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In case you were sitting on tenterhooks following my previous APFNRAA, taxes had been accomplished.

But seriously, folks, I feel a great deal of sadness following the last few years. Call it angst, call it disillusionment, call it typical bellyaching, whatever name you affix to give yourself power over it, I cannot shake the feeling that society — we, the people — are monumental fuck-ups.

Honestly, I try to be a steadfastly upbeat sort of guy. I recycle, I tell jokes, I tell recycled jokes, heck, I even brush my teeth. I’ve taken into consideration that each of us are generally concerned with being happy and avoiding pain; I go all hippie peacenik and tell people that I love them. I don’t do it to yield results. Happy and sad are impermanent and cannot be measured on a device.

I know I’m not the only one who does this. There are countless wonderful wonders out there who embrace this same philosophy and realization that we’re in this soup together.

But it seems that too often we let the bastards win.

I don’t refer only to the sad events last week in Boston, MA, and West, TX, though they are prime examples of bastards affecting many.  Throw in Monsanto, CISPA, gun violence, slut shaming, dwindling resources, high fructose corn syrup, oil spills, et cetera, ad infinitum ad nauseum…

Lack of empathy magnified by lusts for money, power, fame, and self-obsession.

We are too many people with access to too few options on a finite planet. We are running out.

Extinction event, CTRL+ALT+DEL, reset button.

Panic.

Or don’t.

We do not care and we don’t care that we do not care. We have mobile devices that cater to our own selfish desires. We meddle on Twitter and Facebook. We write blogs decrying the totality of current humanity. In short, we’re spoiled, each and every. We have technology which both dazzles the eyes and dulls the mind.

Does anyone remember when we used to gather in groups and not one of us had a device to check into? Has our conversational abilities become so mute that any lull in talking leads not to a new topic but to a furtive glance over our mobiles?

Am I just a grumpy old man?

We seem well-connected but disconnected. We take pictures of our meals thinking that it leads to sustenance for others. Words like “amazing” and “awesome” lose meaning when we connect it to a plate of cacio y pepe rather than, say, something that truly astounds us or takes our breath away.

How we doin’?

Love is all you need, so the Beatles say. But also, we need empathy and understanding. We must know how our actions — individually and collectively — affect more than just our own personal space. When we strike in anger or for selfish greed, we affect others.

When you make another suffer, says Thich Nhat Hanh, he or she will try to find relief by making you suffer more.

It seems we exceed in creating suffering.

And so it goes.