The longer I have to learn how to be content, the easier it becomes. Youth is tricky. Don’t get me wrong, I am not content with the state of the world, with politics and the appalling injustices we all view on the news each day. Which is, itself, an extraordinary mindfuck. We all view the most terrible things everyday, repeatedly, but have no power to stop what we are seeing, no power to “make a difference”. The psychological affect is real, and, for some, can be paralysing. We try to find ways to placate our emotions, we sign the petition, we share the meme, we wear the ribbon for awareness, as if we aren’t all already bombarded with over-awareness, as if millions of people knowing something is a problem can actually lead to a solution.
We do other things too, we stop eating certain foods because we see the animal cruelty that goes into its production, forgetting that in almost everything we consume there is an element of human suffering that has gone into it. We only buy “Australian made” products because it is good for Aussie jobs. Forgetting that the foreign produce that we consume also involves workers whose livelihood would be threatened if we stopped buying the imported can of tomatoes or beans. The world is fucked and we all have to find a way to come to terms with the fact that, as individuals, we are powerless to change the system.
So, where does that leave us when it comes to our mental health? Well, for a start, it isn’t helpful to take personal responsibility for things that are out of its control. It isn’t helpful to feel guilty for the system that we didn’t create and have no choice but to participate in.
It can help to occasionally take a break and turn off the tv. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care.
It also helps to stop having useless arguments on the internet. Some people just aren’t worth your time. By all means have constructive conversations, think, learn, but don’t argue for the sake of it, it’s a waste of energy.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t become involved in our local community, that we shouldn’t help those around us, especially if it provides material assistance to those who need it. Just don’t expect to change the system.
Can we be discontent with the system, but content with ourselves? Perhaps, but only if we stop believing the ideological bullshit that we all have the power to change the world through our individual actions. You don’t have to be a hero. In fact, you do not have the power to be a hero. Our hero culture comes from the ancient Greeks, and they knew that only those with immortal blood had the power to change the world.