How the Whining Culture is Eating the World

Most people have probably been aware by now of the new sensation in Netflix, “Pretend it’s a city”. It’s 7 half-hour episodes, directed by Martic Scorsese per se, where there is only one person during the whole show talking and analyzing various happenings and behaviors of people in New York City. The show is about Fran Lebowitz, a humorist author and public speaker that has her take on all the embarrassing little patterns of the city she is living in and it’s not the first that she cooperates with Martin Scorsese, as she had worked with him in the past to make the documentary “Public Speaking”.

The show doesn’t make pretensions in any kind of way. At the beginning of the show, Frans is quite open about her views and what the series is gonna be all about. As she says herself,

“I have no power to change anything by myself. If I could change it I wouldn’t be so angry. The anger is I have no power, but I’m filled with opinions.”

And from then on, they march on towards the road where they put the hand out on everything and everyone and scrutinize it to the bitter end. She will talk about people never paying attention where they walk because they are looking at their phone, about the younger generation that is supposed to be innovating but they are not doing their part, people at the metro that always bother others by asking them for instructions and anything else that has come to her attention.

Yes, this show is all about whining and the worst thing about it is that it is actually good enough to hold your attention all the way to the end. The character is fascinating in its own accord where she very accurately and wittingly finds the best ways to approach each issue and she never misses out to amuse the audience with her smart remarks.

The show is quite addictive and never stops to amuse you one way or the other but still, looking back at it as a whole it doesn’t change the fact that the whole series is basically just whining. Shameless, unapologetic, kathartic whining where you get the chance to cleanse out all the little things that have bothered you in the past but you never had the time or courage to express to those around you.

This is the space we all secretly crave to have where we can express all the annoying details of our lives without being labeled “grumblers” or worrying about how we come forward to others. There is hardly any day that I don’t want to bash on the stupefied, senseless events I encounter in my path and even though I may not admit it, there is always an underlying urge to just stand back and assume the role of the judge myself while criticizing the heck out of everything without worrying about how to fix them.

“Like a shaken bottle of carbonated goodness, when we are under pressure, we can sometimes feel the urge to “explode” in complaints. Letting it all out can relieve the inner tension we feel from a difficult situation, and help us feel ready to face the next frustration. Sometimes we just need to blow off steam by expressing ourselves.” — Elizabeth Scott

The main difference between whining and being constructively critical is that you don’t just point the finger at the things you don’t like but you also hold the responsibility of progress on your part to the degree that it’s possible. Being judgemental alone is easy. It makes you feel good about yourself when you get to be that person that knows better than everyone else how things should be and what the process is supposed to look like. In most cases where people assume this role, they rarely make the work to understand the implications of what they say or how it would pan out if their solution was actually in place.

The moment they took measures for the coronavirus everyone started complaining about how bad this would be for the economy and that we should get our freedom back. Yet they would be the first in line to attack if anything bad happened to them or the people close to them if it was the case to not have measures in place at all. We are fast to point the finger on people playing with their phone all the time or condemn those that do mistakes in their work but that happens to us all the time and we are keen to preach on how supporting and understanding we should be in cases we are the subject of these judgments.

We are naturally inclined to minimize the other person’s point of view and blame them per se while accentuating the circumstances and environmental reasons if the mistake happens to be on our side of the terrain.

But even more so it seems that whining has become part of the culture, a behavioral pattern where people have learned to indulge in more out of habit and social propagation more than anything else. In every work I had, I would always depict the whiners out of everyone and made sure to stand as far apart from them as possible. They are the individuals that are gonna find something bad in every situation, they will grab every opportunity to assert why the system sucks and why it doesn’t work and they will gladly bring the whole team spirit down to the gut if they are to make their point clear.

Gary Vaynerchuk, a famous entrepreneurial author, and speaker once said,

“You’ll never catch me complaining about not seeing my kids enough or about not having enough leisure time because if I had an issue with those things, I would either do something about it or at least recognize that I have the ability to do something about it.”

It is no wonder why it always the same people that are so apt to attract negativity all around them. Their brains have been conditioned to work this way. They have been so used to complaining that they have been numbed by its impact and it has become their new normal of functioning.

In my last work, we would do one daily meeting every morning to catch up with the rest of the team, and every day it would be the same few people that would attract the eyes of the whole group and they would expand on various problems and details that would bother them while all the rest of us would have to sit back and listen to it without an end in sight.

When everything around you seems to suck it is quite probable that the problem doesn’t lie with the environment but with the person that asserts it to be so bad. If you ever get the chance to spark a conversation with an old guy you will find many times that they find the past times better than the current ones we are living in. They will say that without the internet, relationships were better, people were more authentic and there was less corruption than what it is today. Yet it’s not hard to realize that it wasn’t so much that the time was better but the fact that they were younger and stronger back then and they were perceiving reality through different lenses.

Fridrich Nietzche, the great German philosopher knew about the impact of sickness on the mind quite well. He would suffer from a very young age from migraines which evolved later to his cognitive decline and his eventual death at the age of 44. In his books, he always made sure to mention how an unsuitable body makes for a bad philosophy of mind and how heavily influenced thinkers were when the body was dealing with a physical disease.

Your views change when you feel weak and feeble and so it happens with complainers as well where their mind has grown frail and keen to disengage from everything by the means of being “critical”. It’s only a matter of choice to change our direction and start reverting all these bad habits that have been stigmatizing our thoughts and by doing so it will become evident that most of the things we find so unbearable and unforgivable are nothing but mental trifles.

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