Human culture is fascinating. Over a period of thousands and thousands of years, we as a species have congregated and made extraordinary advancement in art, technology, and science. Thinking about the fragility of our very existence – and the existence of all that we’ve created – is perplexing. Each step of the process of our cultural evolution was dependent on the last. Even the horrendous events of history brought unprecedented scientific advancements. I do not applaud – nor will even cite – these advancements, but we benefit from them regardless.
I find this even more incredible because it’s actually really difficult to be human. It’s difficult to remember. And to think. And to feel – to feel both hope and shame; love and loss. It’s difficult to know what’s coming next, and it’s difficult to know there’s an end. Yet, it’s just as difficult not to remember, not to think, not to feel. And just like it’s a burden to know it all, it’s difficult not to know just the same.
A friend of mine and I used to spend our weekends on top of small business’ roof tops asking philosophical questions to each other while we sipped on sugary ciders bought by strangers, or travel mugs with Baileys because that’s all that was ever in our cupboard. (Sorry mom.) We asked all types of questions that teenage women never get credit for asking.
What exists out past the stars?
Is there objective truth? What if your “purple” is my “green”, and no one would ever even know or think to contest their reality?
Do you think once you learn about the meaning of life, that’s when you die?
These days, I’m so exhausted the most interesting thing I can ask myself is why did we think it was a good idea to sneak out of our warm homes to sleep on asphalt in the freezing cold after we spent literally all our money on 2Ls of ice cold Growers?
But that’s what we did. And now I look at both of us and we’re in the final stages of our Master’s degrees – me in Arts and she in Architecture – and it makes me so proud how far we’ve come. It makes me proud that our kid selves conjured these wild questions and spent the last 10 years or so really trying to answer them.
So far, what I’ve discovered is this: time passes regardless of the questions we ask or try to seek answers to. Time goes on and will go on forever, whether we are here to track it or have long used up our share. So, human culture is evolving and changing (and hopefully growing) with or without your conscious effort. And here we are, at the most evolved stage of human life that we ever have been (until tomorrow, of course), and we have the opportunity to be an active member in the change that’s going to happen regardless.
From my perspective, human evolution has always been and will continue to be about social equality, in which natural forces of human nature of greed and jealousy and gluttony have created barriers to it’s fulfillment throughout history. Yet, I feel hopeful that goodness really does prevail in the end. And I am hopeful that together, we will truly be the change we want to see in the world. (Thanks, Gandhi. Your citation score must be wicked.) And sure, this is the same kind of hope that I feel when I wish that Ben Affleck won’t be re-cast as Batman ever, ever again. Which, of course, is naive hope surrounded with a lot of doubt in those with the power to actually do anything about it.
So, my preachy moment of the day is this: Don’t watch the clock, be the Time.
Be engaged in your community and your culture that has and will continue to evolve. Accept newcomers. Reject hatred. Speak what’s on your mind. And love who you inevitably love. Because your life is going to be difficult regardless if you’re compassionate or you’re selfish- if you’re patient or you’re irritable – if you’re curious or ignorant. But when it’s all over, there’s going to be a moment when you’ll be forced to look back and remember your life: the events you participated in, the propositions you thought, the emotions you felt. And in that moment (many years from today), you’ll ask: How does the essence of me, and all that I’ve done for the world around me, fare with what my culture has (by then) accomplished? Will you be on the right side of history? Or will you be stuck in the past bitter and shameful? Because, surely, by then, we’ll all just f@cking get along.
#Bernie2016 #FeelTheBern #CanadiansForBernie
*In no way is this affiliated with the real Bernie Sanders, although if he’d let me, I’d follow him anywhere.