I sit to write something that eats at me, and my mind draws a blank. This isn’t surprising, as it happens quite often. I will get an emotional swell of something, and feel I must write of it immediately, so I sit in front of my computer, and as soon as fingers touch keys… it’s gone.
I wanted to remark on how I mourn what we’ve lost as a species. I felt like it was important I speak up and say how ghastly it is that we love to destroy beauty. We have a fascination with destruction, an unhealthy fixation, if I’m being honest.
Life is so delicately created, something newborn and tremulous, an intricate, complex weaving of atoms and molecules coming together to form chains of proteins that create a living organism bit by bit, and with one fell swoop of an ignorant blade or the malevolent pulling of a trigger, that beauty is gone: destroyed. Obliterated.
There are so many people who take pleasure in it. Their own skewed senses of justice and fair play creating an imbalance in their favor to the detriment of so many others, and they just take. They take and take, and when there is nothing left to take, they destroy, they murder, they demolish.
I’m watching my own countrymen revel in their ignorance. I’m seeing them attack the beauty of life, the joy of existence, and tearing it down, calling it non-life. This has happened before, but I feel at some point it was to stop. We live in the information age, where knowledge is not only power but a way of life.
Here, now, where the entire sum of humanity’s knowledge is available at our fingertips, only to be accessed at any moment it’s needed, but we live in ignorance. We don’t just live in it, we celebrate it, we desire it. We call it truth, we label it justice. We strip others of their humanity and call it good.
What is left of our souls that we do these things so freely? That there is open debate whether or not children are being locked up in cages? Whether gay men and women are being ostracized and denied basic services? Where transgender people are being murdered outright? These things are being called good by too many, by so many more than should ever be in a society that has so much information available to it.
I think I get away from my point, whatever it is at 1:45 in the morning. My eyes hurt, my legs and feet hurt, I’ve been at the hospital all day today watching over my mother, waiting for her to come home. I feel alone.
It is so quiet in this noisy room, I just don’t know what I am. Am I an island? John Donne would say I’m not, that no man is an island unto himself. Yet I feel like an island.
Coughs from the living room send a spike through my head. I don’t do well with sudden noises, as my anxiety has reached peak levels this past week. I’m so tired, so tired but what do I really do besides go to the hospital, sit there for 10-12 hours unless getting up to help her with her water or to change the TV channel for her, and come home to prop my feet up so the feeling will return to them?
My hands are open, and there lies in them naught but thoughts and feelings. To most, that’s as good as nothing. An offering of nothing. Nothing is too expensive. People empty their bank accounts for nothing. We abandon our dreams for nothing. Some destroy their whole lives for nothing. Then there are those who destroy other’s lives for nothing.
Billy Paul once said “nothing from nothing leaves nothing. You gotta have something, if you want to be with me.” A reasonable demand, I think.
When I die, I will become nothing, just as we all will become nothing. The wind, and the water, the microbes in the soil, they will turn me, they will turn us back into the nothing we once were, and will always remain thereafter. Nothing reigns. It is the most valuable offering the human race has left to it, it seems.
Enough of that, though. We will reap that benefit soon enough.
In the interim, I think about humanity’s penchant for beautiful things it must destroy. We talk about the beauty of nature, but our hands violate the soil, our tongues profane the air, our minds find new and terrible ways to crush, kill, and exploit that which isn’t truly ours, and we revel in it. We revel in it. We talk about market shares and futures, as if the very air we breathe and water we drink is just a commodity to be exploited, as if the real future we face isn’t one of suffocation and sickness.
We revel in our ignorance. We love to hate our fellow human beings. We use love as a tool to sell, to manipulate good hearts into bad situations for our own gain.
But I go off point again. I’m tired, and my mind is reaching to find what it wants to say. It is now 2 AM, and my eyelids are heavy. I am mindful of every breath I take in, and I hear the light tapping of the keys as my fingers relay to you in real-time what passes through my mind, though the carpal tunnel is murder on my own hands.
What is there to say? I don’t know. This probably seems a meandering, long-winded nothing to you, dear reader, and perhaps that is all I truly have to offer this morning. I guess I should get some sleep, since I have to wake my father up for work in a few hours.
In truth, I will likely just lay on my bed and listen to my heart beat. I will marvel at the complexity of my own body, knowing full well that either it will shut down of its own accord, or someone will take my life from me for some perceived sin, or just for what change I have in my pocket.
My brain asks me to write down my wants, just in case. Sometimes I just want to make my desires known, so that someone will remember them should something ever happen to me. I’ve always been the type who tries to prepare for any and all eventualities, you see.
So let me say this:
I want to be loved.
I want everyone to be loved.
I want every child to have food, shelter, a warm place to sleep, and parents who love them. I want those children to be happy, and secure in their own persons. Let no one tell a child its dreams are foolish, or its fears inconsequential.
I want every person to use their imagination every day. That may sound like an odd desire when put up against food, shelter, and mental well-being, but it’s important to me. I think many of us have lost the ability to imagine. We no longer dream in color, I fear, and only live in black and white. I also hope that when someone is imagining something, they imagine themselves in the shoes of another human being, that they feel what that person feels, and in that sharing of minds, they gain empathy and compassion for one another.
I want an end to war. I am tired of people dying for lines on a map, or running into battle because a man ten thousand miles away claimed the authority that they must do so. There is nothing worth war. Nothing is worth murdering another human being, and no life should be sullied by engaging in the murder of other human beings.
There are so many more, but my arms grow tired, my legs heavy as I sit in my chair. I type this, even though I believe that no one will remember my words, no one will care for them. Some might say “I will remember them, I will care for them,” but human desire and will is fleeting.
We change our opinions of people based on the most mercurial of feelings. I have witnessed friendships destroyed over baseless acrimony. Entire lives are destroyed by gossip, assumption, even gastric distress can cause us to become less receptive to the people we claim to love and cherish.
That’s not my cynicism, I promise you. It is just an observation, and it doesn’t apply to everyone, but since we don’t come with manuals and fact sheets, there is no way to know until something happens which brings that possibility to a head.
Regardless, I believe I have taken up enough of your time, if you have read this. I don’t expect that anyone has read this far, and if anyone from the future reads this, after I’m gone (whether it be 1, 10, or 100 years… though the former is more likely than the latter), they may just think “he’s a long winded fool, isn’t he?”
I am that, yes.
Vicissitudes Of Ignorance