As I was working on my grad paper (long ago!), I discovered that no amount of scientific research and statistical data can ever fight the so called “common knowledge”, and the prejudices that naturally go along with it.
Further, I was faced with the terrible awareness of the fact that most ‘common knowledge’ is full of crap; that is… ‘normal’ or ‘usual’ behaviors, believes or practices are wrong, off-base or misunderstood.
Well, on short, life was not what I had expected it to be: not fair, not right, not just. And the truth (with its many versions) is often a whore.
Right there and then I realized that I had to make a choice: stick to what I knew to be right and face the loneliness of that course or join the rest of the human race in its quest for sugar and light entertainment.
Being imperfect, I went into denial and refused to make the choice. “There had to be”, I hoped, “a middle way; a trick to save me from actually taking sides”. My darkest fear was, apparently, that the old ways and values I was so keen on were a recipe for loneliness and misery. Even though I was sorta used to stand alone, I wasn’t ready for a whole life like that.
Anyways, time flew by. And things happened that challenged my beliefs and values on a more personal rather than philosophical level. A sad couple of years later, and here I stand (as confused as ever), but with a firmer inner base. Somehow, now I know when I’m right and I know not to give in, or give up just because the people telling me so are 'successful'.
While I don’t agree with the values of this society, I need also to release the fear of not being successful in its terms. And stop questioning myself just because the ‘rest of the world’ says different.
Don’t get me wrong. Rules are there for a good cause. The problem is probably that everyone breaks them now. Everyone takes short-cuts. No one has patience, or inner-discipline, or morals, everyone feels entitled.
Worst part: most people I know, even the socially successful ones, have the moral development of a 4 year old (I do want I want as long as I don’t get caught; if I don’t get punished then it’s ok).
So I’m doing this for myself. I’m doing it to remind myself of what I think it’s right and wrong, of what I think is fair and just, and ‘natural’. In this twisted world, I forget, and I get really confused, and I can’t seem to find any guide lines around me either.
People are in a hurry: even when they know something to be true, they can’t waste the energy and time to point that out. They need to move on, worry about their own lives, and careers. No time for such abstract matters that bring no concrete gains.
I’m doing this so I don’t forget. Right now, all alone in my room, I know whom I love, whom I don’t; I know what I believe in and what is crap. But all your voices creep in inside my head and make such a good impression that… I can’t fight you off with words.
I can’t fight you off with reason. Reason has gotten rotten over the years; its meaning has been long compromised and made to serve the golden gods. But I can use feelings. Funny thing: no one can escape their own feelings, and reason is helpless facing them.
Popular culture has tried to tame feelings, put tags on them, defined and constrained them, hid them behind rules and prejudice. To no avail. They still define our lives – for better or worse.
I found this in a book and it makes perfect sense to me. Forget the thousand of words you know to describe feelings; look inside, take away the glitter and dust of fashion trends, and you’ll find only four basic feelings:
Whenever you feel one of the first three, you should know something is wrong. You are being under attack. And then, depending on your whole background, you will either
- fight back (and get angry)
- blame yourself (and become sad)
- or feel helpless (and scared)
Are you happy?
pic by Hugh MacLeod