We are living in troubling times – or perhaps times have always been troubling but like the crests and troughs of a wave, they are sometimes hidden from us, and at other times visible. What we are seeing around us today in the spewing of hatred, in the putting up of walls, in the creation of remote viciousness from behind our digital havens is sign of cultures that have perhaps been stilled for too long. Hollowed out from within by the artificiality of our daily pursuits for quantity over quality, we are only shells seeking wisdom and love from steel bodies and white screens. A lot is being said today about this emptiness that wafts like the smell of death all around us, and the loneliness it brings. We hold our hearts close, giving it away and snatching it back in the blink of an internet minute because there is too much to want and too much to see and our mind is muddled, living in this thin air world of words on a screen while our bodies are disconnected from one another. It becomes hard to imagine, as we chase currency in a world that has been constructed to enslave us not in real chains but in ambition, temptation, envy and pride, what it would feel like to just be. To lie next to a warm body near a shore with sand between our toes and the sea tickling our skin without feeling the urge to pull away from the moment just so we can be a part of the lives of everyone around the globe through social media.
Enough is being said about this. But not enough is being heard. Deep inside our hearts, we all know that that gnawing sensation, that silent background humming that we ignore everyday is nothing but the dissatisfaction of a life where we fear disconnection, fear silence, fear solitude and peace and endless boredom. Our thumbs start tweaking and we pick our devices, charging and recharging their batteries and our own hearts on artificial fuel instead of emotions and thoughts. Our brains and hearts are starving but in all the motion, the colors and music we can hardly see ourselves dying.
We must remember to not glorify a past where we did not have the ability to know the world the way we do now. But we must remember that our advancements in science and technology are not created in a vacuum- they have very real and tangible consequences that often may not emerge for decades. The imprint of our limited lifestyles is seeping its way into our DNA every day. Sneakily but almost certainly, nature is conditioning us for a life of distance, emotionless distraction, endless discomfort. Perhaps we are taking her (nature) down with us, perhaps she will emerge victorious after a battle fought long and hard against a creation she may have come to regret. Or perhaps, lovingly, she will stamp upon our evolutionary path a code that would enable us to survive as a species. The question then remains- are we content to do just that? Survive?
Perhaps the picture I paint is too pessimistic. Maybe human creativity has the ability to claw its way out of anything- but perhaps that is all it has managed to do. Claw its way out, leaving a blazing trail of destruction behind it. But we need to stop and think- what is this a fight against? Is this merely about survival, is all we want to do is be zombies stomped about by a force that has no ears for our feeble, dying pleas? Do we want to clamber to the red planet on the backs of our brothers and sisters- whether human or non-human? Or is this about something more profound than just being able to breathe everyday, even if what we are breathing in just toxic, cancerous molecules? Is there some meaning- something to be found in protecting, loving, caring for and building up one another? Is there reason to think of ourselves as being just as vulnerable to the hand of fate (or God, or whoever you believe put us here) so as to be born inside our worst nightmare? And if so, isn’t there reason to seek justice- both for ourselves and for these others we so easily overlook every day?
The art of being lost is not an easy one- you feel real feelings and notice the tiny cracks beginning to appear all around you. These cracks become chasms and as the chasms open up, there is nothing but emptiness left to go into. I want us to go towards light, to feel full of emotion- happiness, sadness, pain! Something! Anything! Anything is better than this numb collective trance. Let’s all wake up together and embrace the art of being lost in a confounding universe where we are the only beacon of hope for one another!