Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the future-driven animal

Here's a thing I wrote the other day. Don't read too much into the darkness and bleakness of it. It was a day, a few hours, that's all.


Life is a series of peaks and valleys: shit doesn’t always work out. All adults know this.

But what most of us refuse to face is that virtually every--no, not virtually, EVERY good experience we get to have, every person we love, every town to which we move with our big dreams (every single time, we’re so sweetly and pathetically absorbed in the feeling that THIS time damnit, moving will change everything! Of course it will!) every new job, every tiny slice of happiness we carve out of the shit and pain and nothingness that is this world--all of these are fiction.

And they will eventually let us down.

Capped off by the ultimate, final let-down: death.

For humans, all of our hopes, all of our LIVES are pinned on our imaginations, our stupid/smart goddamn human brains that lie to us constantly, telling us how great such-and-such is GOING to be, all the while subtly never letting us forget that by virtue of that thought, the present moment is, for some reason, not up to snuff. We would not otherwise spend nearly as much time fantasizing about how good these various mythical futures might be, would we, if we didn’t at least subconsciously see the present as so wanting. Otherwise why would our brains perpetually conjure them up?

We are the most ridiculous creatures of all: future-driven animals. Most animals are by necessity present-driven: what do I need right now? What do I want? There are more advanced species, besides us, that learn from the past: what should I avoid eating? Whom should I avoid pissing off? How should I prevent that bad experience from happening again.

But unlike any other animal on the planet in this regard, we humans are 90 percent focused on something that hasn’t happened yet, something that the odds--and, it would have been hoped, our big-ass brains--might have informed us may never happen. We don’t or won’t or can’t realize that the myriad futures we imagine are myths.

The future is something that quite literally does not, never has, and never will exist. It is only in your imagination. It is not a real place you can touch or see or quantify.

And if it is only in our imaginations, then it is false, and it merely serves to confuse.

The future is a lie, a shuck, a scam, a pitch sold by the best liar the world has ever known: the human brain.

We are, all our lives, subject to a series of emotional highs, all of which are pinned on hopes, all of which we know in our heart of hearts can never be reality. These hopes, these imagined moments are inevitably followed by disappointments and disillusionments when they don’t work out. Our dreams are not so much shattered as they are slowly, incrementally pecked away, worn down, made soggy, eroded, shaved off a bit at a time. They are made drab and lifeless on the heels of the initial Technicolor vibrancy they initially possessed when they first played out in our minds.

Our imaginations are too great; no one person and no experience can ever live up to the shows we put on in our heads. Everyone and every situation and every place must someday, at some point, disappoint.

This is the curse of humanity: we are all born dreamers who are doomed to have those dreams on which we rely rendered, eventually, gray and sad and banal and soft and moldy and rotten like old fruit.

We are creatures destined to be emptied, destined to be squeezed dry and drained of hope.

However, even without hope, we carry on. Disillusioned, we go forth, we plug away despite our despair--until the next lie strikes our fancy and we become dreamers again.

We are not the smartest animals on the planet.

We are, rather, the animals that should be most pitied.

Because we are not animals that are ever truly alive, not like the rest of them. In a way, unlike every other animal, we never really exist. We are never here, not really. We are ghosts living out our entire lives in dreams of tomorrows that will never come.

We live constantly in a future that can never be.

Thus, we never truly live.


D2 said...

So life is like Lucy taking the football away from Charlie Brown at the last second.


wasabius said...

haha! well...yes, i suppose, d2. now, understand, i also am generally an optimist in life. ask anyone. i got over my suicidal thoughts in high school, simply because i realized there's always somewhere else to go, some other way to be, some new role to adopt.
somewhere else where it might not be as bad--at least temporarily. so...this piece--honestly--is just one small window on my thinking, such as it is sometimes. only sometimes.
really, i wake up almost every morning thinking about what's upcoming, and looking forward to a lot of stuff, and grateful for a lot of things and people i have in my life. we all have our ups and downs, right? ;)
thanks for reading!