave the last word to an SM post I recently received:

We have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, get entertained too much, and pray too little.

We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour.

We conquered outer space but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’re trying to clean up the air while polluting the soul.

We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We plan more but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

More fast food, less health.

What is the common weave in all this soul-numbing? The fixation with instant self-gratification drowning in a world of information but starving for wisdom.


Noemi Zarb
Noemi Zarb
Writing, teaching, marketing. I have pursued three totally different career paths with the power of words serving both as link and lynchpin. Now I dedicate most of my time to writing - a never-ending romance. Typical of content writing I have been and am still responsible for scripting webs, advertorials as well as full-length articles. As a feature/opinion writer, I have over 600 articles published in Malta's leading newspapers and magazines (and still counting) - an experience which honed my interviewing skills when I interviewed countless painters and people involved in the performance arts. I also have over two decades of teaching English Literature and Critical Thinking via Textual Analysis under my belt having prepared students for the IB Diploma in English Language and Literature as well as MATSEC, IGCSE and SEC examinations in English language and English Literature. TEFL sometimes punctuated my summer holidays. Dealing with young people keeps you young and I have truckloads of cherished memories of my past students My current writing continues to be inspired by what life throws at me together with my critical thinking of what goes on (or doesn’t) around me firing my sense perception and vice versa. Being immersed in the corporate world gives me endless opportunities to observe facets of human behavior which invariably have me brood over. Learning and thinking over what I learn is still my way forward.

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  1. Thank you for the post – Good topic and thoughts! We are a weaker generation what comes to sharing, being present in relationships than any generation before us. Out of place, out of touch with the very core fiber of our being on a planet covered with life and nature. We have an opportunity to learn from it though – science walks together with wisdom and spirit if we let it. Greatest discoveries came to scientists, artists, explorers in dreams.

    • Thank you Maria for your appreciation and perceptive comments. You are so right about being out of touch with the very core of our being and Mother Nature and how we need to dream… immersed in silence and with our eyes wide open.

  2. These two sentences say so much by saying so little – great writing, Noemi! “We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years …. “