OK ok. In a previous post I mentioned that I had joined both a model UN and a Philosophy club at uni, and will now also add that I recently bought a book on the life and teachings of the Dali Lama.
Additionally I am taking a very thought provoking sociology course this semester.. which although I love! .. often leaves me feeling utterly depressed about the state of the world..
It is no secret that I enjoy thinking.
And what I really enjoy pondering is the ways in which society has completely and utterly failed.
Because… I really do believe that we have fucked up big time..
And I use the term ‘we‘ in a deliberate manner. Because I know that evil and self riteousnes and greed and corruption and materialism and ignorance flow more freely from some of our souls than others.. But the truth is (and the Dali Lama would back me up on this one) we as human beings; as a group of the same species of animal, are all one in the same.
Yes! Yes! Geez ok, some people learn more, develop better senses of compassion, are more inquisitive, take longer to anger, are more.. moderated in their actions.
But at a basic, root level, we are all blood and guts and bones, and we all share the same 2 primary instincts: to live and to be loved.
Trust me. This is not about to turn into a preaching about being loved. Being loved is not what l will achieve at the end of this.. But it is true. Everybody wants to be recognized by someone else and no body wants to be alone.
In fact murder, is more often considered a crime of passion than any other crime.
We will kill for the survival of the ones we love. And we will kill the ones we love to cease their suffering and bring them peace..
BUT… look at us! What have we done! Why and HOW do the majority of this earth’s people continue to act only in their own best interests, putting their companies and paychecks and materialistic obsessions ahead of human compassion.
HOW do that wealthy 10% sleep at night.. In their mansions, on their Egyptian cotton sheets, under their fashionably tiled and thoroughly insulated roofs, with their full bellies and nanny – raised children.. without a single thought about the state of the world they live in.
HOW do ANY of us sleep at night, without a single twang of guilt.
I feel guilt. Every single day.
I don’t walk blindly past the homeless man on the corner. I SEE the junkie prostitute on the sidewalk. I HEAR the mutterings of the mentally ill. I FEEL guilt.
And when friends and family brush my thoughts aside and claim that “it’s not our responsibility” or “there’s nothing we can do”… I despair. So, so deeply.
If there is nothing that WE can do… If it is not OUR responsibility.. then.. We are just accepting all of the pain and suffering in the world.. As inevitable.
In a society which we have built, we are claiming that there is no other way…
I don’t understand.
News breaks each new day and a new piece of technology is born to ease the lives of the rich, a new scientific breakthrough allows the wealthy to live an extra day…
But who cares! Is life not easy enough? Have we not become lazy enough? Do we not live well and long enough? Do our obesity rates tell us nothing? Do our mental illness rates mean nothing?
Why aren’t we fixing the REAL problems?… The receding ice caps, the hole growing in the ozone, poverty, mental illness, inequality, suppression, isolation, deforestation, pollution, suicide..
Maybe I do know why.. It’s because we put capitalism ahead of all else.
I guess the most painful realization.. is that I know I am a consumer. I know I am not yet making a change. And the truth is… I don’t know how! And… I have asked! I have searched! And I have pondered! And I’m just not sure. .. If this mess of a world that we live in .. is still fixable. I sure as hell don’t believe that any body cards enough to try.
And the underlying result is millions of people, who are unhappy with their lot.
If we can address any one problem within our history. Let it be mental illness.
Mental illness can lead to murder, crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, pain, suffering, homelessness, unemployment, inequality and isolation. Basically mental illness can drive people to kill themselves.
Whether it be instantly or slowly.. over an extended period of time.
Sure! There’s help out there! If you can afford it. And if you believe in it.
Sure! It’s not so bad, many people living with mental illness (the ones we hear about any way) are getting on fine with life.
But if we could just be realistic for a moment.
Look at the homeless people in your area.. can you honestly say that they have consciously put themselves in the positions you see them in?
Is it possible that they are suffering from a mental illness or weakness or difference (say it however you like) that has prevented them from fitting in with our perfect image of society?
And a result could they possibly have been overlooked?
Is it possible that they are unable to be employed?
Lost in a giant capitalist system, in which they simply cannot fit?
And as we walk past, avoiding eye contact every day.. And as thousands of human beings walk past them, ignoring their very existence everyday… can you begin to understand the impact that might have on your mental health?
If no body ever told you that you were real, and no body ever reached out to help you when you were in need, but instead dismissed your suffering. If no body so much as smiled in your direction. . Is it conceivable… that you might doubt the only thing that you have… your own existence?
And if you doubted your own existence.. how would you act?
Probably crazy. You’d probably go nuts trying to make people SEE you.
And that’s what I see happening on the streets every day. But does any body else see those ghosts screaming out?
I honestly believe that I can say that I am thankful every single day.. for what I have. And I know how lucky I am. But too many people don’t.
If you are reading this blog right now. You are damn lucky! Because I doubt it’s been publicly published and distributed throughout the slums.
However, in saying this. Mental illness is not restricted to the poor.
And although I have never been to a councilor and have never been diagnosed with a “Condition” I can promise right now, that I have been to the depths of depression, I have suffered to unreasonable anxiety and I have contemplated the benefits to the greater good if I stopped living.. more than once.
And it’s shit.
Every time I am told that suicide is cowardly and selfish… I weep internally, in a confusion of grief and joy, for the fact that who ever believes that .. has never felt great pain. And lacks the empathy to even imagine it. Because sometimes. I find myself in so much despair about the state of the world we are living in.. that to cease living in it… would be a release. And it would be a reward to this earth; that we are polluting and destructing every single day in our pursuit for consumer happiness. And for those living on the streets, suffering to mental illnesses alone… what keeps them going?
The next hit is probably all..
Hmmm.. No apologies. .. But this, I guess is a deep and meaningful that I just had to get off my chest. Because I know too many who will understand, because I have seen poverty persist in too many regions of the globe, and because. .. well what else is the point of international media, of not to spread meaningful words.
This makes me question the degree I have chosen all over again… I think I should have been and always will strive to be a social worker. But my education will not stop that I suppose..