On occasion, when feeling the wrath of the ‘existential blues’, I secretly envy those with cookie-cutter world views. To have a set of beliefs laid out in front of you like cutlery on a table must be nice – yes, knives go to the right of you and forks to the left. While incapable of not being a skeptic, about anything, I am still torn by the theoretical decision of choosing between a life of ignorance and a life of truth seeking. Which is preferable?
I can only imagine the self worth one must feel by truly believing that they have a purpose outside of themselves, that they aren’t just members of a group of well dressed monkeys hobbling across a useless rock. What would it be like to never think beyond the sociopolitical structure that dictates the very boundaries of our waking life? To not be burdened by ethical dilemmas because right and wrong can be so clearly defined? Certainly that reality is very quantifiable, but it’s also very limiting. Would you rather color inside of the lines, or stray to the outside, where an infinite amount of blank canvas exists? Staying inside the lines and following the status quo is a quick and easy approach for drifting through life in linear fashion. From Point A to Point B we go, we follow the path and we’re careful not to stray. We’ve been told that everything will turn out okay in the end, and God forbid, we going exploring, the world is far too scary of a place for that.
Unfortunately for the thinker, the majority of the population has, by nature, chosen the former. With so many people in the world, and so few being thinkers, we’re stuck living inside a socially assembled world that has been crafted without our best interests in mind. It’s only natural for intellectuals to become increasingly more ideological as the calendar advances – for we’re always learning, always analyzing, and always seeking while the world at large remains stagnant and asleep at the wheel. Thus, a healthy cynicism begins to sprout up, eventually blossoming into full-fledged unhappiness with civilization as a whole. Throughout recorded history the thinker has always struggled against the ignorant masses and this is no exception.
With the advance of technology we’re supposedly more connected than ever, yet somehow nothing has fundamentally altered our way of discourse. Communication may have become easier, but that doesn’t change the fact that most people still don’t have anything to say. We’re like parrots squabbling back and forth to each other. We speak in gibberish that’s been spoon fed to us by multi-billion dollar entertainment corporations. We’re forced to conform to their rules, absorb the latest catch phrase, hear empty political rhetoric, be swayed by media fear mongering (swine flu anyone?), take lessons on how we should look, the way we should act, and what we should feel. We work too much and the only thing we have to show for it are gas guzzling automobiles and plasma TV’s. Suddenly, nothing is real. Just lies, regurgitated pig slop – it’s what’s for dinner. Dig in; you might as well enjoy it.
As thinkers we become progressively more appalled by the cheapening and commercialization of our very existence. We watch in horror as our friends and loved ones ‘sell their souls’ chasing pipe dreams in blind faith of this so-called American Dream – and they do it all with a rosy cheeks, fake smiles and lifeless eyes. Zombies now void of the presumably infinite curiosity of their youths. They’re beyond help now, there’s no turning back – and we’re starting to slip too. Coloring outside of the lines is becoming such a hassle, and it’s really getting lonely out here. Occasionally we’ll catch fleeting moments of inspiration which may, in turn, fuel short bursts of creativity. If we’re lucky enough to have captured it we’ll feel privileged to share it with anyone who dares to listen. But have no fear society, we’re getting weakened. We’ll be in our cubicles by sunrise as if nothing ever happened – still alone within our thoughts in a world that just wasn’t meant for us.
Po is a contributing writer and the founder of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.