Maybe it’s just that time of year again, but I find that existential curiosities abound in the darker, shorter days of wintertime. I look at the world, and see that the majority of the dominant species seem intent on self-termination, while an increasingly awake and aware collective is emerging that might save us all from ourselves. I wonder, where do I fit in to all this? Why am I here? Who am I… really?
It might be easy and fulfilling enough to simply sit back and observe, to pass judgments and compose clever essays and articles about how the world is seemingly going this way or that.
There are countless cheap, used books, and virtually no end to affordable and free classes and courses online. Everyone can now learn and educate themselves about anything — or worse, ingest countless videos, study and self-certify at YouTube University to become an… expert. Anyone can start an online business (rather, create their own job) and hope also to earn a living in the vast sea of sameness. It is true that we are unique in our voice, style and presentation, but when everything reduces to a simple mathematical formula — build an audience so that x clients who pay = y income; repeat, and stay motivated, interested, relevant and on topic — it undoubtedly generates a stew of derivatives, with little long-term outlook or sustainability. This just isn’t a good enough solution, sorry. In an era when even McDonald’s is automating, we need to unpack, redefine and rewrite the nature of the fundamentals of money, industry, commerce and economy. It must switch from being entirely collection- or consumption-based to something inherently regenerative.
There is much beauty, and vast ugliness here. The grand story accounts for and has room for any flavor of happiness and/or madness we can imagine. Our entertainment industry shows us the utterly violent, gruesome and disgusting nature of what our traumatized minds can conceive, while also expounding on our sheer limitless potential, intellect, creativity and artistry, spirituality and flowing consciousness. Perhaps that is ultimately the point of this Earthly “real” place. We’ve evolved to such an existence that allows for the putrid and the pleasant. Everything from across the spectrum of possibility fits into someone’s perspective. Thus, the capacity for fitness doesn’t really afford me the righteousness to call any of it either “good” or “bad”. It just… is what it is.
So the question then becomes, if it doesn’t influence me beyond my paying any attention to it, and if it doesn’t affect my lifestyle or any of my fundamental life choices day-to-day, why worry about it at all?
If I can’t do anything about it, what does my worry or fear or concern of any kind matter to anyone but me? I can fake concern to a social media audience, by posting about it, sharing a photo or an article or a news story, but that’s just bullshit armchair activism; it’s utterly impotent and just more filler noise and emotional insulation that much of mass media primarily consists of already. No one can sufficiently keep up with the sheer volume of information coming at them these days, unless they choose to severely limit and control it — which then becomes a self-filtering, echo-chamber, reality-bubble problem. Though, perhaps that is a partial answer to this greater existential question; choose (limit) what aspects of life and this reality one can reasonably focus upon, in order to keep our interests piqued. It seems rather superficial.
I believe creative, artistic energies misplaced or misdirected are dangerous to those of us who inherently have such passionate inclinations. There is boundless, untapped energy and potential there, that should we choose (or become extrinsically motivated or coerced) to direct it into the abysmal, dark and voracious vacuums of common concerns, we will surely lose ourselves to it. That’s just the nature of who we are. Perhaps the best we can do is to touch it, merely glancing the surface, then abruptly turn it away, and go create something; show the world an interpretation and a perspective that examines and explores what it might mean, how it seems to feel, why it appears to even exist, and let it go. We must quite deliberately give it away, and move on to the next esoteric/exoteric, intrinsic/extrinsic, unconscious/conscious conundrum. An artist thrives on curiosity and contrast, and suffers in stagnation.
Beyond the “creative community (which, in my view, doesn’t truly exist, given the nature of humanity; we’re all creators), it can be argued that captured, misplaced or misdirected psychological, philosophical, epistemological and ideological energies are the reasons our world is how and why it is the way it is today. There is likely a mathematical formula to describe this intelligently, just as there will soon be a formula that redefines the nature of reality as we know it. It does seem a little ridiculous to reduce the surrounding universe to math. What is consciousness? What is space? What is time? Is there really such a thing as spacetime?
It is an interesting challenge to make sense of everything, and to reconcile the many divergent thought and idea streams regarding what is and isn’t real, what is and isn’t possible, what is and isn’t for us to be able to do anything about. Perhaps, then, the personal, existential crises and the broader, human collective angst is based entirely on an underlying issue of powerlessness. There is evidently a global lack of cohesion in values and beliefs, as witnessed by the many differing and conflicting ethnocentric priorities, in a time when world-centric, systemic (collectivist) perspectives are increasingly in demand.
If it’s true that there are over 7.7 billion perspectives on what life is meant to be — what is important, and what would be the best way to live — there may never be a time when we can achieve a significant enough consensus that allows for a realistic solution to creating a happy planet.