Speaking into the void.
For many of us, at times, it may feel like we are speaking into the void. We might feel that no one is listening, and no one cares.
Modern conditions happen to be such, that isolation is a given. We are surrounded by people, all the time; we may grow tired of them; yet we often do not feel connected to anyone.
Social media is designed in such a way, that an illusion is created – look at all these popular people, they are never lonely! We see how certain people are bombarded with affection, and we may envy them.
Yet, we keep hearing of other people's loneliness. We see hundreds of thousands of people's stories that may resemble our own. We see all of them, craving connection, deeply in need of emotional support, screaming to be noticed.
Sometimes we may even try and reach out to somebody. We might try to talk to this other person who, in so many ways, is a reflection of ourselves.
And we may be greeted by many possible outcomes. Sometimes, silence is all we get. At times, we talk for a little while, but it all dwindles into nothing. And sometimes, we may get an unpredictable reaction – anger, resentment, frustration, another person's pain transformed into destructiveness.
If we are willing to continue, weariness soon comes upon us. We hear the same stories so often, we lose a sense of reality – these people become one blurry image of collective misery.
We may think that, perhaps, humanity is doomed to such an existence, that the nature of our actual selves is to blame. We may find flaws and faults in each other, thinking to ourselves: “See, this is why! He is not trying hard enough. She has anger issues. They made the wrong decision. They are asking for it! No wonder the world is falling into smithereens! We deserve it!”
And many a time, I have been lured into that trap myself. I looked at the world through a thin film of fearful ignorance, agitated delusion, and the bitterness of the unfulfilled.
I thought that people were ultimately too stupid and all hope was lost. I felt like I must have been wicked enough to see through the stupidity, but, at length, was just as useless as the rest.
And what did it lead me to?
Frustration and anger and sadness and disappointment.
I saw those every day, in so many people. I used to want to hide away from them. I used to try and run away from it all.
I would literally close my ears and not listen to other people's complaints. I used to turn away when I saw others fighting, others screaming, others in pain.
I resisted to pay attention to evil, I wished so hard it didn't exist. I laughed at and belittled many human struggles; I came up with excuses for all kinds of atrocities.
But no more, my friend. I cannot stay blind and deaf and mute anymore.
No more justifications. Too many of us have kept quiet for too long.
We are not blind. We are not stupid. We are not incapable. We are not weak.
Our ignorance is curable. Our frustrations come from our circumstances. We can change our circumstances. We cannot end all suffering forever. But we can and we must, negate the suffering that is foreseeable.
What is that foreseeable suffering, one might ask? The suffering that is caused by greed, by vengeance, by envy, by bitterness, resentment, petty rivalries.
Oh, the good old, beaten dogs, Ancient Greek vices, and their sought after sisters, the virtues of justice, generosity, truth, benevolence... We hear about them all the time. Since early childhood, we are bombarded with cautionary tales. We roll our eyes at them. We are not naive enough to believe these tales. Even though, deep inside we may wistfully wish for at least some of them to be true.
And as we grow, we witness vices running the show. We see the greediest get the most power and recognition. We see that virtues are but lame words, stupid empty sounds, that are pronounced boastfully by the hypocritical thieves and prostituting swindlers. We may succumb to the temptation of the capital – run after the golden calf, stars in our eyes, passion tearing at our hearts. Succeed we or not, emptiness awaits us and fruitless fury of unfulfilled wishes – no true glory can come through thievery and knavery; no kindness lurks behind the vacant eyes of fornicators; “friendship, love, compassion” all become ad-words, generating, generating, that sweet, sweet cash revenue. If you are lucky, your loved ones only will see your desolate anger. If not, you may become a laughing stock of the masses. Entangled in the piles of false feelings; wrought by despairing longing for connection and understanding, we blow up – anyone can become a target for our frenzy. Strangers on the Internet, good-for-nothing coworkers, lazy spouses, ungrateful children… Greater and greater becomes the gap between ourselves and the rest of humankind. And at times, you may feel that all strength has abandoned you. You may feel as if your soul has been wrung dry. You have howled into the emptiness for too long. Lift up your exhausted, swollen eyes, my dear comrade. Look into the bright blue sky. Feel the warmth of the sun on your pale, beaten face. Feel, feel the air, moving, caressing your cold skin. Hear the whisper of the past generations. The road is arduous; the trials seem unending. Grief, loss, pain, await us at every turn. Lies, betrayals, twisting of our core beliefs and values may feel unbearable. I am not going to tell you of the light at the end of the tunnel. I do not believe we are in a tunnel. We are under the dome of the sky, on this planet we call home; it is vast and it is open in all directions. If we look up, we’ll see the light. The light from which one cannot hide. If we get up, off of our knees, hold our heads high, the light will embrace us. If we stand together, facing our common fears, sharing our collective grief, we can, and we must, move ourselves forward, or in any other direction we desire. There is no enemy; neither within, nor outside. What appears to be it, are the remnants of the monsters that grew out of loneliness and despair, fear and abandonment. If we look them in the face, as a collective; slowly, they will dissipate, dissolve, never completely disappear, but become one drop in the ocean of our unconscious. One drop of many: the waters of compassion and camaraderie, the waves of solidarity and mutual aid; the storms of joy and triumph; the sweat of our brow and the salt of our tears bringing the fruits of labor to flourish on the ocean floor. You and I, comrade, let’s dare to look up and see the glimmer in the sky.