When I was a young person, a teenager, and especially when I left grade school and finally had agency over my own education … I started to wake up to how fucked up the world is, always has been, creates and sustains violence. I understand that I played a role, consenting to it, as a citizen, as a tax payer, as a consumer and as a worker. I entered my twenties thinking that I didn’t want to live with that contradiction, that I would work actively against it. That in whatever work I did I would speak out against injustice. That I wanted to live in a way that completely matched my values, wanted to be more in line with all my ideals. As I grew older I realized it seemed impossible, to live without contradictions, to live with complete “purity”, that the structures of violence are deep and complicated and that I might not live at all if I tried to live without contradictions. I forgave myself, I let that idea fall away, or at least, loosen. I even went so far as to embrace and celebrate contradiction when I could; it was an act of survival. I tried to let myself breathe with it. At times the ugliness with which I live, the ugliness that invades my life, all our lives, no matter how much I try to live to my values, it invades my nihilistic thoughts and I think—how can this be possible, how can I do this, how I can I do this with a straight face. This is not a guilty feeling, this is pure common sense.
As the digital pace speeds up, the contradictions we all live with are increasingly laid bare. Communication and journalism uncovering every inch of the structures of violence that we all consent to on the daily—and ignore—because there is nothing else to do but focus on the small things we can do to change. But these cognitive dissonances invade everything, the constant flow of a reminder of how little I can do on my own and how much of what do is, must be, somehow, accepting things as they are. I cannot honestly reconcile how a work deadline—any work deadline—any deadline for that matter—can be met, when people close to me are suffering from intense mental illness, loss, death. How can I make the case that any deadline for the production of “work” makes sense in this context? How I am meant to spend a few minutes acknowledging the depth of the emotional problems I face, others close to me face, while meanwhile carrying on with the production of a show, of a piece of work, of a post. I can make a case at any time for any deadline to STOP. I can make the case, easily, at any time, why the show must stop, why the work must stop. There is always a reason for it to stop, actually, any hard look at reality shows us this. But where does this leave me and all of us as individuals?