I’m staring at my computer and I feel gross.
My social media feed is basically people speaking and sharing articles “IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! ALL THE TIME!”
“MEANINGLESS POLITICAL COMMENTARY”
“MODERN MEDICINE IS AWFUL! DRINK COCONUT OIL!”
“YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT”
Unfortunately, I do know what happens next. Either mass produced opinions or pretend joy.
I’ve just finished teaching some undergrad medical students. I’m celebrating with a beer because I did it without getting into trouble. Whenever I taught previously I tried to share my passion for medicine, which was delivered with humour and rawness. Most people seemed to like uncut honesty, but those days are long past in most universities. It’s just one of the ways our world view has changed, and not for the better.
Our world pushes each individual to believe they are only a set of factors. That who we are is something set in stone from the moment of our birth. That we are the circumstances of our lives, rather than the response to those circumstances.
Aren’t we more than our politics or gender or colour? Aren’t we our thoughts, friends and loves? Aren’t we our taste in music, and views on greatest movie of all time? Isn’t a human being complex?
We are fractured along predictable lines. And after all we known in human history, how incredibly sad is that? Are these the lines we wish to die in? Is it so hard to see each of us as individuals unique and brilliant in existence? Don’t we want to know who we can grow into if we open ourselves to each other?
I was at Ziggy Marley a little while ago. His music and his fathers’ come from a place of incredible love. And he said during his song ‘We the People’, that he doesn’t see colour.
What he means is something much more complex than that statement. He’s saying we’re all one people, moving through this world loving and suffering and dying. That we’re working hard to exist and sometimes that’s tough. But it could be so much easier if we just separated who we are, from who they tell us we are. If we see each other from a different viewpoint than the usual ones they want to stuff down our throats.
If instead, we wake up and think today I’m alive, and I’ll be whoever I wish to be.
If instead, we treat one another with kindness, and give ourselves the gift of silence.
In instead, we understand that divisions only reduce us as individuals and offer nothing in return.
Then maybe we can be more. Then maybe this life can matter. Then maybe today can be beautiful.
P.S. The person in the picture is Viktor Frankl.