Humanity is meant to be unhappy. From the very moment—the very second, even—that the first human infant was conceived, the future of his race had been cursed by nature's inherent inequities, disappointments, and failures. It had been destined to forever be crushed by failed love and cancerous obsessions; it was destined to feel the heartbreaks of a soul which it could not comprehend—a nameless, sightless, seemingly nonexistent curse—and to stay oppressed into the deep, obscure horizon. Forevermore, it was destined to be shackled in the chains of its intrinsic vice, corruption, and futility, fighting ineffectually against a world that is the result of competition and inherent inequality—a world that may even want it dead at times; however, it was destined to forever question these horrible truths of life. And these question lead to challenges. And these challenges lead to creations, and these creations lead to changes. And someday, beyond that horizon, beyond the scope of human understanding, these intrinsic questions and vague dreams, these sleepless nights and tear filled vigils into the depths of personality and meaning—these inevitable changes—will lead to true, unforced happiness and human expression. To quote a poem: "When the power of love replaces the love of power, humanity will have a new name: God."
For about half an hour on the bus today I thought about this. After meeting the old, familiar companion of melancholia at the final tone of that equally familiar E-flat school bell, I ascended the brown and grey stairs into my bus, gazing up at the white and grey ribbed ceiling above me or through the grimy windows about my brown seat. After about twenty minutes watching the same dormant trees and beige grass, a quote from Buddha suddenly appeared in my head: "Words have the power to both destroy or heal; when words are both true and kind, they can change our world." Well, needless to say, the power to destroy came into my head first: the blaring rhetoric of Rwanda genocide or the superficial lies of Hitler, dripping with the thick tones of hatred and racism. Then, fortunately, I began to ponder the benevolent orators: the inspiring hope and optimism of JFK and the powerful passages of Dr. Martin Luther King. I thought of the healing that they had given the last full measure of devotion to complete. Yes, people can cite numerous failures despite their valiant efforts, but some palpable good did arise. Certainly, they did not overcome many challenges, and inequities have remained, but they did "change our world" in many ways: a Free West Berlin and integration, for example.
Nevertheless, had I been detracted by a "2-minute sitcom," I doubt that Buddha's quote, along with many others, would have come to my head. I doubt that I would have had such an epiphany, as inconsequential as it actually may be in reality. I doubt that the stagnant status quo would have altered; it would have, as always, remained the turgid, brackish water that is the essence of general human progress. See, already I have grown pessimistic again, yet I suppose it is just my overwhelmed psyche challenging reality. Yes, I could escape into the superficial distractions around me, but then I would forever remain entrenched in the mire of that confounded status quo. I would be seemingly far removed, seemingly distant and secure upon the obscure island of my delightful ignorance, but the truth, for me at least, could never be buried beneath that sickly green and brown hue. Indeed, it would forever remain irrevocably bright.
Hopefully, I am not alone. Hopefully, I do not bite off more than I can chew. I cannot change the world—especially alone. No one can really change the world. I do believe, though, that I am not alone. Indeed, I believe that there is a future far beyond this present that will be beautiful and great, and no sitcoms or video games can deter the grinding wheels of eventual progress. It is simply beyond us. Sure we may all die before it happens, or we may be too distracted to notice it. Or, it may come sooner than we think: not after tomorrow or even after a thousand tomorrows, but eventually. I doubt that we humans, endowed with strength, reason, and intellect, will forego their use; I doubt that we will be distracted into oblivion—to fail because of the triumphs of our own progress. I doubt that the sun will forever rise over a world that is rife with the starving and the miserable, the forgotten and the lost. I doubt that all hope is hopeless.
I know that there is the good to triumph over evil, despite what the cynics may say. I know that the power of love will overcome the love of power, despite what history may show. People will continue to combat the intrinsic suffering with their intrinsic industry and ingenuity. There will always be another Buddha or Beethoven, another JFK or Martin Luther king Jr.; there will always be another "tank man," like at Tiananmen Square, to defend the rights and message of those who aspire to follow the truth of their hearts and minds. There will always be another hero. Well, at least I hope.