It’s funny how life can surprise you. There are so many things that have happened in my life that I regret. Alongside them are things that I do not regret, though some people might think I should. And as I think about where I am going, what paths I am taking forward, I sometimes wonder what the point of it all is. Or if the point is that it does not have a point.
Let’s think about the idea of there being a “right” thing to do. What does that even mean? Having there be a right or wrong thing to do implies that there is a strict binary in terms of a path forward in life, when often the decisions that we make are much more complicated. Our lives are a series of moving parts, and so when we decide what to do with them, deciding whether we should do what is “right” is never easy.
Many people will tell you that they know what the “right” thing to do is. These are people who live by a strict code in terms of what they do and how they act. They follow the course that life has set out for them because they know no other way. And maybe that is fine, if that is the way that they want to live, if that is what they want to do with their life. My main issue, my core principle, if I have one, is that I do not think it is right for me to decide what other people do with their lives, and I do not think it is right for others to attempt to wrestle control over the lives of others. This is why I have no interest in gaining a position of power, why I detest politics, and why I often despair over the state of the world. Humanity, for all the good people can do, is also full of people intent on controlling and destroying each other.
Progress is not inevitable. The only thing certain in this life of ours is not taxes, it is not even death (because we cannot know what comes after) it is chaos. Life. Is. Chaos. One can never predict what will happen next. Habits can form, we can fall into routines, but as the last few years, particularly since the pandemic hit, but even before, have shown us — anything can happen. We cannot always be ready. Life is unpredictable.
I am speaking particularly from a United States perspective when I say that life has also gotten more and more partisan, divided on what feels like a knife’s edge, even as the world’s issues call for increased cooperation and often nuance. This is not helped by the fact that our lives are lived so heavily online and through social media, places which often lack the nuance we need and simultaneously keep us in echo chambers.
But then again, here we are online, with me writing this blog post. If you found this, you probably exist in one of my social circles, and in one of my own echo chambers, unless it has leaked out somehow, or gone unexpectedly viral, which I doubt will happen. I would be lying if I tried to say that I was not part of the problem, because I absolutely am, we all are.
I do not pretend to be an expert. I do not pretend to have all the solutions. This post may very well be yet another person screaming into the void of the internet. But what I will say is that I believe, or at least I have to hope, that some day things will get better. They will potentially get worse. We might very well descend into any one of the many dystopian novels that have been popular in the past few decades. But whether or not it is true — as I said, I do not particularly have faith in the inevitability of progress — I have to have hope that we, collectively, can do better.
Sometimes it feels like hope is the only thing I have left.