I’m at a crossroads. My existence seems stagnant. My ideologies and my behavior are at odds with one another. Excuse me if this seems like a journal entry, because it kinda is. I try to stay away from the pen/computer when my emotions swing too far in one direction, but sometimes this is the only release I have. Well this and my good friend Mary Jane; but sometimes even MJ isn’t what I need. This is one of those times.
I write because I know not what else to do. What is there to do? Nothing captures my attention for too long. People always ask me what I see myself doing in five years? 10 years? What is my dream job? Leave me alone yo, I don’t have a dream job. I haven’t figured out what career I absolutely have to have, and I doubt that I’ll ever figure it out. I know I’m not crazy, I understand that these are things we must decide on in life. Understanding does not constitute abiding. (Proof: I’m sitting here writing for a blog instead of looking at grad schools, applying for jobs, or anything related to being “successful” after college.)
What makes you happy? Seemingly a simple question. Nothing is as it seems.
I walk around every day knowing there’s a whole bunch of shit that I want to figure out, and there’s a whole bunch of shit I need to figure out. Separating the two is no easy task. The need comes from the supposed need for me to get up, get out, and cash in this sophisticated food stamp they call a bachelor’s degree. The want is more philosophical, metaphysical. It’s a bunch of shit I could easily do without, but it would help me clean up my conscious and maybe even organize my needs in order of priority and pertinence.
There’s a lot of suffering going on in this world. Bet if you tune in to CNN right now they’ll be happy to fill you in; that is, if they’re not too busy talking about Mitt Romney’s proposed tax plan or his pet dog Scruffles (I made that one up). Better yet, some of us can even walk down the block to see some of the heavy-duty misery people live with. For this I know I am fortunate. I have a home, I can eat when I want, I have hot water, all the stuff we tend to take for granted. My fortune doesn’t stop me from feeling for those who are less fortunate.
Previously, I have written about what makes us happy*, and how the source of this happiness is more important than the feeling. When we speak of those who are less fortunate, we speak not only of those toiling away in third world conditions, but those of us who worship and live by this false sense of happiness. They may not be miserable now, but once their happiness is taken away- whatever it is- it will torment their being and lead to depression. We speak of these people because they need to be brought out of their suffering as well.
One of my favorite songs of all time is “Auditorium” by Mos Def featuring Slick Rick. (If you didn’t just sing “La-Di-Da-Di” in your head go stab yourself with a fork. Notice I said fork and not butcher knife. Can't have people killing themselves over trivial matters. But still, go stab yourself.) I love the song so much because Mos Def spits some truth that I find within myself everyday I wake up.
“The way I feel, sometimes its hard to sit still/ things are so passionate times are so real/ sometimes I try to chill, mellow down, blowin’ smoke/ smile on my face but its really no joke/ you feel it in the street people breathe without hope/ they goin’ through the motion, they dimmin’ down the focus/ the focus gettin’ clear and the light turn sharp/ and the eyes go teary, the mind grow weary.”
I could probably quote the whole verse, these bars are enough. Part of my personal dilemma comes from this feeling of helplessness that surfaces whenever my mind thinks about all the bullshit we are bombarded with everyday. What is a brother to do? The tide of human action has been flowing in this destructive direction for as long as we have been recording history on clay pots, how do we turn the tidal wave around?
Maybe it’s just my excuse for sitting on my ass, talking about what’s fucked up, and ultimately not doing anything. Maybe I’m looking to be bothered when nothing else can bother me. Maybe dwelling on things I can’t control is my escape from dwelling from the things I can control. Maybe I think too much… I do think too much.
It’s hard not to be discouraged when you see widespread injustice and little action being taken to eliminate it. But then I ask myself: what are you doing? Pointing out the problem is a step in the right direction, but it’s only one step. Without taking the further steps that first step is void. It lacks any purpose or conviction when taken independently, without further movement.
Identifying the problem is the easy part, the solutions are difficult to recognize. The solutions are nothing but ideas in the mind of people. Always incomplete, always prospective. Our current situation is familiar, we have grown up with it, and we are used to the way the world works. They’re unknown so we are hesitant to accept or try them. Our situation could definitely get better, but at the same time, they could definitely get worse. It’s a risk the world won’t be ready to take unless current conditions do get much worse.
Being happy for me is not a question of what I have to do to be happy, but what I have to do to make others happy. I’ll never truly be happy because I will never be successful. The cause I concern myself with is an eternal struggle, one that we have read and heard about through all types of historical religious and secular texts. Many have tried to succeed in this arena, and all have failed. If all these great men and women have come up short, what hope do we have?
But that isn’t the question we should be asking. If we dwell on that fact, we’ll all be slitting our wrists and jumping out of skyscrapers. We should be thankful that there were people who struggled for justice and truth, because I’d hate to see what the world would look like if they did not.
Why wallow in misery unless you plan on dying soon? I can tell myself there’s little to no hope, that we as a people have failed each other, but what is the point? I will continue to dwell on the question, “how do we stem the tide?” until I have an answer. The search for truth is a never-ending endeavor, and while I don’t plan on living forever, I do plan on living in the name of this question. It will serve as a constant reminder of what I want to do in life and what I will accomplish, even though I haven’t figured it out yet.
*Yeah, uh… that post hasn’t gone up yet. Stay tuned. I spent a little too much time scouting PLNL squads.