I went through this weird, sparkle-eyed optimism phase. It came from the weirdest thing, too: shortly before the term began, I was watching The Universe on History International and then the protests in Tehran on CNN and MSNBC? And somehow, watching those two things together made me really kind of fall in love with the human race? And I developed a view of the world that was:
- The human race is so fucking amazing. While individual humans are largely unremarkable, we’ve created so much in such a comparatively short span of time: for tiny, insignificant bits of carbon, floating through the universe on an insignificant planet that existed in just a blink of the cosmic eye, so to speak, we have learnt and created and accomplished so much.
- And while people can be small-minded and ignorant, people can also be really amazing, and I think that people are essentially good, because prejudice and cruelty are learnt, not inherent, behaviors; and so even while people can be really, really fucking terrible, I don’t think I could hate anyone, because even though they are, of course, responsible for themselves and their actions, maybe they would have been different if they’d existed in different circumstances.
And then I was really optimistic for, like, a year, and anyone who followed me back then when I wrote a lot more shit myself (but don’t go looking, because some of it’s really douchey) may remember that kind of— there was a metric fuckton of righteous anger, but maybe I wrote about my optimism, too, I don’t remember.
But then I realized that that was really fucking naive.
And I guess there are still traces of that… philosophy, I guess— I’m still kind of in awe of the human race on the whole and I get occasional sparks of pride for being a human when a group of people does something particularly amazing. But, by and large, I’ve sunk back into misanthropy Lite (not complete misanthropy, because I still expect more than I probably should out of people, but).
Because people are small-minded and ignorant and stupid and brutish and selfish and generally awful. I just can’t understand most people— I think that’s why I have so few people who are legitimate friends (instead of that weird area between “acquaintance” and “friend”) and why they all seem to be the same sort of person: because people who don’t fulfill specific criteria just baffle me, or at least I can’t connect with them. And I think the friends I have are the greatest friends in the world and some of the bitchinest people and if more people would be like them, the world would suck a whole lot less.
But the fact of the matter is that my friends are extraordinary individuals and they wouldn’t be nearly so extraordinary if everyone were that extraordinary.
And I love knowing things— being aware of shit, you know? But sometimes it’s really hard, because I’m just continually losing my faith in humanity and it’s hard to lose faith in something that you want so badly to believe in. Not to say, of course, that my disillusionment is worse than the shit I’m aware of, because it’s certainly not; and not to say that I’d give all my knowledge back, because I’d rather know, in the end.
But it’s so daunting: there’s so much wrong and if people would just be fucking rational and not-shitty like I know they can be, then things would be so much better for everyone; but people will never be rational and not-shitty, and so people have to fight for shit, and why is it so hard to just be cool to other people? And how will anything ever be okay, if people are just going to keep being like this?
But I guess you have to believe that things will stop sucking someday, even if you aren’t there to see it.
And on a somewhat related note: when I was being really optimistic, I was much more tolerant of others and I tried really hard to be more moderate, politically, because I thought being too leftist would discredit my opinion and I thought that everyone had a right to an opinion and that opinions couldn’t be wrong.
But opinions can be wrong: if your opinion is hurting others, you opinion is wrong and you need to shut the fuck up.
I feel such a personal kind of resentment for anti-choice people or anti-LGBT* people or racist people or pro-war people and any number of other people: your opinions are hurting others and you need to stop. It doesn’t matter to me how nice you may be: I resent you for your opinion because it’s shitty and hurting people. And I feel a little bad for snapping at the girl trying to give me anti-choice shit on my way to class, but then I remember that she is trying to restrict the rights of millions of people she’s never met to do whatever the fuck they want with their bodies, and even if she doesn’t think of it that way or doesn’t think she is, that’s what she’s doing and she deserves to be snapped at because of it.
(But then I think that maybe she just doesn’t know— but she also probably doesn’t want to know, and so I’m back at square one.)
And being leftist is nothing to be ashamed of and being far to the left is not, in and of itself, an indication of irrationality: rationality presents itself most readily to the left, it seems, and I can make a damn good argument, if I do say so myself.
Maybe that’s some kind of elitist. Maybe it’s this— militant, would you call it?— position that has my mother thinking that my ideas are over-blown and ridiculous.
But, you know what? I don’t fucking care.