It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to articulate my thoughts these days. They contradict each other as much as Clegg contradicts Farage, Corbyn contradicts Blair, and as Bernie contradicts Trump.
I’m going to try and explain the reason to you: long story short, I simultaneously care and don’t care about life. This is the Schrödinger-esque paradox I never thought I would ever get myself into.
It’s only been in recent times that this feeling has been prominent. And to be honest with you, it’s crippling. On one hand, as a lot of people I know realise, I have anxiety. This mental state is a stimulant, like caffeine. It means you’re always on edge; hyperactively aware of your surroundings; expecting danger around every corner. I subconsciously grab my throat in public because I feel I’m being suffocated by the mere presence of people. Don’t even get me started on when they talk to me! I care so much about how people perceive me that it’s ruined my academic life. I’m obsessed with wisdom and addicted to success.
On the other hand, I have a crippling sense of depression. Part of me didn’t want to state that, because if I didn’t, maybe I wouldn’t have to face the truth. However, it’s time to be frank. I need to talk to you about another contradiction.
Romanticism vs. stoicism vs. nihilism.
I am an extremely emotional person. I adore finding beauty in ideas and art, but I am of a moody, tempestuous nature. Only today, I was simultaneously crying over the poignant polonaises of Chopin and the inauguration of an imbecile.
Part of me seizes these emotions and tells myself to stop. Stop being so stupid, for crying out loud. You have the potential to be intelligent and the opportunities to be something so stop wasting your time. Take back control of your logic, your reason, and your brain. Suppress your emotions – they hold you back from academic success.
But what is success? What is beauty? What is intelligence? What are morals and ideologies? They are all human concepts. Everything in the human world plays within its own field, governed by laws of nature which we cannot shift. We’re enslaved by them, and unlike the European Union, we cannot vote to leave them because the majority of us don’t like them. And so, everything means nothing, and therefore, everything has equal value of significance, or rather, no significance in the cosmos at all.
Everything I am fearful of, everything I learn, everything that I am happy, sad, and angry about all occur because I am a human. That is, a human, with no purpose on this planet or indeed, this Universe (assuming there is only one). What’s the point in caring about anything at all if, in the end, I will die and no one will remember anything about me? My immediate friends and family may, but what about in generations to come? What about in a thousand years? A million years? How about 4.5 billion years when the Earth is engulfed by the Sun? This blog post on a website won’t last forever.
By that logic, I shouldn’t care that Donald Trump became President today. I shouldn’t care that Theresa May wants to take Britain out of the Single Market. I shouldn’t care that I every time someone mentions the word ‘exam’ my stomach churns and I panic. Ultimately, none of it matters. My memories, dreams, and anxieties can never be preserved forever. What’s even the point in trying?
But I have to care, don’t I? I’m part of the species Homo sapien. I didn’t choose to live in a society which is adhered by emotion and myth.
But also, I may be part of the species Homo sapien, yet I have never felt like I’m a cynic who’s forced to care, either. I like to care.
Therefore, I automatically care and yet I consciously care. Funny, that. It’s like I’m simultaneously programmed to care because the laws of nature enslave me to, but I also am a human who wants feels empathy, to create emotional art, to change the political world, and to undertake a degree that allows me to explore and marvel at the natural world.
This all – as ever – depends on perspective. Some would say that the pure rarity of life should justify its sanctity, and in this extremely small duration in space-time, I should try and make some sense of what is going on around me, and, well, care. Live, thrive, and potentially reproduce. That’s what being a human is according to my biology textbooks, and is emphasised by the tragic event of one of my university friends passing away very recently. I was inevitably feeling emotion, and grieving at the thought of losing her. When death strikes you in the face, it’s only natural to suddenly feel scared.
Death goes against my human survival instincts, but I can never escape from the feeling of nihilistically seeing my purpose as pointless.
I know that if I don’t get a grip on myself and establish a Yin-Yang balance between logic and emotions, I’ll end up like Eurus Holmes. I’ve always been made to feel ashamed of my emotions and with my track record, my emotions have held me back from academically achieving what I had the potential too, but deep down I know emotions are important for the plain functioning of human society. Where is the balance? Where do I find inner peace? And do I even want inner peace?
My brain is full to the brim with existential questions and contradictions. I don’t know what the true purpose of being a human is supposed to be. What’s more important: to live by the depressing truth about inevitable death, or should I distract myself by living in ignorant bliss? I cannot stand the thought of living a lie. So do I live my life to the full? Well, who’s ultimately going to care if I don’t? I don’t have a belief in any deity, so I’ve no one to appease. I’ve got no afterlife to go to. I’ve got no one to judge me at the end of the road.
It’s almost like I don’t want to care, but I inevitably do, for better and for worse. Caring allows me to appreciate life, but I’m still trapped within the game of probability and the laws of nature, so I know caring’s meaningless. While the knowledge of the lack of caring doesn’t stop my human body panicking at the thought of academic humiliation, it also stops me listening to motivational speakers who are convinced that their purpose in life is to convince me life has a soul. I instantly scorn at the thought.
And ironically, I have always been the girl at school who was the teacher’s pet and followed the rules because she always cared. She’s the girl who never challenged authority, for fear of being excluded from the praise given by the teacher. She’s the girl who privately had her own music taste but pretended to fit in so the social adhesion of her friendship group would be strong, so she wouldn’t be thrown out in the cold and left behind to either find another group or die. She cares because she was brought up in human society.
Freedom from rules would ignite chaos, but I wouldn’t want that; I would never want chaos. I want calmness, peace, and serenity. I appreciate the purpose of rules because I’m a human, but what if I weren’t a human but I was an individual, isolated, and self-aware being, looking down on humanity from outer-space? I wouldn’t care about their imaginary rules because I wouldn’t be part of their social groups…
Free me, goddamnit. I will finally be at peace when I accept death is inevitable. I would never deliberately kill myself, but if I lean too far to the view of ‘not caring’, then I will probably accept death and greet it as an old friend.
Ha. I just did it again. That latter clause was a personification. You see? I literally cannot escape from being a human. I just am human – a human confined to human concepts. A human confined to a group which means there will be characters like Farage who I will usually react negatively to, and there will be characters like Clegg who I will usually react positively to. These reactions are just to do with morals, though, and how my own conscience has been shaped by a mass of differing morals that I have come across in nineteen years in the Western world. These are just morals created by humans in order to keep us together, in order to survive in this harsh world. But I obey them for the sake of keeping humanity together.
Bloody hell, I have so many questions and so many answers. Everything’s a contradiction, and my human brain cannot process and organise so many thoughts at once. I’m starting to think that maybe the reason exams have not been my forté in recent years is because I’m starting to separate myself from the enforced education system because the system is only put in place by humans. I can’t change the fact that I’m a human, but I do wonder about the possibility of not being human, and viewing us from elsewhere.
I think I’ll end this here, now. I feel better trying to articulate my thoughts. I hope I’m not alone in overthinking this, and I therefore hope that someone out there will actually read through this properly and at least try to understand what I’m thinking about.
To summarise: I care because I am human, which is both a product of inevitable probability and the beauty of nature.
Hey, and maybe I could find balance within that conclusion.