Saturday, September 22, 2012

What Is It Good For? (Absolutely Nothing)

Leaders. Commanders-in-chief. Generals.

Great men.

Great men?

It's a question that I've been pondering a lot recently. Wars have been part of human history since its conception, but the idea still irks me to this day. What is a war, really? At its very core, it's the decision that you're going to take someone else's life for some reason, be it conquest and expansion, or seeking vengeance for some slight, or a number of other equally viable (and ridiculous) issues worth fighting for.

But then, you just have to think about it; the simple man, the smallest unit in an army of thousands, what's his stake in all of this? Is his life even slightly benefited by waging war against his fellow man? Does he even believe in a cause that - most likely - isn't his? It baffles me, how those generals and commanders manage to convince their subordinates to head into a bloody trench, in search of glory that is - by definition - fleeting and momentary. These men-of-war, these fantastical, almost-mythical beings; they are manipulative and deceitful, and they're constantly lauded for how well they do that job. Boggles the mind.

But then, you might come along and say 'No! You fight to be safe! You fight to defend yourself!', and I rightly call you an idiot, for you're missing the point entirely. Your right to self-defense is well preserved, and is not being argued here. The idea is what starts these wars in the first place. Why drag an entire nation into a struggle, a pissing contest, that costs it most of its resources, and - more importantly - youth?

Is humanity really that vain?

Am I so silly as to be expecting an answer to that question that isn't 'of course it is'?

Of course I am.

What is funny (and there is nothing funny about this entire affair) is the fact that human vanity might've started the trend of wars and conquest, but it's greed that keeps this bloodied machine running smoothly. These 'lords of war' here and there, they turn a profit on these little skirmishes, and they're not about to let business dry up.

Is it not magnificent, how human lives are now mere blips that drive cash flows? Congratulations, your much sought-after death is now the reason someone somewhere is buying an arsenal of guns.

And - make no mistake - they will kill you. And they will feel good about it, not because they've defeated their enemy, but because they've validated their exorbitant purchases. It's like that annoying kid who buys an SLR camera, and immediately creates a Facebook page with a shitload of crappy photos, simply to feel good about himself.

You are the crappy photo.

Enjoy your life.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Septembral Anxiety

I am at what some might call an interesting juncture in one's life.

Currently, I'm back to being without a job, but - through some stroke of misguided luck - I'm back in class, studying (and teaching) my way towards a second master's. The past few weeks have been somewhat tumultuous, to say the least; errands to take care of, things to sign, paperwork to forget about, etc, etc...but it's not just that.

It's been a veritable hell inside my head.

I do not know how to describe it, but I have a massive problem with lack of clarity. Not knowing what the coming step might be irks me to a great extent, much like an itch that you cannot scratch. I toss and turn for hours in bed, trying to think my way through a situation, wondering where it might lead, and I end up not knowing. It is not an enviable place to be in.

This all culminated in a night, a few days ago, when I couldn't take it anymore. I was literally freaking out, thinking that my future had been summarily executed, flushed down the drain. I simply did not know what I ought to do, what my next step should be, and more thinking lead nowhere. My brain refused to work, the spectre of failure loomed before me- mocking me silently, and I went to sleep.

When I woke up the next day, I had the answer, and it was astounding in its simplicity; I decided I didn't want to worry about all this anymore. It was too tiresome to keep worrying about the future, about work, about people, about the crushing loneliness, about where I'd be in a few years, if I was making the right decisions...too much, and I already had the grey hair to prove it.

So, I just cast off all those fears and worries. I now ask myself  'Is there anything you can do beyond doing your best with what you have right now? Is worrying going to solve anything?' and the answer is always 'No.'

And, for once, I've decided that this answer is an acceptable one.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hyperbolia Inundata

How's your day going? Is it 'the best you've ever had'? It is 'the most awesome thing since sliced bread'?

How about that cupcake? Is it '> life'? Are you 'experiencing multiple foodgasms'?

Do you 'Loooooove this' and 'adoreeeeeee that'?

Well, isn't that nice.

Being an avid user of Facebook and Twitter, I'm no stranger to the expressions people use to reflect their current mood or thought. What troubles me, however, is the amount of hyperbole that keeps sneaking into such statements, that it becomes almost impossible to take people seriously (not that taking people seriously on such media is a good idea in the first place, but for the sake of the current argument, let's assume that you do).

It is curious, because it's becoming unacceptable for a person to simply state how he feels, that he simply likes or loves something. No, you have to state how much you adore it, or how much it disgusted you. It has to become so bloated and grand, so expressive,  that it loses any shred of authenticity it might have possessed in its original form. Your entire life becomes this aggrandized version of itself, where everything is garishly, almost grotesquely, bright and colorful.

And, it just makes me wonder, why? Why is it that our emotions, be they positive or negative, have to be injected with dose upon dose of hyperbole, until it becomes self-mocking. Are we so starved emotionally, that every incident has to become the worst/best ever? Are we so self-conscious that our lives have to seem better than anyone else's? Do we really need so much attention that we've done everything save tape fireworks to our tweets and posts, simply to let people know that we're having the time of our lives, every single time we go out?

Newsflash, guys; happiness - like everything - is best expressed through simplicity. Recognition has never come through hyperbole, but authenticity. People can sense that sort of stuff, much as you'd like to believe otherwise, and trust me, no one is going to believe you just had the best pancakes the northern hemisphere has to offer, unless you can back that shit up with proof and samples.

An understated life might take longer to appreciate, but at least, the appreciation lasts.

Till next time,