I wrote this last week and I wasn’t sure whether I should post it or not. I wrote it when I was in a discordant mood. But, here it is. This blog is just a diary in a glass box anyway.
This past week, I’ve been feeling as if life has been very loud. Visualise trying to have a conversation with someone, a friendly and empty conversation. You’re halfway through this little chat but there’s a lot of noise around you; it is so overwhelming, you have to stop and just listen, listen to how the world is hurting. This isn’t white noise, I’m talking about the sounds of what human beings can do to each other and to themselves: the screams, the gun shots, the police sirens, the abject daftness that flies out of people’s mouths on a regular, the sadness, confusion.
I don’t know where I saw what I’m going to describe but for some reason, I always thought sociopaths were diagnosed this way: you’re strapped to a chair, electrodes are attached to your scalp, it is just you and a television screen, nothing else to distract you, everything is standardized and controlled. A sequence of images pop up on the screen: a daisy, a puppy, a plate of food, a decapitated body, a cloud, a bright pink newborn baby, a palm tree, a severed limb, a shoe, your own passport image, a clip of an execution by firing squad, a rainbow, a bloodied head with it’s contents splattered on a wall, a meadow. As the sequence continues, an EEG records your brain activity and if its peaks and troughs correlate with the images of gore and images of normality, you’re not a sociopath, that is, you became troubled by the nasty bits and settled by the nicer things. But if the EEG shows a seemingly steady line, that is, you didn’t even flinch at the sight of brain mush smeared on a white wall, you are indeed a sociopath. I’m sure this test is a thing; I just can’t remember where I saw it.
I was watching a show we all know and love and there was a rape scene. I watched all the way through but when it was over, I found myself thinking this is too much and I immediately felt stupid. I felt hypocritical. I can’t fully understand how rape victims feel but I can imagine. Scenes from a TV show are someone else’s reality, it could be mine. What I couldn’t watch without feeling like a total wimp is what someone is going through, has gone through and will unfortunately go through and it annoys me that I felt it was too much to see.
Seeing images of war, of hate crimes, of human despair, poverty, the aftermath of natural disasters make you feel some type of way, right? Unless you’re a psychopath, you feel some sort of empathy towards what you’re seeing but you look at it for as long as you feel is polite or necessary then you turn the page or click the next link and it’s gone. We feel sorry for the people in those scenes for a couple of minutes, maybe the whole day but then that’s it, it’s gone and we move on. That is the sad part of human nature. We don’t tend to linger, we don’t tend to fight for things that aren’t directly inconveniencing us at that present moment. Oh, the earthquake in Nepal? Boohoo. Revoked citizenship for Haitian children in Dominican Republic? Poor them. 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are still missing and could be used as suicide bombers? Terrible. A shooting in a church in South Carolina? Damn, not again. A man kicks in a pregnant woman’s womb until the baby dies? What the hell? But hey, somebody else will sort it out, it’s not my problem, I’m still alive, I’m still here. I should donate a pound here and there to make myself feel better. I am anti a lot of things: anti-racism, anti-misogyny, anti-poverty, anti-everything that is utterly wrong with this planet. But I always feel like no one, especially myself, is doing anything besides thinking about these things not being a thing.
I am a human, yes? And as humans, despite the circumstances we find ourselves in, there are a gazillion and one things that could happen to any of us, all of us, at any given time. With that, it could easily be me going through what I find so disheartening to view, but the fact that it’s not me smudges out my hurt. I empathise for a while but then I don’t worry about it at all until I’m faced with another sight of something awful again. It’s such a cycle of hypocritical bullshit. And what annoys me even more is that I can’t change the world. I can’t stop every rape, I can’t stop every shooting, I can’t produce world peace, I can’t end starvation, poverty, racism and pure stupidity but I want to but that’s all it is. I want to but I can’t. What’s even worse is the fact that I can’t is okay. It’s okay for me to not be able to do anything because it is what it is. It’s okay for everyone. But I’m still angry and confused at the end of the day. My concept on humanity is very… ungraspable.
I just wish, I just hope. I do what I can in the circle around me, I absorb what I can and try to advocate in my own small way but it is never enough. It is never too much.