Life’s unfair. That’s what we’re told, when things don’t go our way. Yes, you deserve it, no, unfortunately there’s no way to challenge it. That’s the consolation, the friendly, half-taunting commiseration – that no matter what “it” is, “it” is too great a challenge, too vast and intricate a machine to ever displace. Doing so would be futile, catastrophic, and generally trouble-making or attention-seeking.
And that wouldn’t be good for anyone involved, would it? Just, problematic, and violently selfish. So we take a knock, shed a tear, feel like shit for a few days, and slink back into the machine – the safety of conformity. And then we forget, because time doesn’t heal wounds, it masks them in a comforting haze of forgetfulness. So that the next time you feel hard done by, it feels isolated. You don’t realise that, hey, a large portion of life amounts to nought but what-if’s. and once again, you don’t challenge it – because to be set apart from the crowd, to be a lone voice screaming “fuck you” in an ocean of regiment and law-abiding-citizens is generally… icky. Frowned upon, perhaps, with all those eyes looking into you, mocking you – the raving lunatic whose decided he or she doesn’t enjoy being stepped on and trampled. Because what’s more ridiculous – rebelling against your circumstances drunk, or sober?
And then when you do gather the Dutch-courage to react and question, you’re again placated – It’s not worth the fight… systems are in place for a reason. Or, more simply, you’re told it’s just not kosher to fight, not the PC thing to do.
A lot of people struggle with defining the concept of irony – myself included. But I think I’ve finally nailed it – we are an irony. We’re taught to fight, be individuals, express ourselves. Then in the same breath we’re told to respect authority, seniority, discipline. Grow up, get a job, die. Maybe have kids. And if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly, write a strongly-worded letter. Because those are the catalyst for change the world over. And the ironic part is, we’re content with this. We’re content, we praise democracy and the systems that knock us down, because they’re so equal and fair.
The modern era is a dictatorship, undoubtedly. But the beauty of it is, we are the dictators. We are brought up to talk ourselves into submission. If Hitler were alive, he’d undoubtedly see the beauty in a system where the masses regulate themselves, where people kill each other trying to survive, while being overjoyed at the prospect, no, the privilege of being allowed to elect millionaires to lead them.
Preposterous, right? This world is so free and fair! I would bet my life on the fact that 99 percent Nazi Youth felt the same way. Because as Steve Biko said – The greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. If you feel like being downtrodden is just a natural aspect of life, why would you ever try to stop it? If you see pictures of starving kids in Darkest Africa, you’d feel sad for a few minutes, if that, then quietly justify it as, simply, the way the world works. What could possibly be more obedient than a people born defeated? People will read this, and, at most, feel a little energised, before falling back into routine and social dictum, because that’s how we’re born and that’s how we’re raised. We’re told to effect change, but when we do, we’re told not to take it to heart, not to take it too far. Sit back down or be socially ostracized.
It’s a hard knock life.
And maybe it’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.