Wednesday, May 20, 2020
I don't understand it, therefore it isn't real
So why is it, that all those people, or most of them anyways, in the first world countries, are so...'passive' when it comes to the suffering in this world? All those 'privileged' human beings, who are born in wealthy or at least middle-class families, in positions of ABUNDANCE. Who have and get everything they need and want and lack nothing. Who are raised in - more or less - stable families, and get the support they need to 'make it' in life. To go to school, get a degree, find a job, and start a family of their own, without ever really needing to worry about 'survival' necessarily, as everything in life is pretty 'easy' and 'straightforward'.
What is it that makes us so disconnected and separated and aloof in relation to the suffering in this world? Suffering that is VERY real, for many many beings. While we are in the ULTIMATE position of power, to really do something about it. What is it inside of ourselves, in our very minds, that cause us to 'accept' things as they are? Rather than STAND UP, SPEAK UP, DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, as any sane person would do, when faced with the horrifying and atrocious suffering that's part of 'life on earth'.
I mean, by all accounts, you would almost think, that we truly just 'don't care'. That we are entirely devoid of life and feeling, and lack even the slightest sensitivity to see or pick up on another's pain. How do we sleep at night?! Literally. How?!
Let me answer that question, with myself as the best example. I was born in a first world country. In a family of abundance. We never lacked anything. I was always given everything I needed or wanted. I never had to worry about 'survival'. My life was easy. As if it was programmed that way. I was aware that there was 'suffering' in the world. I was aware that in some far away lands, there was 'war', and people were suffering as a consequence of it. That there was 'poverty', somewhere. That there were even entire countries - called 'third world countries' - where EVERYONE existed in poverty and even starvation. A LACK that is beyond comprehension. I watched the news, I saw the photos and the videos.
I KNEW, on some level in my mind, that all that 'existed'. But to be honest, on some other level within myself, I didn't really BELIEVE it. I mean that's kind of weird to say actually because as they say, 'seeing is believing'. And, I did SEE, physically, with my own eyes. Yet, I did not 'believe'. I could not FATHOM that anyone else's life could be so different from mine. That there were people out there who did not know the kind of safety and security and stability that seemed to be an absolute given in my world and reality. I mean even everyone around me seemed to enjoy that same sense of safety, stability and security. All, equally. Life was good for everyone that I knew. So then, how could it be so different elsewhere?
I grew up in Belgium. And in Belgium, in most of Belgium, the inequality isn't so great as in most of the rest of the world. 'The middle-class rules the country.' That's from a popular Belgian song. It means that sure while there were people who made more money than others, it didn't really matter all that much what kind of job you did. Everyone was 'taken care of'. There was a sense of 'equality' within how much money and means everyone had. And so everyone was 'happy'. Everyone was able to 'enjoy life'.
That was the 'world' that I grew up in. A world wherein everyone can be equally happy. And in that world, the concept of 'suffering', or 'starvation', did not exist. And it was almost like living in a bubble. Where even though there were images coming through on the TV of people living entirely different lives - lives so opposite to ours - the images never really 'registered' as being anything 'real' or anything substantial because I simply 'couldn't relate'. I could not 'understand', as it's never been part of my 'frame of reference'.
It's sort of weird to say, but yes I could not understand, and so it didn't seem 'real'. And so I could continue to 'ignore' and 'brush it off', like it's of no consequence. Like all that REALLY matters, is just the comings and goings of my own life, and the lives of those around me. NOT the fact that somewhere out there, lots of people are seriously suffering, in ways that even my worst nightmares can't describe.
BUT, although my mind did not BELIEVE what my eyes did SEE, and although therefore it seemed entirely justified to just ignore it all, deeeep deep down within myself there was an awareness. An awareness that it IS all real. And that awareness became a 'guilt'. Something that was eating me up inside. Something that made me feel wretched within myself. The guilt of knowing that all this is going on, but I am doing NOTHING about it. And that I can tell myself that 'I don't understand' and 'I don't believe' as much as I want, but at the end of the day the guilt does not go away. Until I actually STAND UP and do whatever I can to FIX and SOLVE and CHANGE those things in this world that SHOULD NOT exist.