Despite my efforts, I am not a great person, or even likely a good person. Hopefully, I’m not a bad person, at least not by the standards set by rapists, murderers and thieves. Generally, my day-to-day immorality is that of putting myself first. Or at least ahead of anyone who’s not within my very small circle, and even then it’s questionable at times. It’s just that I have a very tough time giving a damn about most people around me, including you reading this. There are just so many other people and most of them scare, confound or anger me.
My whole life I’ve wanted to care about and be cared for by the whole of humanity. I’ve wanted to love my neighbour, but I can’t get past the scowl on their face. Having spent some time here with the rest of the species, I’ve found that I’m at best ambivalent to the whole of humanity. However, I still hope for the best. Why confess this? Because I have a strong suspicion I’m not the only one who thinks this way, but that it’s a part of the human condition.
Consumer capitalism and secular culture have done a lot to break us down into a narcissistic, needy and apathetic version of humanity by valuing the pursuit of our own desires above that of our fellow man, using our entire monetary system to leverage these incentives. To be a consumer, by definition, is to take in and use the world around you for your own purposes, but when there is only so much to go around, it’s hard to see how this social role can continue without undervaluing those around you. Of course our lack of regard for our fellow man has gone way back, probably to the very beginning, though it seems the more we have the less we feel obligated to pay much attention to others. I struggle with this. I try everyday to improve myself, to break from the pack and prove myself better and smarter than those around me. Sitting on the bus, I either can’t stand the stranger next to me for some arbitrary reason, or I covet something about them.
We are all the products of some great circumstance, and we’re all stuck here. The totality of history has brought us to live in this moment together, to share the same air and struggle through similar struggles. Though we’re infinitely different from one another when you really look at it, we are also infinitely the same. We are all lost, scared and without real answers despite daily attempts to feel otherwise. The worlds of religion, economics and government are all more or less fictions we’ve created just to figure out how to work our way through the fog of life without becoming brutes. Clearly that mission has failed, by and large. So what are we left with?
We have what we’ve always had: each other. Our best option is to strive for the greater good. Thinking selfishly and squabbling to get more than the Jones’ has clearly failed, because it’s played upon a weakness inside all of us. A true society of compassion is something that has been suggested, but gone untested for the entirety of written history.
Yet what is truly good? Admittedly not a lot, but you can be good, or at least try to be, by bringing a little compassion into your life. Ever since you were born there have been others around you. Others who, I’m guessing, deep down are just as lost and lonely, scared and fragile as you know you are. Where we normally see ourselves, we need to see each other and know that no matter what this complex reality brings, we’re in it together.
If I’ve said things that appear to be of trivial or misguided during my time here, I will say that without a doubt the most important thing I have to say, and have to learn is that compassion is the key.
I struggle daily to learn to be compassionate. Join my struggle and perhaps together as two people in this great circumstance we can bring compassion back in a way the world has never known. I’ve failed a million times within my own mind, because I have a hard time liking people, but it’s a fight that needs to be won. If you and I can become even a little more compassionate, perhaps it will make others believe there is still some good in the world. Everyone seems to believe in money and it’s a mere social construction, so why can we not believe in each other and make the world a little more caring? Remember, all we have is each other. Let’s make it count.
Corey King was thrust into this world in 1985 and has been scared, confounded and angered by most of humanity ever since.