We’re all looking for the next level, whether it be personal or for all of mankind. What is the next level? It’s the perceived idea of where we should be. There is no real next level. It simply exists in our minds as an ideal. And yet, we reach for it because we know we must do better. It is this notion that separates us from other species, for we aspire to more. Ambition is our strength and weakness, for we seek it without knowing how to get there. Personally, many of us are wondering what our lives mean. Not on a grand scale, but just our individual lives. On a whole, we want to know ‘when are we going to get flying cars?’ Many people speak of the next level, but very few know how to get there.
On a personal level, I’ve heard people ask before what it all means. How their life fits into this? They want to know answers. The questions always differ, but in the end, they want answers. I can give you an answer: nobody can answer it and help you but yourself. Honestly, it is not the answer you are truly seeking for it will bring you no joy. What you should seek is who you are and what you want out of this life. If no one can help you in this journey, that means you only have yourself, and if you do not build yourself, then you will not reach the end. Once you have worked on who you are, you will come to realize that it was you you were searching for all along. Everything else is secondary. When you find yourself, you find your place in the world and see how it all fits. When you haven’t found yourself, you feel like an outsider.
On a global scale, people want to know when our lives will resemble that of a science fiction movie or novel. I can tell you when: when there is no more hunger and homelessness. If we cannot take care of societies’s most basic needs, we will never progress as a people. The only way you can judge a nation’s success is between the gap between the poor and the rich. Once people have found themselves, they are more apt to see their role in society and help others. Once they see how society functions, they will realize that we must all work as one and that we are no better than the poorest among us. When you have eliminated these basic needs, people will be able to function better and contribute more to society. Once they contribute more, society as a whole becomes more enlightened. So you see, the next level is about being selfless and that is where change comes from.
When you encounter a setback or a stumbling block in life, know that life is not trying to ruin you. The purpose of failure is to humble you. What happens when you become humble? You see beyond yourself. You see how your life fits in the world and how it is intertwined with the fate of those around you and those you will never meet. Being humble means crying about someone dying in a bar and having an acquaintance tell you that it’s not as bad as you think because they have no idea why you are crying, but you simply accept it because you know they are trying their best without trying to inflict pain. Being humble means showing compassion to those who never showed you any. Being humble means being thankful for all the good and bad things that have ever happened to you.
A funny thing happens when you become humble. You shed your skin of vulnerability, for you no longer fear defeat. Defeat becomes your friend and you find you are capable of the impossible suddenly. There are those who will continue to lament the very real tragedies in their lives, but when they refuse to see the good in the tragedy, they still open themselves up to the rift of pain that exists and they can never escape that cycle of self-inflicted pain. How do you see the good? Realize that the world does not revolve around you, but that instead, you exist to make the world a better place. If you let yourself be defeated by defeat, you wallow in a kind of selfish pity that threatens you with only more defeat. But if you’ve become immune to defeat, you can become selfless.
You should never court failure, but if it does happen, welcome it as the humbling agent it is. For only those who have tasted defeat knows how sweet success does taste.
I recently read a newspaper article detailing how today’s society is reporting many more people feeling lonely than ever before. I find it hard to believe that people feel so lonely in a time where we are more connected than ever. You can find your niche and people with the touch of the keyboard. Mobile phones, social media, and the internet allow us to be in touch with others like no other time in history, so why is that we are reporting more loneliness? Many say it’s because we’re having more superficial interactions with others, but no one quite knows how to deal with it. Here’s a thought: stop being superficial. That’s probably harder than you think, though.
The reality is that we live in a society that prizes success and as such, many shy away from speaking about what has gone wrong in their lives. We build our social medias to portray the best that we have to offer, rarely speaking of what is really lurking behind the mask. It is expected that we put our best foot forward. When someone asks how your day is going, the correct response is ‘good,’ no matter if it is or not. We expect only to hear about the good things from others and they start to show only the success they’ve had in their life, which causes a rift between reality and polite niceties that are required. What is happening is that we are not having authentic connections with each other because we expect each other to always be positive. When we filter our conversations, our pictures, and our posts, we filter our authenticity.
Loneliness can occur from many things such as moving somewhere new or having someone leave our lives that we were once close to, but there is a different kind of loneliness that is creeping into our lives in the present day. It leaves us unsatisfied with ourselves and with who we are, so we seek it out in the outside world, never realizing we can’t fill the hole that is within us. We’ve learned to politely lie so well to the world that we have begun lying to ourselves. We crave success and acceptance so much that we forgo our failures. Failure is what can bring you to authenticity. When you speak about your failure, you become vulnerable and allow others to become vulnerable as well. They then allow themselves to speak about their failures and connect with you. You can always strive to reach success, but you must connect with failure, for that’s when we are truly authentic: when we have nothing left to lose.
