The best way to kill idealism is to shine the light of reality upon it. Then, when exposed to the world, it crumbles and turns to dust like old parchment from under the Holy Land. Lost is the thoughts and ways of idealism, but in the end what does it matter when it can’t survive? What does it matter if reality is too much for anyone or anything?
This is the plague of our generation. We live in a world where everything is subject to the light, but what’s exposed is seen through the darkest of rose colored glasses. Great political revelations are turned on their head, protecting the powerful. Realities of war and culture are suddenly subject to the rules of the game, rules that previously were never enforced. Everyone has a say, yet fewer and fewer people are allowed to speak.
The internet, the great savior of free information, is anything but. Memes, the fads, the virus videos; they prove what has been said countless times: we are a stupid people. We are entertained by shiny objects, small things of no importance. For years, I found myself staring into the screen, deeply entranced by cute cats, laughing babies and odd animals. Hours spent taking myself away from myself. The world of the insane more interesting. For that is what the internet is. The mind of a madman, the human condition, our condition, allowed to be freely accessed. We are entertained by our own decadence.
I come home to an empty apartment slowly being torn apart by my own two hands. Old possessions sold or tossed. Always a mess. Bags full of junk. Sometimes I get excited that I’m going back to my family, settling down from this ride and just resting. Other times, I grab the sides of my world and shake it, hoping for something that makes sense to fall out. The human psyche isn’t a strong thing. Powerful men are taken down by the slightest of personal bruises. Its all about how much you can take and how much you want to come out the other side.
What is the other side? For many, its restarting the whole thing, like the Matrix. Once they come from the darkness, they see the same black cat. Over and over. Failed relationship after failed relationship. The mistakes they made mattered not. They’ll get back in. They’ll find that true love. The ideal will live on. These people are the sad souls. The broken zombies we see at fifty or sixty years old. The ones lost to nostalgia. The world was so much better when they didn’t have to deal with it. The world was so much better when the wool was snug and comfy.
For myself, it can’t be. It just can’t. Like a child allowed to stick his fingers into a socket, shocks like that stay in my memory. Red flags fly higher and brighter than ever before. Clues once ignored for ideals sake are now noted and logged. And, when the mystery is solved, I have the evidence before me. I can walk away knowing I didn’t lose a good thing. Good things should never make you doubt yourself. Ever.
As I return to organizing the end of a chapter, I take note of how much I’m throwing away, and I take remember how distracted I had to be during the whole thing. I remember how I hid or ran or wanted it all gone. I remember that I stayed for the ideal. The promises. The hope things would change.
Things are just that. Things. They are only as important as the value we place on them.
And, as it turns out, the most important thing I have is my diginity.