This is a cartoon done by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Adam Zyglis. He’s great, and this picture pretty much sets the vibe for this post.
Hello everyone. This stuff is just weird for me to write but still, here I am.
2020 was a tough year. There’s no easier way to put it. Many of our plans changed, some of us lost loved ones. Some of us went through bad phases of anxiety and depression, loneliness and a more than usual dose of bullshit all year. I like to think that it ain’t nobody’s fault. Some dealt with the situation better than others, and I empathize for those who at least tried. Nobody knew what exactly would work. Some got extremely lucky, while others were just misfortunate. It was unprecedented in our modern times, and that’s just plain unlucky.
2020 presented us with a Disturbance in the Force. But please, allow me to depress you further.
As a nihilist, I kept my sanity (mostly) by telling myself that it really doesn’t matter. This was just going to be another year, shit as it was, that would be written into the cresses of time the same way 1944 or 1945 was. It was significant, yes. It was path changing, yes. It will always be remembered, yes. But on what scale? Not as grandiose as we perceive.
Look at the Universe. The stars aren’t twinkling just for you. It’s just an illusion created by the refraction of light as it enters our atmosphere. Even if you travel the fastest you ever could, it would take you 92 billion years to go from one side of the universe to another diagonally. It’s a number so vast that our puny brains just don’t have the capacity to perceive it. For us, it wouldn’t make it difference had it been a trillion. It’s just beyond our perception.
Science as we know it now tells us that the Universe will end, somehow. Doesn’t matter if it ends in the Big Rip or Heat Death, every mistake you did, every humiliation you suffered, every harm you caused really won’t matter anymore. It’s so far away, yes. It’s a simple fact that we’re not here to do anything significant.
It’s actually quite a cruel joke. Humans became self-aware to realize that we’re basically… nothing.
I mean, just think about it. The only laws that actually apply in this world are the laws of physics (not even them, sometimes). The Universe by itself has no moral code, no norms, nothing. The only norms really relevant are the ones we humans decide on. Yea, our governments and societies take care of that for us, but how much happiness has that given us?
When we wake up, do we feel really feel alive? Do we really cherish the moments we spend with our loved ones? Rather, do we even have someone to love? The society we live in has transitioned into a rat race, and the worst part is that it’s not even worth winning the race because it holds no meaning anyway.
Nobody stops to look at the butterflies. This is sad on a cosmic scale, literally.
Sorry if I instilled existential dread in your being, but trust me, it gets better.
I counter this nihilism with optimism. If the universe has no rules, the only rules that matter are the ones that we dictate. It’s such a feeling that presents us with a great sense of liberation. If the universe is in anarchy, then it’s also a playground. Here, we’re free. We can experiment, make mistakes, make friends with other kids, and simply not care. All our actions are protected by the same existential dread that fuelled me to write this article.
Close your eyes for 10 seconds and look around the folds of your inner self. Look at your friends, your family, your World, yourself. Look at the diversity around you. Look at the opportunities around you. Yea, the world is shit. But what makes it beautiful is that we’re it together. Don’t you see a rag-band tribe of believers like yourself who want to do stuff? Don’t you see the dissatisfaction and disappointment inside everyone? Don’t you see that there is a lot of potential in even the most random human? A sort of strength brimming, only to be awakened by discipline and good spirit?
This strength, this diversity around us is what we can use as a weapon against everything we want to see less of in this world. This diversity is the hydrogen fuel to our propulsion system, it’s the kyber crystal to our lightsaber, the dark energy to our universe and the acetyl-CoA to our mitochondria.
Under this philosophy, it’s absolutely fine if we also just don’t do anything. But don’t you think it’ll be just crazy cool if we help build a galactic empire or make life better for people those misfortunate?
You’re allowed to do whatever you want, so might as well go bonkers with it!
So, this is my call. A call to all those who felt like shit in 2020. Create your tribe and marinate in this diversity together. Let’s create the next Disturbance in the Force, but this time to make life for everyone in 2021.
All is not lost. Plenty of countries to visit, books to read, alcohol to drink and videogames to play. If we’re all in shit, might as well do a 180 together.
I say things as it is. Or at least as I feel it is.