Saturday, December 7, 2013

Do, Love, Hope to be Happy


This is going to be a bit of a digression, even more so than usual. It may be a little grim, but it is something that has been on my mind for a while now and needs some sort of outlet.

For the most part of my life, I've been quite sheltered from the world. Not by design of course, I was just born into a bubble. To the untrained eye we actually seemed quite worldly, but in truth it was all quite superficial. It wasn't the fault of anyone in particular, just a result of the bubble that no one was really aware of. We traveled a lot, but we traveled in our bubble. It wasn't a veil of ignorance, because we were not ignorant of the world; just the bubble. This bubble was more of a filter; a very rosy, pretty filter. Whatever was beyond the bubble seemed lovely. The extent of our woes was within the confines of this very bubble. So I grew up with a slight disconnect to the world.

It wasn't until I moved away that I distanced myself completely. The bubble came with me of course, but I left with an open heart and an open mind which made the bubble very weak. I knew there was more to the world. I knew there was more to what I have been accustomed to believe. I knew that the dodgy looking man with piercings all over his face was not necessarily a threat. I knew that the homeless woman humming to herself, cracking jokes at passersby was not going to bite me and give me hepatitis. I knew that the skinhead in the hoodie was not going to kick me in the shin and steal my purse. I knew that the friendly, chatty cab driver was not going to steer off course and kidnap me. Some may say I am naive, but it reinforced my faith in humanity, and I have had some of the most interesting - albeit fleeting - encounters because of it. Strangers are not a threat by default, I don't know when that happened either. In my 25 years of life, there are countless displays of strangers' kindness and zero danger. With odds like that, what reason do I have to change my supposedly naive ways?

As I was experiencing the world at an individual level, my mind was also opened to the world on a global scale, even historical scale. That is where things got dark. That is when the unanswerable questions started flooding in. That is when my newly found faith in humanity was in question. I didn't know what to believe anymore. It gave birth to the conspiracy theorist in me. I couldn't take anything at face value anymore. Either way, whatever I chose to believe would leave me paralyzed. I would feel helpless. All this injustice, all these lives lost, all the greed, all the famine, all the woes of the world would overwhelm me and leave me totally numb. People say there are small ways you can help. People say if you want change, you should get up and do it yourself. But the logical rationale of the conspiracy theory formula would just dismiss every suggestion; all this, to what end? The ugliness will still remain. And it was a hard pill to swallow when, at the individual level, I was experiencing a beautiful side to life. We are all victims of this ugly, unjust world, some painfully more than others, but we don't hold it against each other. Yes, it did remind me of the ugliness of the world from time to time and the paralysis would take over, but I have come to accept that it will never go away.

Although my position on life is subject to change, right now I am beginning to believe that the world is beyond help; whether by design or by divine purpose. Someone else may be able to figure out a way to heal the world, and I truly pray to see that day, but I am not holding my breath. That person is not me, though. I like to see myself as a realistic idealist; if I can't make it ideal, I gotta be real. If history has taught me anything, it is the sad fact that there is ugliness in the world and no revolution of thought or peoples will ever really change it. We always seem to be replacing one demon with another. For every change for good, someone else somewhere else is paying the price for it somehow. That is the state of the world in equilibrium I suppose. The good do not always prevail. Evil sometimes - if not a lot of the time - can win the race too. The amount of great minds that the world has witnessed I believe may have reached the same conclusion. They were only ever celebrated posthumously. And for all the praise, they probably got just as much criticism. These great thinkers were rarely ever doers; some would follow the herd for the sake of survival while others were ostracized by force or by choice.

Now, I just want to be happy. That is my ultimate goal in life. Not in the selfish, insatiable way; I want to be content. People make me happy. Working, eating, traveling, smiling, laughing, learning, growing, creating moments and memories with people make me happy. Seeing people happy makes me happy. Making people happy makes me even happier. I just want to live surrounded by the people I love and hopefully love me in return. I want to try to spread that happiness to anyone I come in contact with. Like the song says; the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. 

“Rules for Happiness: 
something to do,
someone to love,
something to hope for.”

-Immanuel Kant