Values in Society the Values of Modern Essay

Pages: 5 (1632 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology

¶ … Values in Society

The values of modern society, particularly in so-called sophisticated and civilized democracies, like the United States, are on the decline. Throughout the world there is an erosion of morals, values and standards in societies that profess to be advanced. The decline in values is gradual and often hidden to a great extent by the way that we become used to or inured to these changes. The media, films and advertising tend not make us 'used to' lower value and standards. Older people are continually shocked by the societal conditions around them. This is mainly because they have the vantage point of their age to see the changes that have occurred over time.

On the other hand, many people tend to accept a decline in standards, principles and morals as normal and they become habituated to a lower standard. I am also guilty of this unthinking attitude to a certain extent but the event that I observed recently and which will be described in this paper, succeeded in shocking me out of my moral somnambulance.

The event in question was initially extremely ordinary and mundane. It concerned a very elderly woman who was attempting to walk across the road at a busy intersection. She was not obeying the rules and was trying to make her way blindly across an extremely busy street, much to the annoyance of the motorists. I observed what happened next from the third floor of an apartment building that overlooked the street.

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The first thing that I noticed about the elderly woman was that she appeared to be very poorly clad and was probably a homeless person. Her dress was in tatters in places and she seemed somewhat bewildered and confused. It was obvious even from a distance that she was not only old and frail but that she was probably suffering from some form of senility as she did not seem to be fully cognizant of the dangerous situation that she was in and of the inconvenience that she was causing to the motorists as she tried to cross the road.

Essay on Values in Society the Values of Modern Assignment

Up to this point there was nothing particularly strange or upsetting about the situation. What was clear was that here was an old woman who was lost and confused and as such she represented the most vulnerable and needy members of our society. Every civilized society prides itself on looking after and protecting the weak and needy, children and the elderly, who cannot look after or fend for themselves. This old woman was certainly one of the needy and vulnerable of our society and she should therefore have been protected. However what followed was not what I expected at all. The events that occurred as a looked helplessly on from my window shocked me deeply and made me reassess and question the way that society had declined in terms of civilized values and standards.

I then saw a group of young people walking across the road behind the old woman, who was now standing bewildered in the middle of the traffic. I expected them to give her a hand and help her across the road and out of harms way. Instead they hardly noticed her and seemed engrossed in their own conversations with one another. It was as if she simply did not exist for them. They were followed by a well dressed executive looking man who also simply walked around the old woman within even looking at her. I expected him to extend his hand to help her across the street but he did not even break his stride for a second and kept on walking. This scene was repeated a number of times and I felt helpless as I could not get down to the street at the time. But much worse was to follow.

The old lady did eventually managed to stumble across the road and finally reached the sidewalk, miraculously unscathed. I could just make out the expression on her face from where I stood. I was deeply affected by the look of resignation, combined with hopelessness and emptiness that I saw. I could not believe that we live in one of the most advanced countries in the world but that we are not civilized enough to help a weak old woman out of harms way.

Just as I thought that the worst was over for the old woman, the group of young people appeared again. They now began to jeer and taunt the old woman, calling her crude names. One young girl picked up a bottle from the sidewalk and threw it at her. This made the old woman even more confused as she thought that they had escaped harm. I could see that she began to cry. However, instead of making the youngsters compassionate, this seemed to increase their sense of enjoyment at her predicament and they laughed and began to throw pieces of garbage at her. The old woman fell and then started to stumble away. By this time I had already phoned the police but when they arrived the old woman was nowhere to be found. She had probable escaped down an alley and was hiding. I could not even begin to imagine her feelings of despair and confusion.

The event that I witnessed was not earth shattering or even unusual in many large cities. However, what I had witnessed had shocked me out of my own sense of complacency. The fact that a vulnerable elderly person could be treated in that way in our society places a huge question mark behind the standards and values that are prevalent in our culture.

The event also raises certain serious questions about the future of modern society. Have we become a society of selfish and cruel people who care only for ourselves and have no feelings for others? More importantly, how can we claim to be civilized when out standard of values and morals are not as sophisticated as the most 'primitive' tribes in Africa? It is a well-known fact that some of the most undeveloped people of the world have very high standard of morality and ethics. The San Bushmen of Southern Africa, for example, who are in modern terms a very primitive hunter-gatherer society, would never have treated their elderly badly. In fact they are known for the respect and veneration that they have for the vulnerable and elderly in their society.

What the above experience also makes clear is that there has been a decline in standards in our societies since the 1960's and 1970's. There was certainly a greater degree of respect for the individual and for the elderly in society in the past. This can in fact be verified by many reports and studies in recent years which indicate that the elderly are in many cases being neglected and even abused in our modern and advanced society. For example, one report state that the percentage of nursing homes cited for abuse has doubled since 1996. In some cases these abuses were "…serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury." (Nursing Home Current Events in Texas)

Of course, the incident that I witnessed is only one case and not all old people are treated in a bad way. However, the point that is being made is that this particular event is evidence of a growing trend in our modern societies which indicates a lowering of values and moral standards towards others -- and not just towards old people. We can also find the same low standards in the treatment of children and others in our society. In general this is a trend that can be seen in the media and in other areas, which suggests that as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Values in Society the Values of Modern.  (2009, June 25).  Retrieved October 26, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Values in Society the Values of Modern."  25 June 2009.  Web.  26 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Values in Society the Values of Modern."  June 25, 2009.  Accessed October 26, 2020.