I’ve been following the Twitter handle Trump Regrets and find it hilarious. In the news, there have also been stories of people who voted for Trump who find they now have family members who are going to be deported or not let into the country. For most who do not care for Trump, there are two views: one of derision and the other of compassion. I say, why not both? Personally, I am laughing at their gaffes and am glad they got out justice meted out to them due to their beliefs in one man. For me, I don’t think anyone should be held accountable for what they feel, only what they say. So I feel perfectly fine feeling this way towards them, but publicly, I will say that I do see the tragedy of it all and the harrowing situation they are in through no direct fault of their own. I mean, there are still people who opposed ‘Obamacare,’ but don’t want their Affordable Care Act repealed, so misinformation abounds everywhere. People don’t always see clearly, but that doesn’t mean they deserve bad things to happen to them, because when the poorest of the poor lose, we all lose.
Trump has failed miserably in his first days in office. He has thumbed his nose at the establishment and then expected them to back him when he called out many of them in nasty nasty ways. And yet he fails to see that. He claims to be a great businessman who was going to right America, and although I don’t agree with him being a great businessman as he inherited his fortune, filed for bankruptcy multiple times, and has had some shady deals, for the sake of argument, I’ll say he’s a good businessman. Just because he’s a good businessman doesn’t mean he was going to make a good politician. Politicians know how to compromise and this man knows nothing of compromise. If he hasn’t learned how to now, he never will. As a politician, you know you can never appease everyone, but you are willing to work with others and hear them out, but if you continue to bully them, they will stop listening.
And then there were the people who said ‘give him a chance. Hoping that he’ll fail is like wishing all the country will fail.’ Personally, I’m like is this the chance you were looking for? But I know that is not helpful and I’d like to say to those people that I did give him a chance and he has proven he does not know how to be a politician and he has decided to surround himself with people who are also not politicians, so unless this changes, his chances are quickly going down the drain. In the end, we all want the same things, but getting there doesn’t always mean agreeing. We may agree to disagree, but that is how a democracy works. If one more person says ‘don’t like Trump? Move!’ one more time, I’ll have to counter with ‘you must’ve loved Obama because you stayed in the country all eight long years.’ We’re all in this together, so at least argue together.
The often misquoted phrase ‘money is the root of all evil’ is derived from 1 Timothy 6:10, which actually says ‘For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.’ In the original context, it is the greed for money that is the root of some evil. For me, I believe greed in general is the root of the worst evils. There are some evils that occur out of pure ignorance, blind allegiance, or even in the name of the best of intentions, but this is another category altogether. Then there is another evil that is manufactured by mere mortals that keeps their neighbors in misery. This evil has many faces and many names, but it allows for the destruction of those around them simply for a few to live in excess. This evil is pure greed.
For me, the twin pursuits of money and power cause the most damage, for people will subvert themselves just to attain that status. I watched a documentary where a young girl escaped from a Mormon cult and said that her father was one of the senior members, but when they were younger, he was just a normal guy who never believed in polygamy or religion that much, but when he was given power, he abandoned his family for it. However, the pursuit of money and power is not evil in of itself. It is greed for these things that propels these people to accept evil. Greed allows us to bend the rules for ourselves and those around us. We can accept the horrible treatment of our neighbors when we are given access to money and power, and to keep it, we allow greed to take over all aspects of our lives.
The thing about greed is that we all harbor its sentiments deep in our hearts. They lie dormant when we are but peasants who revolt against the bourgeoisie, but when we are the bourgeoisie, we adapt their rules because we are no longer peasants. This is how the caste system has always worked and will always work. Greed may be the root of all evil, but evil is what we all are if we were ever presented the opportunity. We want to believe we are good people and will always do the right thing, but centuries of history will prove you wrong. The only way we can achieve more is to accept that we are indeed evil and build measures against it. When the founding fathers crafted the constitution and government, they relied on the fact that they were all equal men fighting for their country, which they were, and as such, made laws and rules that did not guard against those who would use the system for their own gain, but now, that is where we are.
If you craft anything, craft it with the belief of evil and you will safeguard the future, but craft it with the belief that we are all good, you will find more evil.