I think about our culture, about our collective struggles. I think about myself, and my discomfort.
It seems we’ve become numb. Disoriented. I think it’s weird, for all of us: to not know which steps to follow.
We are all different; that makes us uncomfortable. We are conditioned to behave equally—and yet we all perceive that there is no consensus: each one of us has a different (sometimes very different) experience of life. There’s a great mystery comes with this fact. We try to ignore it. We’ve been taught to eliminate that discomfort by doing what our culture always does: by simplifying the complex. But that doesn’t quite make it, does it?
We, intuitively, witness the mystery of our individuality. At the same time, everything —including ourselves— push to keep us uniform. We suffer.
In an attempt to skip the search we all should go through but we’re afraid of, we are given now detailed instructions on how to live. We try to eliminate the uncertainty this way. (And we use these rules to judge others too, because it feels good; it reinforces our own—lack of—choices.)
We’ve been trying to stick to black and white, ignoring the grayscale. We’ve been limiting, distilling, making it graspable. We’ve been trying to kill all the questions that will never have an answer, but there’s value in those questions: it is part of our human essence to wander. Our consciousness craves these questions. It misses them.
I have no solutions, but in this crossroads, two possible routes come to my mind.
The first one is to participate: we follow the rulebook, we achieve.
But I believe one day, despite having followed the road to promise land, we’ll realize that we’ll never get there. The anxiety we’ll feel will be fueled by a sense of disconnection with our own lives. We won’t recognize them as ours, but we are trapped on them.
Society will tell us a story to justify the void we feel. It will teach us how to live with it. Distraction will be our survival mechanism.
But what it if there is nothing wrong with us. What we are right, and we feel disconnected because we are. What if our lives had been indeed defined by others and moved by their inertia, not by ours; what if we never raised our voice, because we were never asked.
That’s our second option: to listen to that voice inside that says this can’t be it, and to jump into the unknown.
I believe this path will take us to the core of what it means to be human. It requires curiosity and surrender, courage and faith. It doesn’t look easy, and perhaps that’s the point: life, in its wonderful vastness, is nothing like simple. It is the most big, complex, wonderful thing. And as part of nature, so are we—complex. Even when we choose to ignore it.
If this is the road we’re going to follow, we have homework to do. We must explore, review the rules. Be ready to fail. But perhaps, in the process, we will bloom. Learning to not try to reach the future, but to contemplate it with wonder and curiosity. Learning not to expect, but to dream. Learning not to react, but to listen.
One day we will feel the pain, and the joy, and it all in between. We will embrace our fluidity as living creatures, accepting our changes, loving them all.
We will build a new world where our individuality is cherished. And we will see that beauty in others, learning to love them as they are: unique, untamed.
We will understand that it all is nothing but a dance between two polarities, even if we shouldn’t seek them, but the dance itself. We’ll learn to love the dance. And we’ll do it because we deserve to own the whole spectrum of our human experience: to live every single second of every single day of our lives with responsibility, with bravery, with joy.
That’s what we deserve.