The talk and appearance of serious people isn’t really a reflection of reality. You can see it in dead eyes and scripted words, practiced many times before a mirror, that elites are polished but that emoting the way sincere people emote is a lost art, something cast aside as garbage by those perceived to be responsible adults.
We watch helplessly as our favorite restaurants and stores are replaced, mass produced and packaged for us so that every place we visit looks like a shopping mall. It’s seeing the death of places for people to feel at home and congregate that we ask if there’s freedom for people to express themselves and have a personality. We ask if there are any places available to us in the the world that will not be carved up into uniform masses dotted with corporate logos.
I asked a friend to take to a walk with me and their pragmatism was saddening: They insisted on a destination; they wanted to know if we could run errands along the way; they were so conditioned to be productive that they didn’t know how to turn off the switch that made them produce.
Churches, mosques, and temples are going empty. When we visit the desert, we no longer hear divinity calling to us the way it called to our ancestors. We’ve replaced magical fires with fluorescent lighting. All of this is happening in the name of of profit and civilization, the same civilization that exploits and enslaves, the same civilization that hoards billions of dollars but spends pennies on giving the world clean water and food.
It’s easy to make the mistaken assumption that advancing technology is indicative of an advance in compassion. Now, with a few key presses I can communicate with people in India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Russia, and Croatia, but with the same ease misinformation can be spread more efficiently than it was spread during the first half of the 20th century. We sense it and grow increasingly cynical, not knowing if any particular media outlet is trustworthy. Having cast aside the news on a macro-level, we rely on tangibles on a micro-level, our families and friends, our local stores and infrastructure. But even our homes are being sanitized and diluted. We must fight back.
I ask you to do a single expressive thing, to paint, to write, to simply talk to another person without regurgitating information you’ve already seen and heard. Similar to CAPTCHA, this it your opportunity to say, “I am not a robot.”