I think I’ve reached the age in which I find the world more baffling than anything else. I thought it would happen later in life than this, but here I am.
There is so much I cannot understand.
I don’t understand the thought processes of vast sections of humanity, who would readily spurn a homeless beggar but will proudly tithe their weekly thirty pieces of silver to a church whose coffers are already overflowing with blood-money.
I don’t understand the calamitous and seemingly exponential dismissal of science, and the downward spiral into magical thinking and superstition.
I don’t understand how horrific, blatant lies can be not only left to stand unchallenged, but welcomed as inviolable truth.
I don’t understand how ideas like gun control, universal healthcare, and equal rights for all can be deemed evil and untenable, and decried most loudly by those who are suffering most egregiously from their absence.
I don’t understand how universal concepts of humanity such as good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate, can be so wilfully corrupted in the popular consciousness as to be replaced by such childishly simplistic political terms as ‘Right’ and ‘Left’, ‘Conservative’ and ‘Liberal’, ‘Republican’ and ‘Democrat’.
I don’t understand how people whose governments describe themselves in such glowing terms as “Leader of the free world”, can see no irony or shame in the rejection of refugees from war-torn regimes and natural disasters, simply because they fear some undefined “burden on the system”.
I don’t understand how it is possible to reach adulthood, and not realise that when your perception of humanity does not include those other than you, you yourself cease to be human.
I don’t understand how we as a species can have survived the twentieth century; to have seen the horrors inflicted upon the world by racism, bigotry, intolerance, and greed; to have witnessed the cruel futility of scapegoating and prejudice, with all of its despicable rage-trigger vocabulary, such as kike, nigger, gook, spic, slope, mick, paki, commie, and a thousand other poisonous, derogatory slurs; to have somehow endured all of that, and yet in the face of a dreadful pandemic the first response of many is not to do everything in their power to mitigate the disaster, but to blame the Chinese, all 1.4 billion of them, for no better reason than it was China who suffered the first casualties.
I just don’t understand, and if the solution is “it’s just human nature” I don’t want to be human anymore.
“The actions of government, we are told, bear down only on imprudent souls who provoke them. The man who resigns himself and keeps silent is always safe. Reassured by this worthless and specious argument, we do not protest against the oppressors. Instead we find fault with the victims. Nobody knows how to be brave even prudentially. Everyone stays silent, keeping his head low in the self-deceiving hope of disarming the powers that be by his silence. People give despotism free access, flattering themselves they will be treated with consideration. Eyes to the ground, each person walks in silence the narrow path leading him safely to the tomb.”
― Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments