Please Kill Me,
There isn’t much left in the world to conquer. Generally speaking, we’ve got until about eighteen before reality reveals itself–a clogged drain of corporate interests and a savage individualistic hunger for popularity, tertiary damnation, and money that we won’t know how to spend. Society seems content with the predicament, so I won’t drone on too long about that.
Instead, as I sit here (nursing a hangover) I wonder what the point is. I would usually attribute the disconnect to something ‘writerly’ or creatively fueled. I don’t believe that’s the case here. I don’t think that creativity fosters the disconnect between desire and actual satisfaction.
I don’t believe there is a cure. I don’t think I really want one–what would society run on if not hate, ignorance, fear, and motivated self-interest? Rather, I kind of just need to talk about it. It’s a personal-sanity thing. Not necessarily a diagnosis. I may not even post this.
We’re social creatures, for the most part (even some of those assholes shooting up public places). More than anything, it seems like we desire being desired. Maybe it’s just the attention. Maybe it’s the love. Maybe it’s the increased possibility of being heard. Even still, the added focus usually turns on us. Whether it be a misrepresented tweet or just a personal opinion that people decide you shouldn’t have–it turns on us.
Then what? We’re left in this insane abyss of self, trying to regain, attain, or manage a thing that is formless, shapeless, ruthless, and uncaring. That thing has yet to truly be defined. I won’t attempt to explain it. I don’t have that kind of time. However, it’s something that recently manifested itself in the form of likes, comments, and shares. (*Note: They are not inherently evil. It’s just a form the thing has taken).
I’m guilty of it. Or a victim of it. As I’m sure, anyone reading this is. Most of the time, I don’t even realize that I’ve fallen into the trap until it’s too late. At that point, it’s no longer about right or wrong. I just want to protect myself. Amazingly, I often use ignorance as a tool. It’s a sickening thing to realize about oneself. How quickly we bend a knee to pop-manipulation and societal opinion. However, it’s not a new phenomenon.
Back in the ole’ days (when horses were cars and towns were drowning “witches”) public shaming, executions, and general punishment were a form of entertainment. The unlucky person, who found themselves on the wrong end societies’ noose, was cast out of their own trial. Left to rot while insecurity held sway and the jury of public opinion figured out the best way to damn them. That person would have nothing but the aforementioned abyss. They usually went one of two ways. They’d kiss the ring (hoping to see tomorrow) or act out (predicting their own unfair demise). We still do that to each other.
I don’t think that I’m breaking any new ground by assuming the participants did so, in the hopes of avoiding the fate themselves. How much better do you sleep when the bullies fancy a different ass to kick? How often would you look away? How desperately would you want their favor? Now, what happens when that bully is formless, shapeless, ruthless, and all-encompassing? It may be safe to say that we’d throw a punch, just to avoid being hit. We never hit the bully. We just swing and hope it lands.
Today, the ‘punch’ is silence. The attention is taken away. Friends are lost. Followers unfollow. Social value is annihilated. Instead of lakes, streams, and rivers, we’re sentenced to drown in the ocean of insecurity, fear, self-loathing, and despair. As social creatures, the worst thing that you can do to us (worse than death) is to silence us. Even worse, is the refusal to listen. That socially deaf and mute individual, often, kisses the ring or shoots up the town square.
Yet, the bully doesn’t stop. It remains unaffected by its own virulent ambitions. We aren’t so lucky.
Leave us to our own devices, and we’ll think about it. At least, I do. I wonder what would happen if I lost the ability to communicate my frustration or joy while the abuser spewed freely. I fear the lasting effects of a momentary lapse in judgment or even simply not being there while someone else is silenced. The recurring nightmare basically plays out like this:
Executioner: Who’s next?
Everyone: Whoever’s not here!
And it goes on like that. Like this. For as long as it feeds our insatiable need for acceptance. We become the monster that we fear, anxiously hoping not to endure the jagged teeth of our own aching maw. Feasting on ourselves. That’s what we’re doing. Maybe one day we’ll grow from it.
I just don’t think we’re there yet.
— Antwan Crump