Marvin Gaye is a notable artist of all time. (Seriously old school, right?) Besides his great artistry, his renown is also due to the subject that makes for most hits today. He, like other great artists, today and before him, hold the mirror to the world. One of Gaye’s greatest hits, if not the best, is a haunting question.
What Is Wrong With The World?
A question that we wrestle with, whether consciously or otherwise, every time injustice shoves its ugly face in ours. We’re not short of events that pause the rhythm of our lives. We question and resign to despair, because we can’t say why some things happen.
We don’t understand how hatred can consume others, spurring them to unimaginable, gruesome actions. Violence, abductions, corruption and other injustices.
So, what is wrong with the world?
The First Problem
To answer Mr. Gaye’s question: love is missing; that’s what’s going on. It can be easy to quip, “There is evidence of love in so many other places”. Where it isn’t, it is obvious. It can be with individuals, to communities, even nations.
When one part of the body is riddled with infection, we say someone isn’t well. Isn’t it then fair to say that the entire world is sick? Though your reality is different from others’ narratives, the fact still remains.
Love goes beyond logical tolerance to relentless inclusion. It is prodigal; giving more than the minimum. Love is selfless. It prefers others over ourselves. It looks for the best in others. Less cynicism and suspicion; people trusting each other. A world where being different and having contrary views isn’t divisive.
What a thing to imagine. People being ‘nice’ to each other. Leaders who put the interests of their people before their own. Employers not exploiting their employees.
The Second Problem
We now know that love is missing but, what is wrong with the world, still?
Love has been oversimplified. Underrated, even. Consider love beyond the ‘fluffy’ movie construct. Beyond feelings. Love has been reduced to too little. The world, in a general sense, has reduced it to its by-products. To the feelings love produces. To never having to deal with challenges in relationships.
On the contrary, love takes work and discomfort. It takes love to prefer someone over yourself. Part of the problem with the world now is that too many think it is requires too much of us.
“Love” as the answer sounds utopian. Fluffy, elusive. Too simplistic, even. A simple answer to state but one difficult to enact. We can love ‘love’ without loving.
For example, it can be hard giving someone something we also want. Sacrificing our preferences for others’ good is not reflex that comes naturally. It takes effort.
Being both receivers and givers of love makes us, and others, better. The world better. It will create the world we hope for, when we, like Gaye, ask, “What’s going on?”
The complete answer to why the world is the way it is: