I’ve been pretty miserable lately. I think that’s true for a lot of people. Generally have spent a lot of time in the past couple months feeling like shit. I can feel my mind falling apart, the little cognizance I have left oozing through the creases in my brain matter. I’ve been through about 3 different medications over the course of the quarantine. Called the suicide hotline a couple of times. Torn out some hair. Whatever. My comical descent into madness isn’t the point of what I’m about to write. The free time from being confined to my home has given me ample time to ruminate on what makes me tick. What gives me the will to keep going. There’s a lot in this world that I don’t understand. I think that’s true for a lot of people. But I think that’s what makes our short time on Earth so meaningful, even if it can be scary.
We’ve been deprived of something so integral to our sense of wonder. As people living in the modern age, everything around us has been commodified and clinically analyzed to the point where there’s nothing left to ponder about. I’m not trying to be an anti-intellectual, I promise, but I think there’s something inherent in the way capitalism has boiled the world down that makes us unhappy. The world is orderly. There’s structure, and you’re meant to be funneled into filling the role of a cog in a massive machine. We aren’t allowed to dream, aren’t allowed to appreciate the minutiae in life. If you do that, you’re somehow wasting time. Productivity has been conflated with worth and meaning. To stand still and observe your surroundings is deemed worthless.
I sit here typing on a light-up keyboard, staring blankly and comatose at a massive monitor that makes my pupils contract. The power of electricity fuel the motors and circuits for almost 50,000 people in this city alone. The wonders of the modern world are made banal, our collective feats of ingenuity unappreciated. Rocks tricked into thinking, right in our pocket. Flying metal birds being propelled miles above the ground. Being able to circumnavigate the globe in less than a single revolution of our shared planet. Science and modernity aren’t diametrically opposed to the feeling of wonder that once fueled our ancestors. Our understanding of history isn’t, either. Conceptualizing all of the history that put you here, in this exact moment, can put things in perspective. All of the beautiful, serendipitous, horrible, zemblanous history that led to you reading this very post on your mobile phone. All of the puzzles had to fit into place, something very few people will ever truly internalize. You are an anomaly, a statistical unlikelihood that forced itself into being. The human experience, with almost 14 billion years of universal history preceding it, potentially couldn’t have occurred given a single atom out of place. The beauty of the sublime isn’t nonsense. It surrounds us.
The universe is a beautiful place. The stars and galaxies in our sky presenting us with a stellar fireworks show free of charge. The wind rustling a meadow filled with flowers. The sun setting under a sky filled with hues of pink and orange. The pillowy chew of a Chinatown pork bun in bustling Manhattan. The thumping bassline of your favorite song. The warmth of an embrace from your favorite person. The sun bleeding through the blinds onto your bedsheets. The wafting scent of a patch of flowers on a morning run. The respite of a comfortable sofa after a long day. The elation you get after winning a round of your favorite game. The granular feel of a page on your dampened finger. The many intricacies that put a day in your life together can be enough for you to be happy. To exist happily is to resist the system that tries its damndest to put you down.
If you’ve ever interacted with me in person, you know that I’m quick to jump on the soapbox. Espousing my feelings is one of the only ways I feel confident to brute force my way into the next day, and the day after that. There are many things in this world that spoil my spirit. I don’t think life will ever stop being painful. Life can take as much as it can give. The troubles that have befallen you won’t go away with the wave of a hand. I can’t expect you, or anyone for that matter, to forget that fact. But I want you to prevail. I want you to feel happy. Throw off the shackles that capitalism has fastened to your wrists, and live your life happy. Go out into the woods and read a book. Indulge in your favorite food. Play that shitty video game. Let yourself loose. Because if you don’t allow yourself to, you’ll never get the chance.