An Individual Take
The recent few years are quite the food for thought. The global pandemic continues despite the vaccine, regional conflicts be flaring up (most recently between Palestine and Israel), global markets on a wild roller-coaster ride and diplomatic tensions between world powers are at an all-time high.
On face value, it’s easy to pass judgement on humanity as being shite (for the lack of a better word). With what’s going on out there, it’s nasty, dark, and frankly depressing. With so much uncertainty today, predictions and opinions made can be changed in two hours. Consequently, worry, anxiety, and depression is the default mental state that many find themselves in.
Thusly, the general attitude that most humans harbor toward life borders on narcissism at best and nihilism at worst. Even though it’s a far cry from a beautiful reality, therein lies the makings of a massive shift for a better world.
But first, we need to examine why.
Humans are fascinating creatures because we transcended the animal kingdom through a combination of ambition and cooperation. The epitome of such behavior is an ‘US versus THEM‘ mentality which happens to be the perfect motivator/ catalyst for survival in a cruel, unforgiving world back then. Even today, we see it on the internet, the news, sports teams, games, and even in religious institutions, it’s everywhere.
Nobody’s denying that this competitive/ survivalist mentality has brought about much advancement. But even after having created literal heaven on earth, humanity still persists with the underlying mentality, only simply because it has worked in the past.
“There are no strangers. Only friends you haven’t yet met.”-William Butler Yeats
However, this ‘US versus THEM‘ mentality has its limits.
It limits what we can experience because of we think the other side of the proverbial fence is death. It limits who we can love because empathizing with people on the other side of the divide is suicidal. It limits what we can learn because we see the other side as foolish, bad, inhumane, and irrational. Such a mentality is one that is ultimately limiting because its defines survival being a right that only the fittest are entitled to. Such a mentality is high in entropy, meaning that it is far more likely to break down because its development is encouraged through competition rather than cooperation.
Simply put, such a mentality WAS great for ensuring humanity’s safety, but today it prevents humanity from being compassionate, empathetic, and loving.
You see it in people’s eyes as they walk around. They are obsessed with their own survival, drowning themselves in meaningless work as a means to an end, desperately trying to find love, compassion, and kinship in activities outside of themselves. They are incapable of loving themselves because of some archetypal norm that convinces them that this is the only way to live, perpetuated by its victims in their own quiet desperation, convinced that all their individual suffering MUST pay off someday. Hardly do they reach out for help, for fear that their ‘weakness’ will cost their self-image, while they suffocate themselves from a lack of human love. Deep down, they feel the void in their soul, for they know they do not love themselves, and justify that the love they seek is always outside of them, but somehow just always out of reach. As such, they firmly deny the ephemerality of life, justifying their eternal pursuit of money and fame while never having once lived. And they wonder why narcissism and nihilism is the prevalent philosophy of the urban human.
You see it in the extremists’ eyes. It doesn’t matter whether its on the battlefield or the internet. They make claims on the other side being wrong and base their convictions in overcoming that. For their world consists of only two colors; right and wrong, and their sustenance is the pride that they take in themselves after a successful crusade. They justify all the horrors they inflict upon others with the singular creed that they embody: “because it was the right thing to do“. And the proverbial other that they hurt? The ‘other’ acknowledges the horrors inflicted and take a stand in overcoming them, hardening ‘other-selves’ in defense and creating a vicious cycle that only perpetuates itself though mutual, vicious opposition. Both sides will justify their crusade against each other because of the cycle, and sacrifice countless lives in pursuit of what is ‘RIGHT‘ while never considering the possibility of peace. Their truth is an unacknowledged wound deep in the fabric of their soul, too painful to bear, and as such they project it unto the world, never once trying to understand how others might see it. As such, their life becomes a crusade to eradicate all that is wrong with the world, for they are ALWAYS right and that their shoulders bear an impossible, yet ‘honorable’ burden that is theirs alone. Fuck empathy and compassion, they will sacrifice the world if they must, for what is ‘ULTIMATELY RIGHT‘ is the truth that they will have everybody acknowledge simply because they don’t believe in it themselves.
Such is the truth of the ‘US versus THEM‘ mentality, for its nature is one that separates self from the other, and ultimately separates us from the love, peace, and happiness that we so desperately crave. We feel lonely, at a distance from the love we crave, separated by these obstacles that we must so earnestly overcome, to finally prove ourselves worthy of it and attain that proverbial happy ending that will definitely put an end to our misery.
But it never does. We reach one destination, too tired and beaten up to truly appreciate what we have, but instead look at the next fancy thing on the horizon, thinking that will save us. But it never does. It keeps going on, for we have separated ourselves from the happiness that we so crave in a masochistic act of ignorance.
After all, who wants to be frustrated, close-minded, ignoble, impotent, stupid, hateful, angry, and wrong by choice? Nobody does, and yet we do it to ourselves, then project it unto the world and claim that others are bad because we are too ashamed to acknowledge that we were the ones who did it unto ourselves. Thus goes the saying: “what you see in others, you see in yourself.“
“What is evil, but a lack of love?”-Anon