I’m extremely distressed.
This is not an unusual state of affairs. As a person who has struggled for a lifetime with depression and anxiety, distress has been something of a default state for me for just about as long as I can remember. And God knows that there is plenty in this world to be distressed about. At this particular moment, this week, the past year, the past decade and a bit… the world seems very much to be going to hell. I am not old enough to know if this is the feeling that comes in every generation, or if this is something particularly apocalyptic in a new sort of way.
They* talk about the war between Good and Evil as though it will be perfectly obvious which side is which. The true horror is the conviction with which everyone believes that they are in the right. I myself am no exception. With very little irony I can say at this moment that I believe that my way of thinking is, by and large, correct. I have been sufficiently humbled in my time that I make no pretense of absolute certainty, since there is literally no such thing. But I will go so far as to say that I am thoroughly convinced.
In many circumstances, especially in these times of global political and media corruption, the unprecedented availability of information and, with it, the unprecedented means by which to manipulate this information, makes the facts and truth of a matter impossible to know, even a little bit, even for those in the thick of it, let alone those watching from the sidelines. More than ever before we know now that data, that information is power, and so the conscientious observer must always be wary of who wields and disseminates it, and to what end. It is so easy to be duped by those who, in another era, we would trust implicitly. We don’t know what world we live in. This is true of every era, but it feels truer in a world in which we see any corner of the globe with a few keystrokes, in which information moves at the speed of thought and just a second or two behind it (or sometimes, unfortunately, before it). No one knows what is happening, and everyone thinks that they know what it means.
These are the things that are distressing in the world. These things are in many ways very new, but they have become a constant backdrop to everything… on top, of course, of the ancient and ongoing distress of disease and poverty, war, hunger, destruction, death, heartless indifference, the abuses of the rich, and on and on and on. To these stressors I have grown accustomed, sad as that is. That’s not the thing.
The thing is, the thing I have come to realize, the thing that is haunting my thoughts at this moment, is this:
I fear that the worst people I know are my own.
*You know… They.