Awareness: The Bigger Picture Is What We Are Missing // Evan Wardlow

When I received the list classes for my first fall quarter of college, I saw a class that was named CTW (Critical Thinking & Writing). I did not know

what to expect I can tell you that I wasn’t happy because I never liked reading or writing, especially essays. Upper class men of the school had told me stories of how boring and bad their experiences were in the core requirement as well, so I definitely was not happy that the school was making us take this class. I did not know what to expect. Looking back now, after finishing both CTW 1 and 2, I can say that this class had its ups and downs but was not entirely bad. I learned so many positives to take away, but the one that hit me hardest is the topic of awareness.

As a human culture of today’s society, I believe we have a lack of awareness in life. Meaning, we need to be more observant and give more effort to look at the bigger picture in life. We are too worried about what is going on with ourselves. Put the video This Is Water in perspective for example. This video is a powerful baseline for proving this point. A college graduate is now working a full time adult American job, day in and day out. Life is very stressful when you have the same daily routine and are working eight plus hours a day. When you are stressed and things don’t go as planned, that is where things get toughest. You have had a long day or week of work and now have to end it with shopping at a crowded grocery store. It takes forever and you want to go home to relax. But what are you going to do?

You have one choice, which is to choose. Choose your default setting, or choose to have a higher level of thinking and consideration. I was once told that life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you handle it. If you don’t make a conscious decision of how to think and what to think, you will be pissed and miserable. As the video states, our default setting gives us the certainty that the bad situations we go through are all about us but this is not true. That everyone is in “my way” and that you come first. Take a step back, look around, and think. Did you stop and say maybe everyone else around you is going through the same or worse problems? This will give you a life of happiness and freeness.

Being aware of others is another huge part of awareness. In Columbine by David Cullen, two boys named Eric and Dylan ended up committing a mask murdering school shooting. Were both kids struggling in their lives? Were they both stressed and had much anger? Maybe. The big problem that stood out to me was the awareness of parents, adults, and the community of the kids. No one really paid the boys any mind and they pretty much got to do what they wanted. Yes there was some questioning and concerns here and there but no one ever took things into seriously. From the parents of the two boys, to the police department, to the neighbors of the community, they all seemed unfocused and in their own world. Then bam, every one wants to pay attention to detail and be so concerned with life when something bad goes wrong. Well you can’t live life like that because it will be too late as we see in Columbine where deaths occurred. It doesn’t take that much time to settle down and actually observe what’s going on around you and in your life. By doing so, you will be able to help out a lot of other people and will be able to prevent any bad circumstances which may come up. Life is not always about yourself is what I learned.

Awareness is a part of every piece of our life. Another part of the big picture for humans in life is to know about food, meat in particular. Most people in society do know what they are eating. When I read Eating Animals by Safran Foer, it really opened my eyes to what I put into my body. Many of the not so positive secrets about meat, animals, and factory farming were revealed. The major issue of factory farming that I felt was animal confinement. With close confinement, animals are more likely to get sick, harmed, or injured, putting humans at risk as well. Though this is very critical information, humans still buy and eat damaged or harmful meat. Humans still claim to have excessive needs for meat, making more animals get killed. When is this going to stop? When is the day going to come where we don’t act just because we are used to something? Yes, I know we need meat to be available to survive and no I am not asking everyone to become a vegetarian. But for the world to get better, we need to step up our awareness little by little. We can only demand for what we need, not just to be greedy. We can inform and educate others on the negative parts of factory farming so that animals as well as humans will not continue to suffer. That is awareness; that is the bigger picture.

Everyone has choices in life they need to make. Some will be simple, some will be difficult, but it is all how you handle them. As soon as we start making progress to be more aware of what is going on around us instead of worrying about ourselves, living life will become a lot easier because of care and communication. Now I’m not saying you have to do this with your life, but by doing so you will be contributing to a greater world.

Works Cited

Cullen, David. Columbine. New York: Twelve, 2009. Print.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. Print.

This Is Water. Prod. David Foster. 2013.

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