What does history teach us? Are we doomed to repeat cycles? Is technology really going to save us? What does scarcity have to do with anything? Did the Buddha come up with his philosophy just to avoid processing grief?
I look at the world, and there is so much I don’t know or understand. And I want to. I try hard to understand, because it hurts too much to see constant death and suffering on a massive scale across the Earth, not just of humans, but also plants and other animals too! And so much of it is caused by men, and I say men, because I believe patriarchy to be one of the fundamental problems. But if it’s caused by people, then shouldn’t it be possible to stop it? Just with the right combination of words and actions, shouldn’t it be possible to get everyone to change their ways? I’m sure much smarter people than me have taken a crack at it, and they do. It’s just that, we’re still in this mess. And I really don’t think that I’m special, just because I haven’t killed or tortured anyone in my life. But if I’m not special, then what makes me “special”? I don’t know the answer to that, but I believe that part of it is how I was raised. I was loved, even adored by lots of people growing up. I was also rejected a lot, by my classmates and other kids around my age. So there was a balance of being excluded from my peer groups, and yet being made to feel like I had purpose, and a place in this world, especially among my family.
Of course, I did do shitty things in my life. I have and I will again, probably. We are, as we are told again and again, imperfect. And that’s just fine. Still, I can’t help but stop and think. I don’t want to participate, and give myself body and soul, to an endeavour that just feeds into this mess of system that we live in despite ourselves. And yet, this system serves some of us really well, like myself. I haven’t had a job for a whole year, and I was still able to live a relatively safe and fulfilling life. That’s because my family is financially stable. But the whole concept of money is problematic, and yet, I continue to use it every day. And this has all led me to sit down and write an essay of sorts that no one might read. But the luxury of it all, to consume information, and then sit with it, before finally trying to piece it all together to understand the world a little better, is exactly why I’m “special”. Being “special” is really being privileged in certain ways. I mean, the word itself doesn’t even mean the same to everyone, but I think it says a lot about the person using the word. To me, it means having grand and possibly unreachable ideals. For example, I don’t believe that there’s anything worth killing someone for. But that ideal, I believe, is still a consequence of the life I’ve lead. I really enjoy my life, for the most part. Or, really, there are parts of my life that I’ve enjoyed so freaking much that I value life as a whole. So, it would be so hypocritical of me to wish for someone to lose theirs, or do anything that might endanger them.
I don’t have all the answers. I think that much is clear. But ever since I could think for myself, I knew that it wasn’t fair for some people to be treated like shit because of things that were completely outside of their control. It just took me a while to understand how little control we actually have. My own family, for example, has dealt with mental illnesses. Even I have. And it’s still a struggle for me to come to terms with the trauma that that has caused me, and to forgive. But forgiveness isn’t always the goal. Understanding is. And reducing harm, eventually maybe even healing, are the goal. But in order to get there, we have to grieve. I’ve had to grieve all the dreams I had before I understood the exploitative, destructive nature of capitalism. I’m still mourning and grappling with the idea of being rich enough to buy a condo in Montreal, and I’m someone who might inherit one some day. I can’t imagine paying rent to a landlord my whole life, but I also don’t believe in individual ownership, and the alternatives just seems so out of reach. A collective housing situation for an immigrant like me could be a nightmare, what with most of them being mostly white. And that’s the other thing, I immigrated here so young that I barely have a connection to many of the Iranians coming here to study or build a family. Well, that’s not entirely true. I build and maintain those connections through my family, for the most part.
I’m just saying, it’s complicated. The world is messy, and I don’t understand it or my place in it. But whenever I feel an urge to tell everyone to shut up and listen to the wind, or to take a break and sit down for a second, I remember that I’ve only learned to appreciate these things because of the very privileged life I’ve had so far. And yet, these are exactly the privileges that I’ll fight to keep. And I let myself grieve, because avoiding grief, whether by choice or by necessity, can really fuck with our mental health. And I want a simple solution, and an assurance that things won’t keep getting worse before they get better, but as we’ve seen with the reversal of Roe v. Wade, that’s not the case, and things can and do keep getting worse in some cases.
And still, I have hope. Probably because I am who I am and I don’t want to stop living in this fantasy that we’re all gonna do better and better. Because I don’t believe that we’re fundamentally greedy or selfish. I think any grand, sweeping statement that tells us we’re shit is ignorant, and stupid, and deserves a lot of scrutiny. I love myself, and so I have to believe that that’s possible for everyone else too. Because I don’t live alone, and I didn’t just learn to love at random. It was something innate that I had to learn to nurture, and it’s other people who taught me how to do that. No one wants to go through life hating themselves. It’s possible, and people do it all the time, but I just don’t see that as the only option, or the best one, or one that people would choose if they could choose. We’re not made to hate ourselves all our lives! We’re not made at all. Not in the purposeful way we think, anyways. We are nurtured and birthed, and we grow up and learn and survive. Sometimes, we don’t. When we do though, I believe we do so in order to thrive. We do so in order to be well. We are made to love, to share, to nurture and to teach, and if we can’t do that, then it’s a fault of our environments, and we should fight to change the environments that make it possible, and even likely, to hurt and kill each other. Not through further restraints. Because people break through restraints. Power is a difficult and complicated thing, and I believe that the only way to change things is by making everyone fall in love with something other than power, and control, and accumulation. Give something people will love, and you have taken away a reason for them to hate, envy and claim.