It sometimes seems as though every time I sit down to post here, or every time I pick up the telphone to talk to someone far away, or every time I communicate in almost any way at all, I begin with the full intention of finally, after many long years of silence and inaction, making a manifesto — a maelstrom of language and fury full of declarations — of liberty, of indignation, of intent. These are forever on the tip of my tongue and I long to launch them, to shoot them, into others’ armor and pierce the plates that obscure hypocrisy.
Ultimately, however, it seems that one always lacks the courage to say or do such things. One never really means all that one feels, because to be so sincere as to have honest feelings is little removed from suicide, and that of course runs counter to all instinct. There are always, after all, concerns. Relationships, friendships, employability, finances, political criminality — a million little concerns that, in the long run, relentlessly supercede what one really and truly thinks or feels right now.
Is this the fundamental flavor of modernity? Life beneath a perpetual tyranny of cicrumstance and of the self, forever censored by our own interests, lost as person in order to be saved as breathing meat? Does the day ever come when we air our grievances, admit our opinions, let loose our preferences, stand tall in the face of all that will certainly destroy us in spite of ourselves?
Or is it our lot in the twenty-first century, interdependent and small as we are in the face of All of This, to go whimpering to our graves, the beneficiaries of elongated lives that weren’t worth living anyway, carrying out the unimportant 90 percent of every plan while the remaining 10 percent with actual meaning is put off until a tomorrow that never comes?
It’s never clear which one’s the better, and the ambiguity seems to add another layer to the travesty, preventing even a decisive selection between them and resulting in unsatisfactory lives coated in an intellectual and moral layer of hair grease and soap scum.