Just because people are queuing up for it, just because they charge money for it, just because it’s on a hundred thousand billboards doesn’t mean we need it. Just because they say it’s good for us, bad for us, worse for us, just because it’s on the evening news and pop-up ads doesn’t mean it will ever fulfill us.
We are born as reasoning, deductive creatures and we spend our lives being taught that the narrowest, most well-trodden paths are the best to travel. We’re taught that some doors should remain closed. We’re
taught that diamonds are a girl’s best friend but did we ever stop and ask ourselves–why?
We’re taught that we were born halves forever seeking to be whole, and we’ve been to a thousand bars and clubs and parties and networking sites throwing ourselves into a pursuit we’ve always been taught is going to be external. Every price tag should come with the disclaimer that its purchase does not come with happiness.
We’ve been taught that up is up and down is down, that we can’t breathe in space, that symptoms are more
important than causes. We pay lip service to commercial canticles and ask ourselves what can I do? We take the roads most traveled because we have been taught to ask why not instead of an infinitely more powerful why? We do the things that make us happy because we are told that they’ll make us happy, even if we sometimes secretly wonder why we’re not feeling it.
Maybe we’re not doing it right. But we keep on going through the same old motions because practice makes perfect, and maybe it’s just easier to stop caring why it doesn’t fill us with fire instead of trying to strike a spark of our own. You should be angry.
You should be furious. You have been made to feel like a leper at the first breath of a question, and you should clench your teeth to breaking before you take another spoonful of what they’re trying to feed you, no matter how seductive or persuasive the airplane noises they try to coax it down with. When they smile and try to shake your hand to steal concessions from you, make your hand a fist.
Make sacrifices, but not on the altars of a system that needs to poison itself into oblivion and forgetfulness just so it can keep grinding its own gears down to rust and pulp. They will always be quick to condemn you, belittle you, tell you it can’t be done just to shut you up, because there’s a tiny little part of them that still screams to be heard that recognizes that yours is a voice made to end worlds.
They have tried to make yours a life of thoughtlessly accepted obligations; of education, of degrees, of marriages, of children, of mortgages, of pensions, crises and deaths. Set fire to their contracts and write your own terms. You want to spend your nights counting the stars? Count them. Lose count. Start over. You want to forgo the canvas and toss buckets of paint into empty air? Hand me one.
Invent a new language. Graffiti forgotten catacombs that no one will ever see. Dance like a moron. Write love letters to strangers on the backs of napkins, playing cards, your own hand, just to let them know that there are wholes out there, sculpting their own dreams on their own terms in their own time with their own hands, their eyes set on distances far beyond the shuffling of their feet over gray, uniform sidewalks.
When they try to feed you their symptom-driven, reasonless terms and conditions, you shouldn’t just shrug your shoulders and accept just because everyone around you has accepted. You should be outraged. I know I am. Your only obligation, ever, should be to yourself and that bright spark that burns deepest that they will do their very best to turn to ash. Make them burn their hands on you when they try.
Happy Labor Day, indeed.
…when I look around and see so much of the surface of the world built into tacky, gleaming towers built with the sole intention of drawing our eyes away from what lies underneath.
…we dispose of our fleeting desires and trends the way we dispose of the wrappers of the cheeseburgers we inhale on an hourly basis, of the poisons we call entertainment, of the way we’ve hobbled the glorious machinery of our bodies before glowing LCD altars and have long-since forgotten that we were once at one with the natural world before we snapped every last one of its immaculate curves and remade them into straight lines that we don’t even realize are cutting the tendons we use to hold onto them.
We chase after fancy, gaudy, nothings; after personalized license plates, and if you actually sit down and think about that for a second, about why on earth we need personalized license plates?
…if you go outside and walk down the street and just stop taking it all as a given for a minute..
..and look at how many billboards are screaming in your face about stuff you should never have to care about, about the way television advertisements aren’t allowed to be louder than the programs they interrupt so they changed the frequencies to make them more invasive, and that’s more invasive into your life and your world that should be busily being shaped by your two hands.
Me? I say to hell(o) with all that. To spending your life ticking the same boxes everyone around you is trying to tick, all the while looking over your shoulder trying to catch a glimpse of why anyone’s ticking them at all. I will spend the sum of my days delving inward, and you won’t remember me for what I was wearing, what I was drinking, what I was saying to simply be agreed with, what car I drove, what parties I went to, or who I loved or who loved me.
All you’ll see will be thousands upon thousands of pages of what I bring back from the depths. And I will call that a life well spent because it’ll be on my terms and no one else’s, no way, not now, not ever.
We carve out caverns of time for television programs and become too busy for the things that fill us with light, or to discover what fills us with light. We look to other people for the good in ourselves and forget that the good in us– inside of us– we ought to put there ourselves. We interact with people by adding them to our lists or ‘circles’ of friends and make little time for the people in our lives who challenge us to new journeys, or to meet these people in person. We dance around the injustices that surround us and excuse ourselves by saying that it takes much more than us to change anything, or that we’ll get around to it eventually. We crave connection but refuse to even raise our eyes at those who pass us, or respond with more than a few words when our friends and family ask us about our lives.
Our lives. As tiny and insignificant as we are, we’ve all the power and the time to raise our voices and rile up those around us about the wrongs that we want righted. We’ve all the power to make up our minds that we have, so why not get around to realizing that we’re just as insignificant & just as powerful as the individuals who’ve set up the unjust systems and that we’ve got voices just loud enough and time that’s just enough to get up and make things right.