01580: Have We Become a Selfish and Uncaring Society?

I took an ordinary bus home today given the MRT had to shut down after an apparent suicide by a man in his mid-20s. And this is far from the first time someone has tried to use mass transit systems as a means for suicide. In fact it feels like it seems to be happening more and more. In January of this year a woman survived her attempt, also via the MRT. August last year a woman died by jumping in front of one of the LRT trains. Another man had tried to commit suicide via the LRT 2 in August 2011, but had managed to survive his attempt.

And every time, the initial reactions of the social media sphere trend more along the lines of complaining about the hassle of the trains being shut down. And yes, people still complain after finding out that the reason for the shutdown is because of an apparent suicide attempt. I get it - it's horribly inconvenient for the trains to go down in our traffic-choked metropolis. But there's a person who actually felt desperate enough to try and end his or her life here. And in many cases they were successful. And that's not a good thing at all. And if we can't take a moment to lament the passing of another human being because we were inconvenience in our daily activities, what kind of a society are we turning into?

We talk about how the Filipino culture is a hospitable one and that we're known more for our smiling faces. But by the same virtue hospitality and friendliness say nothing about being decent and concerned about people outside our immediate circles. And I don't know if we can even argue that maybe it just wasn't evident in these select circumstances. There are a lot of other indicators that support the notion that we're not exactly a selfless people. And I can somewhat understand this given how life feels like it's moving at warp speed and we're all just trying to make a living for ourselves. And in a third world country where the poor keep getting poorer and the rich continue to consolidate wealth and power to themselves, one might argue if we can really blame people for not caring.

Social media brings the stranger aspects of any society to the forefront. People have become very comfortable with over sharing and expressing every single word and thought without the slightest hesitation before posting. And thus more and more we are exposed to the little blemishes of our personalities, the things that you would not normally learn about a person since the tendency is to put our best foot forward with every in-person interaction. But the digital world is different and we feel there's little harm or consequence to the negative things that we post online.

But there is a lot of harm. If anything, we get to see more of the sad decline of human decency, for one thing. And that is something that none of us should treat likely or just resort to a "Like".