Unfortunate Slight

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Just another stream of thought from a mind off its rocker.  You know who you are; thanks for the epiphany.  – Marocharim

So long as we have failed to eliminate any of the causes of human despair, we do not have the right to try to eliminate those means by which man tries to cleanse himself of despair.

– Antonin Artaud, The Liquidation of Opium

Today was a time for rather interesting epiphanies.

I never had a pretense or intention of doing something noble, both as a writer and as a blogger.  I write for a living, I blog for fun, and I’m not good at either.  Those occasions where my political and social entries do influence people to some degree are just that: occasions, streams of thought, instances of thinking out loud about the what is and the what should be.  Those opinions aren’t exactly well-thought-out, and mine is not the most resonant voice in the crowd.

I always believed that having an opinion beats having none at all.  Having the knack of articulating that opinion has to count for something.  All this is not in vain… yet somehow, even that’s questionable.  The interesting epiphany is that maybe it is; as a friend of mine said, it’s not my job to save the world.

I don’t know if it’s individualism, selfishness, or reason that drives people to think more of themselves than others, where everything is rationalized and explained.  There has to be an explanation to everything.  All too often, these explanations turn into the best excuses not to help your fellow human being.

There are theories – almost always certainly held axiomatic, almost always held true – that the human being is selfish and will only look out for his or her own interests.  To write down a sentence like, “Whatever happened to care, concern, and empathy?” is erroneous in the grammar of today’s world.  It’s best transformed into an interrogative followed by an interjection:

“Care, concern, and empathy?  Whatever.”  Sad, but true.

Why even care?  I don’t know why, because there is no reason to care.  There is no rationality in caring; and if there was a reason to care at all, it would be a stretch.  To care appeals to human emotions.  To be a person for others is obsolete, to be concerned is a cliché, to have empathy is too much to expect from others these days.  To care is to transform it into some acronym to be used as political propaganda; to cheapen virtue already lost.

It’s getting tiresome and taxing to describe street children with their hands pressed on the glass doors of a 24-hour convenience store, or old women stretching their calloused hands out for alms.  It’s murder on the conscience to see drug addiction in terms of grown men giving up full meals for the delight of rubber cement and paint thinner.  You get to visualize the injustices of the world in terms of breakfast tables; rice soaked in coffee, watered-down instant noodles, the one egg bought on credit scrambled to its thinnest so that everyone can have a bite.

You get to understand that the freedom to starve is as essential as the freedom to shut up.  The hardest workers in the country – those who dig with shovels and work with hammers under the heat of the Sun – are those who won’t stand a chance of employment at glass-paned office towers where you need a college degree to clean toilets.  Street children are the barometer by which we measure how much we can live up and stand by our ideals; the ability to give spare change, the ability to provide bread, the ability to buy sampaguita.

You get to realize that society is just as irrelevant to you as you are irrelevant to it: the key, therefore, is to accumulate wealth to prepare yourself for a proper funeral.  Such is life.

I don’t want to believe that.  I don’t want to believe that even my passing thoughts cannot, in a way, save the world, or change the perspective of at least one or two people.  I don’t want to believe that suffering is best left alone and best allowed to happen.  I want to believe that whatever opinion, whatever act of dissent, or whatever passing thought will make sense in the end.  That somehow, somewhere, someone will make a difference about the way this world works.  That somehow, somewhere, someone cares.

If not for me, then for someone out there.  People caring enough for anyone and everyone.  A kind of compassion not for the sake of reward or gratification, but something done because we’re human beings, and because we’re able to care.  This world is a much better place if we look out for one another, if no one has to beg for alms or sniff solvent or to cry over hunger, to be ashamed of ignorance, and to die of poverty.  This world is a much better place if we make ourselves heard, if we all do what we can to save the world.

I want to believe that this is not all in vain, that these are not just words, that I did not write for the sake of an unfortunate slight.  Somehow, I’m getting the gut feeling it probably is.

1 comments on “Unfortunate Slight”

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