On lessons

Henry Miller once wrote “everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.”

I teach as a profession, and yet I never fail to learn. People will always teach you something. They show you who they are, every single moment; even in those moments when they’re trying to hide it. I’ve been watching closely lately. I’ve been speaking less. Even less than usual.

Most don’t notice. Most of those who notice don’t care enough to ask. Those who ask don’t always get an answer. Those who do, don’t follow up. So what’s the point?

What do we shut our eyes to? What do we denigrate, despise or deny? Everything that scares us, challenges us, takes us out of our comfort zones. Whatever bursts the bubble we are in. Our skins so fragile and yet we live to be a hundred. A piece of paper cuts through us as if we were butter, and yet we remain whole. Money is made out of paper, and yet we never lose it, misplace it, or act carelessly towards it. Necessities have become relative. We have all become expendable.

For the longest time I thought that people were mostly fake, pretending; now I realise the truth is uglier. The are all simply, deeply selfish. ‘Isn’t that more honest?’ you shall ask. ‘Yes, yes it is,’ I will reply. ‘Isn’t it also sad, though?’ My generation was taught to hope, and then it was rewired to believe that everything is futile, so you might as well be an asshole. Everyone else is, why not you? And so they shed every last bit of shame and blossomed into the assholes they always dreamed of being. What’s more liberating than ceasing to pretend that you care?

A weight was lifted. The jig was up. Finally, they were free. Or were they? Tell me…are you?

What does freedom mean to you? What does it entail? Does it tear down walls or put up fortresses? Does it liberate or create little boxes with captions that compartmentalise even the tiniest bit of meaning?

When has freedom ever given you escape?

Isn’t it freedom that you deny, denigrate and despise?

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