Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ignorance is Bliss

I'm smart. Very smart if I'm honest with myself. But what does that even MEAN?!

I can't do calculus in my head. I have no idea when FDR was born even though I grew up in the town where his family summered and my high school was named after the man. My idea of a good read has nothing to do with anyone named Bronte. Electricity terrifies me. Chemistry is a great way for me to blow up a city block if I'm not heavily supervised. Relationships are a mystery I'm perfectly happy to never know the answer to. My cat regularly confuses the hell out of me. MY CAT!

His name is Book and he knows I have no idea what I'm doing.
Can't you just see the judgement?
So what makes me so sure I'm smart? I'm miserable.

I don't just mean depressed (I'm that too), I mean deeply miserable in corners of my soul that most people don't even know exist (lucky them). It's impossible for me to do anything without having a running conversation with myself that sounds something like this...

Outside Me: OMG!! LOOK AT HOW CUTE THOSE KIDS PLAYING ON THE PLAYGROUND ARE!!

Inside Me: You know this land was razed destroying the nesting grounds of a very rare migratory bird after it was stolen from the local natives by developers who are on trial for polluting that lake right over there. 

Outside Me to Inside Me: WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN EVERYTHING!!!

Inside Me: The kids will probably die before they are 40 because we've ruined everything. 

And this is how every moment of every day of my life has been since I was a little kid. The older I get and the more I learn about the world, the more miserable I get. And the worse part is, I CAN'T GO BACK!! I can't unknow the real horrors of this world once I've seen them, so every time I learn a new horrible thing, Inside Me has more information to throw out as a counter to anything good I might happen across in this world which if you know anything, is in fact a shit show.

And what makes me believe my misery is a sign of my intelligence? My sister.

When we were kids, my sister was the smart one. She was the one who picked up everything like it was as natural as breathing, and I was consistently reminded that if I was just more like her, I wouldn't be such a waste of oxygen. But somewhere along the line, my sister made a decision. I doubt she was aware of having made it, but she did. She decided to stop looking at the truth of the world, and to just live in her little corner of it where it could be whatever she pretended it was. Most people do this, so I don't think it's really a bad choice, but her choice made me realize something about myself. I can't lie, even to myself. And that skill is ESSENTIAL to being happy in this world.

My sister is now completely happily living in a world where her daughter won't be living to the ripe old age of 45 only to died from micro-plastic poisoning but instead will have fat happy grandchildren for her to teach this magic of willful ignorance leading to more happily ignorant adults.

I want to live there too.

But you see, if like me you see the truth of the world, you can't pretend that your consumerism doesn't contribute to the state our planet is in because it does. You can't pretend that the mistakes you make purely because you're human don't sometimes have disastrous effects for those around you and that you are in fact responsible for those effects. It is simply impossible to tell yourself that your cat isn't judging you for not knowing what that Mee-oow means after 5 years of hearing it because you really should have been paying closer attention.

This is my genius. I see the world for what it is and my place in it, and how I have effected my little corner of it and it makes me miserable. At least I can say I've known since I was 11 that this was the way the world would end. Tragically and by our own hands.

At least Book and I agree on that

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