Here are some completely predictable statistics I read in “Living in America will drive you insane—literally,” a post on Salon:
- According to June 2013 Gallup poll, 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them.
- In 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that antidepressant use in the United States has increased nearly 400% in the last two decades, making antidepressants the most frequently used class of medications by Americans ages 18-44 years.
- Another Gallup poll “The School Cliff: Student Engagement Drops With Each School Year” (released in January 2013), reported that the longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become. The poll surveyed nearly 500,000 students in 37 states in 2012, and found nearly 80% of elementary students reported being engaged with school, but by high school, only 40% reported being engaged.
The first statistic in the list should really tell you everything you need to know about not just America but the whole industrialized world. It’s become a truism that “life’s a bitch,” and in fact we print that phrase on coffee mugs and carry those mugs to places we hate to do things we hate with people we generally at least mildly hate, at least most of the time. But this truism is bolstered by other corollary truisms: everyone’s gotta’ eat, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, life’s not fair, life is hard work.
The part in the aforementioned article about eating shit reminds me, of course, of Kafka, and of David Foster Wallace’s writing on The Metamorphosis and A Little Fable. Of even the most regimented, caste-society insects, at least it could be said that they get to go outside once in a while.