The Death of Life and the Discontent of a Nation
We welcome guest blogger, Salma El-Wardany. Check out her blog or her insta.
The death of life and the discontent of a nation
By nation, I mean the whole fucking world. Reality seems to have been suspended, indefinitely, and we’ve accepted a new kind of world, one that is strange and lonely, broken and a little bit empty.
On one side of the pond, Great Britain just kicked themselves out of the EU. America is flirting with the possibility of voting in one of the most ludicrous presidential candidates the free world has ever seen. Right wing sentiment is getting more air-time than it ever has before. The Great Barrier Reef is dead, which literally tells you everything you need to know about climate change. Consumerism is at an all time high, and we’re just so very tired.
We work twelve hour days at tiny desks, while the air conditioning circulates dead dreams and failed ambitions. We don’t like the people we report to and, sometimes, we like our colleagues even less. All the hours we work never seems to amount to hard cash, and we’re still broke. Pensions are a relic of the olden days and retirement is basically a myth. On tired train journeys home we look at BuzzFeed articles with titles like; ‘All the mansions you could afford to live in if you lived anywhere but where you currently live.’ While BuzzFeed is hilarious at times, I could swear its sole purpose is to make you feel shit about your life. It’s a conciliatory place to laugh your troubles away with everyone else who is in an equally bad boat as you. As for love, it’s become so accessible via tiny apps on your phone, that now nobody seems to want it. We’ve saturated the market and no one is buying anymore. We just jump from bed to bed, throwing away relationships as easily as we do our phones the minute the new iPhone hits the market.
Something is terribly wrong. The stench of discontent clings to everything, and I am no longer sure if we’re living, or existing. Can you remember the last time you lived? Like, really lived with a reckless, happy abandon, full of joy and hope for the future? I can’t remember the last time I felt anything but fear for the future. What debt university tuition fees would bring, what job I was going to get in the recession, how I was ever going to get on the property ladder, will I ever find anyone to swipe right to on Tinder, what Brexit means for me, what happens if Trump gets in… and on and on and on.
And it’s easy to sit and grumble about your trials and tribulations. Hell, I could write for days about how shit everything is right now. But no, this isn’t one of those articles that bemoans everything, because let’s be honest, there is enough of them out there.
This is a call to arms. This is an action. A shout. A cry for help and a plea for change. It’s me standing up and saying let’s build the barricades. Come and stand with me. It’s a hope and a prayer. It’s getting off the carousel and putting my head above the parapet. It’s a dream. A vision. A call to humanity. A stand. A revolution, and it’s long past time we had one. It’s a desire and a want for something more than whatever Instagram is selling us this month. This is the acknowledgement that the way we’re living isn’t right, and it’s time for a change.
It’s easy to see the catastrophic events that are happening around the world in isolation; from wars, to economic crashes, police brutality and dead Syrian babies washed up on empty beaches. But in reality, they are part of a complex structure, intertwined and run by the financiers of this world to create a system of power. A system of discord and uncertainty that keeps us all afraid, guessing and constantly unhappy. Fear, uncertainty and misery are powerful weapons to command.
Fearful people don’t know what to stand for, and when no one is standing, there stands no opposition. A miserable nation constantly buys houses and cars, watches and bags in an attempt to grasp happiness. Our pursuit of happiness happily feeds the economy. An uncertain population does nothing. They sit and continue to read ridiculous articles about how shit their lives are while sharing the latest viral post of ’10 instances of genuine human kindness’. Or something like that. I know you roll your eyes when you see these kind of titles on your Facebook feed, but did you ever stop and wonder why you see so many articles like that? Yes, they’re mostly rubbish, but articles like that go viral because we’re all craving basic human values that we seem to have lost in this new world.
Money is all we aspire to. Love is disposable. Loyalty interchangeable and kindness is weak. That is our world today.
There may be clowns on the street, but Batman isn’t going to sweep in and clean the city up for us. It’s on us. It’s our time to stop accepting this insane world we’re living in and start doing something.
And that sounds terrifying because a revolution means rebels, and rebels die a lot of the time. But no one is asking you to start throwing rocks at tanks or living on the streets. That’s not the revolution we need. We need a human change that revolutionizes the things we hold dear. We need to shift our values onto a better cause than our materialistic possessions. The ‘Top Ten Fall Outfits of 2016’ is absolutely, unequivocally not something worth fucking fighting for.
Instead, what if we started acknowledging that there is a problem. Silence is the most effective way of controlling the masses and by talking about things we normalize behaviour. Let’s start talking about the things that are wrong so it no longer becomes taboo.
What if we realized we didn’t need as much as the brands want us to have.
What if we started valuing time with friends and family, over money earned.
What if we accepted that we didn’t need to own houses, because we can’t take them to our graves anyway.
What if we actually stopped working at 5:30, and left our work phones in the office.
What if we all started telling our managers and bosses that twelve hours was unnecessary and not acceptable.
What if we didn’t spend ten bucks in Starbucks every day, and gave it to a cause instead.
What if we fundamentally changed the makeup of our day with small actions that were based in kindness and love. The kindness to give some of your wealth and time away, and the love to give your friends and family.
What if, every little thing we did, started to change the foundations of our society and we became a country rooted in community and the pursuit of living. Right now our society thrives on ownership and individualism. Everyone is so busy ‘making it on their own’ and trying to be some sort of hero as we accumulate more and more, or at least, die trying.
But here’s the thing that we’re all drastically missing. We weren’t built to be alone, and humans thrive in communities. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, when a beautiful sunset lights up the sky, you still stop and stare in wonder. The money, the cars, how many followers you have on Instagram, it doesn’t fucking matter. None of it matters. What matters are those sunsets and who we share them with.
So it’s time to give the system your middle finger because it’s already taken most of your life. It doesn’t deserve anymore of it. And above all things, you deserve better. We all deserve to live better. Whatever it is that we’re all doing now, it’s not living. It doesn’t even come close.