Monday, January 17, 2011

It's two sides of the same coin and only one person gets to have it.

I haven't written any entries in a while, so I thought I should update. I hadn't been writing anything new in the past month (well, I don't think to anyone's surprise) since I didn't really have much I wanted to say aloud after December 6th, or rather, maybe so much to say that I already gave up on trying the moment I thought of it. So I guess the one thing that I can really say as of late is this: I've come to have an increasing dislike for society.

Not that this dislike for society is new or anything. I think anybody who decides to write or study literature must have some kind of dissatisfaction for human society to varying degrees--why else would one be so keen about ink on paper instead of enjoying life as it is now? I don't remember exactly when I began to realize that the world was not as bright and dazzling as it may have seemed when I was fighting to get out of my mother's womb. But I know it was at a very young age because I was born different from other people, and it was only a very short matter of time for me to realize the obvious: that any kind of worldly society can be a curse. I like individuals very much, there are people I love in this world. But people are so bad at functioning in a community, and what we call "society" these days corrupts and changes so many of these perfectly fine individuals, molding them to fit into a system only a fraction of people can benefit from, and at the cost of others. Society is diseased with luxury, selfishness, ignorance, gossip, falsity, self-justification, competition.

I've loved reading all my life, but in my high school days especially, I had a passion for film production. Being able to document things audio-visually was fantastic, I thought, and just the process of doing so was such an exciting idea. I was able to enroll in two short, one-week programs for high school students at the Art Institute of Vancouver, where I learned and experienced a bit of visual effects editing in film one year, and post-production audio editing another year. I mean, this applies to literature too, but I think it's easier for most people to see that it takes a lot of time, effort and revision to produce one perfected moment that's finally to be documented onto film and distributed for the world to see.

But that last part is the problem, and is what makes me unable to bring myself to pursue this industry. Of course, there are small film companies that produce independent films, but they're all overshadowed by the horrible, self-indulgent, elitist group called Hollywood. So much money, media coverage, marketing, et caetera are devoted to an hour or two of being able to sit in front of a screen. Why are actors getting paid so much? There are many regular people who work regular jobs but are exposed to so much more work, risk, and labour, but get paid only a fraction... or if you want to think about child labour, some don't even really get paid at all. I'm sure actors are very busy people and have a ton of work, and I'm sure they work hard at what they do and (some) are really good at it; I have no doubt that acting is a talent. But there are people in this world that, no matter how hard they work, will never be recognized, and their jobs are so much less glamorous even though they are so much more necessary than, say, roles in the entertainment industry. Why are budgets for movies--entertainment for the upper middle class and above--talking tens of millions of dollars when a regular person on the streets of Bangladesh can barely even think beyond when he'll receive another dollar?

Movies are great, I love films. But if Hollywood could make only five less films per year, everyone in the world would at least have something to eat everyday for that year. That's about nine, ten less hours of entertainment for us, but really, can that even be made into a comparison? It's too bad that we wouldn't be able to see some fun stuff on screen, but I think that's okay if it can save more lives than we can even imagine.

I'm not saying that because there are people in poverty, everyone should live in poverty. I just can't stand the idea that such extremes can even exist. That someone only has to have a few pictures taken and put on a billboard to receive hundreds of thousands, when someone else would go as far as committing murder or selling themselves for a completely different purpose just to put bread on the table the next day. That something can be so obviously, ethically wrong, but accepted and allowed in our world today as if it was just another common fact in life. It's our society's lack of conscience that is so horrifying. "Are we humans or are we animals"... I don't know which is the insult. At least some animals aren't actually capable of a conscience whereas we are and have the means to act on it, but instead, choose to ignore it.

Of course everyone would like to live in luxury, if it's not at the cost of someone else. Of course everyone would like to live a comfortable life, if they could without feeling guilt. But unless everyone in the world is able to live an equally luxurious life or at least a good one in today's standards, I don't think anyone should live in luxury at all. Not when there are people on the other side of the spectrum from you, and not when that could easily be prevented if only fine dining had to be sacrificed. I don't know if I'm going to expand on this since 1) I don't know if I can justify myself completely and 2) this is just my personal idea of how our world could be anything close to utopia, but every time I try to think of the many different lives that many different people live, yet at the same time and on the same planet... it makes me so incredibly sad.

Human beings are so easily influenced by their pride, and their relation to other people's standards of life. If carrying brand name bags is the trend, we get ourselves a Louis Vuitton. If driving a car is the trend, we drive around a Mercedes. If not driving becomes the trend, we get ourselves a chauffeur or take a taxi. If being educated is the trend, we go to Harvard. If being environmentally friendly is the trend, we wear lingerie made of bamboo and soy. If acknowledging poverty is the trend, we go adopt a few African children.

Aren't we pathetic?

I often hear the words (and indeed, sometimes saying it myself) "life is so hard", when we don't even have anything to compare it to. It's not like we've ever experienced anything else other than life, so in comparison to what can life be considered "hard"? If we were comparing ourselves to fellow human beings, then we should feel all the more ashamed. Can you really say that life is hard when some people would give anything just to be able to say those words instead of living in fear and silence? Are we, people living in higher society, mocking the people who at least have the most right out of all of us to say that? We are so conceitedly lazy, and anything that requires even the least bit of effort to do needs to be fixed, according to our society today. We constantly produce new technology, things that make our daily life easier so we can, instead, do nothing, because apparently we'd much rather do nothing than anything at all.

We don't need technology to let us do nothing, we're already not doing much at all. It's the idea of doing even less than nothing that motivates us to do something now so we can do nothing later. This whole world is so ridiculous. And I can't imagine how much more ridiculous it would seem to someone who doesn't identify with humankind like I do.

I am so ashamed to be a human being sometimes.

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