The Confine of Our Minds
Looking at the state of the world today, it’s hard not to be pessimistic, at best.
Hopeless and depressed, getting out of bed takes all your might, and you feel invisible to the outside world, the silent screams in your head reach no one, accomplish nothing.
Who do we call to save the world, to save us?
I'm constantly baffled by the way the human mind can normalise injustice. The way we perch any solution on a distant pedestal, too high to ever reach, too far away to care.
But perhaps that’s not totally bogus; no one can change the world on their own.
When we’re plagued with societal expectations, fear of failure and propaganda our entire lives, it’s no wonder people suffocate under the frightening facade of the capitalist world. It’s easy to believe that you won’t make a difference, especially if you’re surrounded by others who impart their own fears unto you - preaching tirelessly of a world that is just too big and too dangerous. Sound like anyone you know?
‘Write about something you care about.’ One of Kurt Vonnegut’s most fundamental principles of writing, (and probably every half-sane writer out there) and the main conundrum that has puzzled me for years. There’s never been a shortage of things to talk about, from extreme sports to paintings to ancient civilisations to sex, love and rock and roll, but I always found that the ardent curiosity and motivation to pursue (and write about) them, escaped me, wisps of creativity come and go without saying goodbye.
All of a sudden I'm standing there in the cold, with my dick in my hand and a dozen unfinished articles and stories I never had the courage to begin - not knowing in which direction to take a step, no destination in sight, no assurance and only the memory of motivation.
What pulls me out of those downward spirals, (after a long sulk, cigarettes and draping myself across surfaces and objects, sometimes people), is finding the sun warming my cheek, noticing the emerald and texture on the underside of a leaf, how horns grow curly like our fingernails, observing each tree tell its own story, and how, unless I kill myself or die some other way, I will keep being alive, today, in this polarising universe of love and beauty and fear and unrest. And how we choose to spend that time is completely up to us.
Through the inquisition of life and its colourful facets, the unwavering fascination with the Earth consumes me more and more, and within this can be found a delicate balance between acceptance and revolt. It's become clear that the best direction I can drive this passion bursting out of my core is to fight the fight of our century, nay, of all time - the fight to save our planet. Our Mother.
We can learn of catastrophic events; the indigenous tribes of the Amazon still being massacred today, by the government and the virus; the direct impact on Indigenous Australian and Indian communities by the absurd greed of the Adani Group; the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and sea level rise causing entire communities to relocate (sometimes twice!); abrupt changes in habitat, sea lions falling to their death; the ongoing slavery of people of colour by chaining them to fear; the decimation of precious forests all over the world… the list goes on.
Sit down and cry, absorb them. Be real with them. Don’t pretend like they’re not happening, because they are. It’s getting harder to ignore what’s happening in the world, to continue ignoring that the way we consume feeds directly into climate change, to keep pretending that what we have will last forever. And when you’re done coming to terms with the state of the world, find somewhere productive to channel that anger and sorrow. Allow its’ impetus to take you out of your comfort zone: It’s the best thing we can do with it.
We must, too, recognise the incredible resilience and heart-forward intention of those who share our drive for a better world.
The 9 year long campaign that has inspired millions of people around the world to come together to Stop Adani, and continues to do so with fearless duty; scientists working to reverse the damage in our coral reefs; Syntropic farming, a method that marries the wild and agriculture in a beautifully sustainable way, is becoming more widely accepted everywhere; Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia, spent 20 years planting 2 million trees, and bringing awareness to the atrocities happening in impoverished communities around the world; (not to mention his life's work, equally shattering and inspiring); this collective of documentary photographers raising social awareness to lives very different to our own, works of passion, works of pain... works of humanity.
All in their own voice, palette and power: it is in this resilience I reflect on, to light a candle in the dark that is the confine of our minds.