I’ve recently been thinking a lot about many of the events that have transpired over the year, especially ones that have been particularly close to me – hint hint, the country down under.
Not just that, but I’ve also been thinking about the sheer panic around the world that everyone and their dog have picked up through cultural osmosis and the incessant absorption of mainstream media like a baby goat on a tit. From coronachan, to environmental catastrophe, to potential nuclear war and floods and shootings and ahhhh fuck we’re all gonna die!
There is constant fear and negativity, and through it, there’s an intense desire by so many to crush it, turn it into a fine powder and blow it off into the sunset. I mean, look at how the coronachan response has been – people are losing their god damned minds over this virus, which is pretty much well understood to be endemic at this point, and countries that have completely opened up at 60-70% vax rates are now seeing numbers dropping, with very little death and destruction.
But it doesn’t matter, frog! There’s still potential death, destruction, mayhem and toes being stubbed! Don’t you get it?!
I do, I get it. I’ve written about it many times over and it’s somewhat of a thing I’m quite intimate with – we’re fragile, we expire easily, and we’re all going to die. Trust me, I am very fucking lucid about that.
But I’m pretty blunt about that point and don’t allow it to negate the quality of my life. In fact, I fully understand that without risk, life becomes a colossal bore. When things are completely smooth, happiness never comes, because one cannot earn things when nothing is a challenge. That and the fact that it isn’t what reality is. Nothing is freely given.
But nonetheless, people insist on panicking and freaking out over everything, attempting asinine feats like “zero COVID” policies – fuck off Australia – and freaking the hell out over others not complying to orders.
It’s unfortunately leading to people taking others freedoms away, like the freedom to choose, freedom of association and freedom to run their businesses how they please, and I think it’s because the concept of fear and death is freaking people out, not the reality.
What I mean by this is that people, especially in modern countries, have lived such comfortable lives with air conditioning, leather couches and smart TVs that pain and mortality are all but forgotten. They’re things that aren’t perceived as a part of reality, but side effects or glitches that need to be immediately patched out.
Dentists have anesthetics to patch out the pain of having a drill inside your tooth – fyi I don’t recommend going raw, I’ve done it, not because I’m a tough guy but because I was an INSANE PERSON AT THE TIME.
Anyway, we have anesthetics, we have painkillers, we have a massage therapist, and when we have aches and pains we buy lots of cushy things to keep us cushy and comfy.
And then a virus comes along, a new one that we don’t know much about, and the media sizes it up as basically micro-Satan. And it can kill you.
Off begins the panic storm of “LOCK IT DOWN” and “MASK UP” and “PEOPLE ARE DYING” and “TWO WEEKS TO FLATTEN THE CURVE”.
All of it was to avoid the virus, to patch it out, to kill it with fire so that it may not inflict that glitch we know as pain. The thing that isn’t actually part of life. I understood why people were afraid, especially at the beginning, but with new facts arising day in and day out, alongside rapid vaccination deployment – unbelievably fast, I might add – it really became a much smaller threat than we realized.
But that’s not enough. Many people want to patch it out completely, because it threatens the delusion that pain isn’t a real thing, to the point of restricting other people’s freedoms as a futile attempt to flush out this potential risk in life.
Well, news flash, pain is real – and my biggest observation thus far is the people who have dealt with a lot of real pain in life; whether it be extreme physical pain, intense loss, grief, etc… those people generally have the perspective of “whatever, let’s just deal with it and get living”.
As I wrote in my Death Rebellion essay, mortality generally tends to put your values into perspective, but I also think pain also opens your eyes to reality and all that it holds. People can rationalize their stupid delusions until the ends of time (you can see this across history), but when they feel the proverbial boot on their neck, that is when the delusion is lifted. You no longer give a shit what your mental gymnastics led you to, reality is the ultimate arbiter.
Pain is the purifier, and avoiding the potential for pain is sitting in delusion. Pandemics will come and go, as will other illnesses, potential accidents, etc. Loss is a real and inevitable thing too, and that one REALLY hurts. Want to avoid that one? Instil a “No socializing or pets” policy. Maybe “No things”, too, because your shit will break down as well. In fact, put yourself in cryostasis, because you will lose mobility as you age and eventually die.
My point here is not to say that comfort is bad, but it is to express that avoidance of pain is not the point of life. The point of life is to live according to your standards and values, and that necessarily requires freedom. The cold, hard truth of this is that it also comes with pain, and probably a lot of it.
But that’s reality, and living a fruitful life means taking the whole thing in, not avoiding parts of it and deluding yourself that if you just patch things out, you can be comfy and pain free.
Not gonna happen, and constantly locking things down, attempting to mitigate every single little risk in the world will lead to authoritarian regimes and disaster. That’s when the boot on the neck becomes real. Guaranteed.
Trust me, the pain of engaging with reality in full is far, far better than the alternative, which is perpetual passivity and the erosion of soul.
Selling your soul is easy, but fighting for it? Painful and hard – totally worth it though, because the fruits that it bears are what make life worth living.