About a decade or so ago, I had a conversation about God(s) and how they/she/he gives people hope. That the one thing people can count on, believe in, root for, always, is God. I, being an atheist did not have this refuge but to me the answer as to what I could count on was apparent. I remember that I replied that I believed in people. In our collective humanity. That above all else, majority of us would make things right, break new ground, help each other, save the world!
I can’t say this for sure as I did not keep a regular journal back in 2010 but I think I was a romantic optimist back then. Over the years I have grown more cynical. But I am not sure if that is in response to being exposed to ‘reality’ or just the version of reality that the internet has made available to me. Is it that I have seen people act in self-interest for so long that I have come to expect the worst? Or is this the reality that I have been consuming.
I suppose, the only true way to judge is to consider your own actual experiences and judge based on that.
My experience is that on average, most people are trying to do the best they can to survive, grow and prosper. Maybe I have been fortunate in being surrounded by kind people who try to do the right and fair thing or maybe there are just a lot of us. We do not always succeed, many, including me, make mistakes, but most of us, try to learn from that and grow. And most of us apologize when we make mistakes.
For example, I have had those who need not have helped me, go out of their way to do so. From seniors who have given me guidance in the film industry to friends who have pulled through on a moment’s notice. Random strangers have told me when my backpack was open, and others have stopped to help me up when I have fallen down. Apparently I leave my backpack open, and fall down often.
Sure, there have been times when I have encountered pettiness or simple selfishness but mostly the worst kind of people I have encountered are those on the internet. I have seen people write more horrible things than I have actually heard people say. Which is not to claim that there aren’t selfish, mean bullies out there. Clearly there are. But I can’t help but feel that they are a small, loud minority.
One that cannot be allowed to set the bar for humanity. The bar for humanity has for a long time been and should going forward be - kind, just and fair, with space for forgiveness and change so that the cycle of hate and resentment does not renew.
I am only 26 years old but that is one of history’s rhyme schemes that is due a change.
As these protests spread across USA, and other countries join in kind, one hopes that the nation that often claims to be the leader of the free world, acts like it. I also hope that those of us who are seated safely in our homes realize that we too need to stand up to injustice and inequality in our respective countries for this is a universal problem.
When I began writing the post, I was trying to figure out why I felt so exhausted and hopeless. I have been walking around this last week expecting the world to just crumble. I felt plagued by cynicism. Which is odd cause I have it good right now. I am at home, I have food, shelter, money, entertainment, cats, friends, family, even a little bit of work. So how is it that I feel more cynical than the people who are risking their lives fighting for basic justices. I think the answer is the internet. I have been observing the misery because that is what sells but I have not looked and appreciated those people who turn up everyday shouting ‘no more’. They have hope. Then, so should I.