“Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony this life. Trying to make ends meet, you’re a slave to the money then you die.” — The Verve
I get it. I know sometimes people don’t think I do, but I do.
Fuck fair. Life isn’t even close to fair.
It’s not fair that you can start behind the race in life simply because of who your parents are, what you look like, the country you live in, etc.
It’s not fair that you get indoctrinated into this system of sacrificing your life for employment, only to not get paid enough to really thrive, stuck in debt, and getting screwed for doing everything right and following the rules.
Honestly, I don’t blame or demean people who find themselves in situations like that. It’s not your fault that you got swindled into that, it really isn’t. The societal overlords don’t play fair with you. Not at all.
It’s not fair that a beautiful young woman can be murdered just for sleeping in her home. It’s not fair that a six-year-old little girl in the middle east gets her legs blown off because she’s a pawn in a geopolitical game of chess. The continent of Africa is a case-study in unfairness.
It’s not fair that vast swaths of people spent hundreds of years without rights. It’s not fair that many people are disproportionately affected by laws and institutions in our country today.
Some say that life is a series of tragedies punctuated with a few amazing moments. That’s an argument, but it’s not mine. I argue that you should love life itself and do what you can to get the most out of it, regardless of the unfairness.
To do that, you have to first understand the nature of the world.
Your Situation Isn’t Unique At All
“Anyone who wants reparations based on history will have to gerrymander history very carefully. Otherwise, practically everybody would owe reparations to everyone else.” — Thomas Sowell
There’s this growing sentiment that somehow, for some reason, the times we’re living in are particularly bad or unique when they’re not. We’ve had pandemics before, worse ones. Slavery still continues in other countries to this day.
If we’re going there, slavery, for a long-time, was a feature, not a bug, of not just American society, but all societies. In fact, slavery persisted in North Africa and the middle east, with white and black slaves, after it was abolished in America. Spoiler alert: “contractors” did not build the pyramids or the Taj Mahal.
The Jews lost nearly 66 percent of their entire population on planet earth during the Holocaust. Hundreds of millions died under the communist regimes in the 20th century. Warring nomadic tribes were smashing rocks on each other’s heads hundred thousands of years ago.
We’ve had dictators, warlords, conquerors, and imperialists from the jump. All land is stolen land. Castes systems and asymmetrically distributed power have been the norm since the beginning of civilization.
Human nature has both light and dark elements to it. While we can always work to improve societies, you can’t legislate human nature away. You can’t legislate tragedy away.
I’m not bringing this up to be a downer at all, I’m bringing it up to wake you from your slumber and remove you from the spell the powers that be have put you under.
So many people are convinced of this sky is falling narrative, when, in reality, messed up shit is just a part of life. No matter how far we advanced as a planet, there’s always the inherent risk that it all disappears overnight.
This is to say, live your life, and live it well, no matter what.
People still fell in love and made families during every era.
People managed a way to find meaning. Read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and try to feel sorry for yourself afterward. Impossible.
With tragedy and malice in the background, we’ve invented amazing things, made tons of progress, looked forward, and raised the standard of living much higher than past generations.
Why the need to feel so uniquely depressed and helpless? Not necessary.
Don’t Go Backward
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” — Isaac Newton
There also seems to be this growing sentiment that we’re reverting backward deep into the past. This is dumb. Patently and objectively false.
On the left is a slave dwelling.
On the right is my townhome in a quiet neighborhood.
I’m not a slave. I’m not personally oppressed at all.
I live a great life.
Do we have issues in our society that disproportionately affect minorities? Absolutely. Does racism exist? Duh, dude.
But, and it seems that it’s almost controversial to say this, life is objectively much better than it was back then. Not even close.
My mom grew up in the most segregated city in the US in the 60s. My father grew up in a country where the average YEARLY salary is $400.
Yet they made no excuses for themselves and created a better life for me. So who am I to play the victim and act as if I live in the 1600s when I …don’t?
These days you can’t even admit that things are better as a whole. You can’t be optimistic, happy, and thankful. You have to be helpless, sad, depressed.
I’m not buying it.
I’ve had the ups and downs of someone who looks like me. I’ve experienced racism, legal issues, the whole nine, but I focus on what I control.
No one is personally stopping you from doing anything. Just gotta free your mind.
Hell, aside from whatever issues I’ve faced because of my skin color, I’ve had many bad things happen to me.
My marriage went to shit, which left me in a brief state of depression.
One day, out of nowhere, a blood vessel exploded in my eye and I was half-blind for six-months.
I was born with sickle cell trait and spent many nights experiencing a level of pain you can’t imagine.
But, I still lived my life. I still managed to make something of my life. I did escape the matrix, figured out how to make a living doing what I love and create freedom for myself for the rest of my life.
You can do the same thing too. If you learn to accept everything life entails, roll with the punches, and focus on what you can control instead of wasting your time shouting at the sky.
Create Your Own Utopia
“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” — Thomas Sowell x 2
You know what else I get? I get the enticing nature of utopia, I really do. I get why some people come to the conclusion that life should and can be fair. The vision of the anointed makes sense to me in theory, but it just doesn’t work in practice.
Every time we’ve tried to create ‘utopia’ people died. Lots of them. That god damned human nature I tell ya.
So why do people continue to chase the pipe dream of utopia? Why do people spend an inordinate time obsessing over and posting about politics when they could use that energy elsewhere, somewhere more useful?
The answer is simple. It just sucks to look in the mirror and realize it’s all on you. No one is coming to save you, deep down you know that, yet some people look for saviors. Why? Fear, distraction, the need for a new religion.
You care about yourself more than anyone on planet earth. And your own inability to care for yourself and reach your own potential is deeply troubling and emotionally difficult to wrestle with. If you don’t feel you can exert your will over reality, at least to a needle-moving degree, of course, you’re going to lash out.
But, I’m here to tell you, that you can exert your will over reality. You can create your own personal utopia, while the world figuratively and literally burns in the background.
Not only should you do this, but you shouldn’t feel an ounce of guilt over your success. Why? Because you didn’t create human nature. The world is not your responsibility.
The process of un-brainwashing yourself can be long and arduous. Reinventing your personality, career, and life as a whole is challenging to say the least. But try to do it anyway.
Why? Do it for love.
Why is life a love story, even though much of it has this tendency to suck?
Because you get to play the game. Some people die for no reason. That’s not fair. You’re already ahead of those people. Use it. Honor it. Hell, the other millions of sperm didn’t make it out alive either.
But, you did. You’re a statistical miracle. Yeah, maybe the symphony is bittersweet, but you know what else a symphony is? Beautiful, awe-inspiring, magical. If you’re going through pain in your life, use your pain to create art. If you’re frustrated about your life, use your frustrations as fuel to build.
Just play the game. Don’t sit on the sidelines and watch.
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Originally published at http://ayotheauthor.com on July 5, 2020.