Lately I have felt worn down, overwhelmed, and without resolution. My job is stressful, but this does not wear on me until 11 PM each night and 8 hours of sleep rejuvenates well. Like so many, I have felt hopeless by the US’ global politics and the growing visibility of right wing movements. The blatant expression of hate, exclusivity, and hypocrisy that controls a portion of the world’s inhabitants. Daily, it seems the world darkens. Our Congress will elect (and since has) a biased, sexual predator to the highest court. It is the wild west, yet everyone touts that they are following rules.
I’ve read that there will always be evil. I think Steinbeck said something of the sort. It will rise up and so will good, and basically that is the cycle we follow. I suppose that is true. I guess I want to believe that people are inherently good and that if we can be taught hate, we can learn to love and that maybe the balance will weigh in love’s favor. Nelson Mandela said something of that sort. I’ve also read that everyone thinks they’re doing good. Acts of evil to one, are “the right thing” to another. George Bernard Shaw wrote something of that sort and when I read it, I felt afraid. Here I am thinking individuals know when they’re being greedy or malicious, but he claims otherwise. I think it is actually worth quoting from Everybody’s Political What’s What:
“It is not true that all the atrocities of Capitalism are the expression of human vice and evil will: on the contrary, they are largely the product of domestic virtue, of patriotism, of philanthropy, of enterprise, of progressiveness, of all sorts of socially valuable qualities…The result may be hell on earth; but it is a hell paved with good intentions. Capitalism is not an orgy of human villainy: it is a Utopia that has dazzled and misled very amiable and public spirited men…The upholders of Capitalism are dreamers and visionaries who, instead of doing good with evil intentions like Mephistopheles, do evil with the best intentions.”
This frightens me. It speaks of ignorance and possessing a narrow mind. I believe all humans share these qualities in varying degrees. Nobody knows everything and I think most of us can be closed off every so often to new things. Intentional or not. Doing evil, but believing it’s right…
After an exhausting First Friday at the bar, I laid in bed and opened to Maria Popova’s Twitter. I saw the headline, “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear: Toni Morrison on the Artist’s Task in Troubled Times.” “There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”
I love this. I awoke with a renewed hope because her words. After George Bush’s reelection, Morrison felt depressed and a friend said to her, “No! No, no, no! This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!” She so lovingly concludes, “I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.”
And when we fall and fail, we sing the wise words of Aaliyah, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.” I am immensely grateful to the dreamers and believers of this world. Love will never perish because of them and this makes me hopeful, once again. Even if people are doing evil with the best intentions, there are so many doing good with the best intentions as well. I will remind myself of this more in my 31st year <3