on-going mostly unedited stream of thoughts

what we do to ourselves

I am nursing a tiny cold and a tiny migraine, and I shouldn’t be writing when I’m sick because I end up sounding like a grumpy old person. Then I realised it is my public journal, so I can sound like anything I want. I’m always conscious of trying to hide some part of myself.

I stumbled upon the Earth Hour event at Marina Bay yesterday with a good friend. They were showing videos of the Indonesian forest fires, and I found myself uncontrollably tearing up. I consider myself environmentally aware but I wouldn’t call myself an environmental activist, so I was surprised by the velocity of my tears.

There’s so much of my existence where I am like – I really have no idea why we’re doing this to ourselves. If we logically think about it, it is insane, we are insane. We destroy what was gifted to us, we dehumanise ourselves, make ourselves behave and work like industrial cogs and we all pat ourselves on our backs for being successful.

Articles like “50 ways to being a successful millionaire” makes me want to gag. It is really saddening that most of us think that hoarding power and/or lording over other people is the best way to display our humanity.

So sometimes I think the question isn’t why I am chronically depressed, but rather it should be, why am I still alive. I look at this world and I feel like I want no part of this nonsense. I feel like I am tainting my soul by just being in this for one more second.

This is what being sick makes me feel. I am not sure if I am being unusually negative because I am sick, or it is when I am sick that the delusional optimism strips away and I actually become more realistic when confronted with the powerlessness I feel as a sick person.

But I think of myself in my youth – times when I had felt truly powerless, and yet enduring it has given me some sense of agency…that if I wanted to, if I believed, I could direct my life consciously.

And sometimes, or maybe, most of the time, change is not linear. It ebbs and flows, it goes in cycles, it silently creeps up on us, and then it seems like we’ve achieved a momentous milestone overnight.

I would still like to believe, humanity is still worth protecting. We have had exceptional souls who have demonstrated to us what we could be. I have seen in our kids, how much love and wisdom they can carry even in their very young age. We have countless people working invisibly for us. Saving lives. Seeing the unseen. Elevating the underprivileged. Protecting the earth. Fighting relentlessly against stone cold walls, at the expense of their personal lives and liberties.

There are people, among us, who are willing to sit in a jail for decades of their lives in order to do what it right.

And then, at the other end, there are people who will not hesitate to kill us (and themselves, stupidly) indirectly with their short-sighted decisions over our natural resources. I’m not only upset over the forest fires, because at the very least that is visible damage…it is the chronic damage we’re doing to ourselves that is more upsetting for me.

Our kids are our future. What are we doing to them by slowly squeezing the joy and life out of them?

I was at Gardens by the Bay yesterday, and I was telling my friend in jest while pointing at an air-conditioned dome. That is our future, I said. Living in these domes. Because the sun will get too hot, the air too polluted. We’re looking at a future – assuming we get lucky by not drowning to our deaths in floods – where we will no longer enjoy the natural life-giving warmth of sunlight, the life-sustaining freshness of air, all of which we take so much for granted today.

The next time you walk out in the sun, bask in it. Take a breath of oxygen and remember what it feels like.

That’s what we will miss, when we become successful millionaires and our kids have deep-learned themselves to become straight-A students.

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