About a week go I was driving to work and caught a part of the program “Radiolab” on NPR (http://www.radiolab.org/story/91520-space/). They were discussing outer space and human insignificance. As we learn more about the seemingly limitless universe, it makes us feel smaller and smaller. They mentioned our need for art alongside of science to remind us that we are important at least to ourselves. Or at least that we have value within our own human system.
What happened to the good ‘ol days when we thought we were the center of it all, the most important aspect, God’s children? Well those days are long gone, yet we manage to continue to take ourselves very fucking seriously. We lead lives that are monotonous, heterogeneous, trite, but we have so many devices to enhance our self-righteousness and narcissism. We want so much to feel like individuals, to have purpose to have self-worth. America is a nation of a bunch anxiety-ridden, insecure lonely souls, who perpetually maintain a façade of happiness, of insincere authenticity. We convince ourselves that the masks we wear are really just our faces enhanced, and we grow to believe our own bullshit. We grow to believe we are important.
And yet I still ask myself, is that such a bad thing? Is it bad to lie to oneself for the benefit of keeping one’s head above water? I’m fucking drowning, and it’s painful. I’m drowning in heartbreak about a lot of things. And I know other people hurt and suffer and that that’s one of the only things we all have in common. The optimistic idealist in me also believes in love, but only because my parents are the greatest people on earth. And also because Durham had rainbow flags flying on every shop front and street corner in town during Pride week, and it made me feel like everything might just be okay, that people might actually fucking love each other. What a nice idea. Or Maybe Durham just really loves the queers. Well whatever it is, it made me like my town more.
In an increasingly post-theist world, we now create new forms of artificial communities to create a sense of kinship in interests.
-hipsters (whatever that really means anymore. I’m a fucking hipster apparently.)
-bicycle enthusiasts (oh wait, I already wrote “hipsters” that’s redundant)
-gluten-free people, the opposite of a foodie, but just as pretentious.
-football fans who say stuff like “we won” as if they’re on the team
-the Game of Thrones obsessed
-pinterest addicts who knit shit
etc. etc. etc.
I used to think this was bad. Maybe it’s not. I’m self-pitying and lonesome and go about my small little existence feeling like I’m better than people for being able to feel. But everyone feels, they might distract themselves from their selves, but they feel. They have to, right? And what’s so bad about community building through shared interests? It’s certainly better than groups of people experiencing blood shed because their god is better than the others’ god. I don’t expect to see hipsters shooting down bros for popping their collars and driving large vehicles and consuming animal products anytime soon. Hey it might happen though. Also, I still hate all of the groups listed above, for simply having an identity based around shit I don’t care about.
I held my arm up next to my African American co-worker the other day and said “man I need a fucking tan, I’m a ghost.” She laughed. It made me think about all the barriers we’ve created in humanity when really we are just people. We are a species. Fish swim, birds fly, fruit flies fuck a lot and die young. What defines our species? What are my limitations and special attributes due to my humanness? I feel like other animals might think very similarly to other members of their species, maybe not, I don’t actually know, but I’ve always felt like I see the world differently than most people, that I’m just so goddamn mother fucking unique, and really all it does is isolate me. And then I remember that in the grand scheme of the universe, I’m just a speck. But I think I have a soul, I think humans have souls, and animals too probably. I saw this video back in grade school of a kangaroo mother wailing, screaming, sobbing because her little adorable Joey had died. That shit scarred me for life. I will never forget it.
I look at the moon a lot. I love the moon. Looking at the moon helps put everything in perspective; after all it does control the currents of the ocean, the fucking beautiful, alluring and mysterious sea.