It’s not easy accepting the truth – or at least the-truth-as-you-see-it-now. My life has always been a bit of a roller coaster, with sudden points of realisation that wash away everything I believed in until then. Like personal paradigm shifts, where I am forced to reconstruct the world from the grassroots up, acknowledging that another assumption has crumbled into dust.
In the last few months, that is exactly what has happened to me. From quitting the Green Party to being fired, I have realised that the world I had accepted was far too rigid and accepting of structural injustice. The world of party politics had shown me what a shamble everything we (as a collective mass of British ‘activists’) are fighting for is, and that actions for change were part of endless cycles of inconsequential performances of resistance, not the real thing at all. And spending two weeks working in a company that traded money for the lives of Syrian refugees (through being paid to sell individual donations rather than demanding government aid) made it clear that the private sector was just as problematic as the NGO sector when it came down to changing anything.
The world I had somewhat accepted to be part of had shown me how I could never be part of it. I began to see lies staring me in the face everywhere I went – from the narrow anthropocentric views of anti-Malthusians (not that I am pro-Malthusian in any sense) to the fallacy of ‘life’ in a city to the absurdity of working at all.
I realised that we are all partaking in a system that systematically makes us miserable, lonely and lost – with the only sense of happiness coming from an absence of misery/loneliness/lost-ness. There is nothing real about our experiences and engagement with the world around us. Instead we seek pleasure in the trivialities of it all, the meaningless fictions that are hardly problematic because we know they are grounded in frivolity.
And somehow this helps us from asking the real questions:
- what are we doing here?
- why haven’t we built the society that we want to build?
- why are we so focussed on future hope when we can make the change today?
- what’s the point in everything?
The questions that make us realise that the world is the way that it is because we accept it, not “they” accept it. The questions that may actually make us wake up and act on things rather than pretending they don’t exist. The questions that utterly terrify us because they make us critique ourselves.
And the fact is, once you realise it, you are terrified. You are lost. And nothing makes real sense any more.
But there is also some beauty in that. Because suddenly you’re free. You’re free from all the obligations you had before. You’re free to actually start thinking on what makes things effective, and what is useless. You’re free to see that there is real living outside of this endless cycle of work-life you’ve resigned yourself to accept.
The only thing left: daring to live it.