Why are we, as a species, so poor at sustaining and prolonging relationships? Not only relationships with other people but (often unhealthy) relationships with objects that cannot possibly reciprocate any emotional response to our longing for them, such as, cars, food, our phones, plants and of course ‘the biggie’: The Planet. As people, we have a tendency to lack empathy, knowledge and care for a lot of things from time to time; often, apathy is the catalyst to most of the things we do. For instance, this piece of writing is somewhat a consequence of my own apathy towards many activities I find uninteresting. This is a clear example that apathy isn’t always a bad thing, so long as it leads to better consequences and not watching the third, hour long, 9/11 conspiracy theory documentary on YouTube or the eleventh episode of Friends in a row on a Sunday afternoon. If you can create something positive out of something as negative as apathy then you are doing something right, my reader, for not everyone can do such a thing and will, almost certainly, never be able to. This is the unfortunate situation some people allow themselves to be subjected to and shan’t ever question it – but bloody ought to!
Now I am not saying by me writing this mediocre piece that I am somehow better than you, on the contrary, I am merely outlining the sheer imperfections that lie within, virtually, all of us. Furthermore, I believe you and I should welcome this challenge: the challenge of fighting our own, natural, inability to understand and conquer innate psychological blockages. Once we can understand the extremely complex workings of the mind – most importantly, your own mind – then we will be wholly better off as a civilisation. For understanding the mind means understanding all of humanity’s woes, hitherto and hereafter, and how to prevent them from occurring again.
Additionally, I solemnly believe there is no greater relationship than that of one with one’s own mind, however, similar to a romantic relationship, this relationship should not go unscathed i.e. there should be continuous questioning, for example, Why did you say that? Where did you get that idea from? Is that the right thing to do? Who told you that? Is s/he telling the truth? Albeit, it is an ambitious and audacious idea but not one to be ridiculed or nullified (though I anticipate the sniggers and scoffs of the over 30s, of course), but encouraged to everyone in order to stimulate the subconscious to graduate into the conscious; the ignorant into the learned; the unsure into the certain.
The question I initiated this piece with was not of a vacuous notion, nor was it a question purporting to be of importance, it is of importance. Great importance, I might add. I know I cannot be the only person to have asked this question, or even the only person to outline that the relationship between one and one’s own mind is paramount to any romantic relationship with another person. It isn’t our fault, right? Can we be to blame for our very nature that has enabled us to outlive all of our ancestors? Are we truly the cause of our own hardships?
I say this because we are not creatures inept of feeling pleasure or guilt, in fact, both emotions are linked and often ensue in either order, precariously. This is because we are selfish, which nobody can deny is a main reason why we are alive today. For if our forefathers did not choose to share their prey with the other tribes, allowing them to become stronger, we wouldn’t be here now (a somewhat ‘low brow’ example but I think you get what I mean). I am not saying selflessness is at all a drawback in the human genome, but you are not always wrong for being selfish. You must always remember “everything is good in moderation” and selfishness is not, by any means, exempt from this maxim. Ask yourself if selfishness in wanting to learn and wanting to expand your mind is truly a bad thing, even in moderation?
The problem with things being good in moderation, is that humans tend to live in excess: excess luxury; excess poverty; excess greed; excess power; excess vanity. This is our penultimate downfall, as a species, and one in which I have experienced to be my own downfall in previous relationships either with friends, family members or lovers. I often become submerged with melancholy, by my own hand, thinking about these experiences. However, I am not embarrassed nor ashamed to admit this as I endeavour to never omit such events that have occurred in my life, for I am certain they have been tremendous learning experiences that I cannot be anything but grateful for. I always learned more about myself and about the other person(s) involved from these understandings. This must not be undervalued, my reader, as you ought to take everyday situations and the not-so-everyday situations as learning experiences which enable you to be a better version of yourself. I must also note that it is never too late to learn something more about yourself – sure, it would have been more useful knowing that saying or doing something would be hurtful to someone else, but then you wouldn’t have said or done it at all! Perhaps if you didn’t hurt someone’s feelings, you wouldn’t be in the position you are in now, ‘for better or worse’. This is always the philosophy I embody within myself and one in which I do sometimes struggle abiding by, but I am still learning too.
Learning is the epitome of our species’ primitive nature and should never be quashed in order to spare someone’s hurt feelings or to ‘play it safe’. Moreover, in order to reach a higher state of consciousness, one must seek past the superficialities that we are distracted by every day, and clutch at the realities of the universe instead. This will ultimately better us as individuals and as a people.
By Connor Lee