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  • Pessimism is what fools and blowhards call "cool." Whether it's on the internet, expressing jaded cynicism over how crappy life has devolved into -- or throughout history, with varying philosophies and endless quotes about how humanity as a whole is doomed to suffer, to repeat mistakes cause of some fatal character flaw, you can easily gain brownie points by iterating some permutation of "Oh, how the fools have fallen! What new horrors have we discovered!"

    I made a post about this a few days ago, but I'd never realised just how badly my mind had been clouded by pessimism and my own negativity.. like a bad smell that I've grown so used to, until this morning, when I'd stumbled upon "Up-Wingers" by F. M. Esfandiary, and read through the first couple of pages. It's a manifesto about the future of humanity and the radical changes that are needed for anyone to survive, but the first couple of pages have struck a deep chord with the idealist residing in me, the child who'd say out loud unashamedly: "I don't want to grow up and become like a grumpy adult, weighed down by responsibilities, by complexities and regrets. I don't want to grow old.. let me live forever, let me be happy with everyone who I love," who I've had to bury underneath for so long as a result of being wounded, several times over by other people over the years.

    Today, it's an unspoken rule that you are expected to mistrust virtually everything and everyone, in this troubled and seemingly desperate age where corrupt governments tell pretty lies for the masses to believe, where modern entertainment feeds young people the social conditioning that's embedded within mass-produced, flavourless music, movies and TV series.. the guy being nice to you for no reason must be because he secretly wants to swindle you, and where you just keep close to your chosen in-group for safety.. and even then, you may not fully trust your friends.

    Make no mistake, this is totally understandable. The dangers and stresses are real, and are not to be dismissed easily. But the danger posed by this vigilant, jaded mentality (which is really an anxious fear about meeting your untimely demise) -- coupled with emotional scars that have undoubtedly accumulated over the years, is that you lose touch with why it feels so good to be alive.

    What is the instrument that lets you know your real feelings, your longings and desires.. your happiness? Your heart. With fear and anxiety, you lose touch with it -- that part of you that fineds joy in the simple pleasures of being. In breathing, in touching..

    The air of constant negativity which passes for "realistic thinking," it inevitably poisons you in such insidious ways. For starters, it's hard to really be connected with others when your heart is closed off with worry. A part of you is held off with reserve, not actually fully present, like an empty promise. Or maybe you wanted to try talking to that girl, get into that new TV series everyone's talking about, but you somehow don't have the energy or time to bring yourself to try..

    On a very essential level, I'll ask you this. How comfortable will you be, just sitting idly for a while without feeling bad or guilty? If you were honest, you'd probably say, "Not really, I gotta check my phone feeds, I have homework to do.. I have to be with the kids, I have to clean up the house.. I have a project to finish, make sure that my bills and expenses are covered for.." All these thoughts with undercurrents of anxiety, that maybe you'll hope that the next day could provide an answer to, or a respite from. Tiring, isn't it? Isn't this what adulthood is supposed to feel like? Don't you wish you could be a kid again?

    Simply put, you can't find serenity in your own awareness, your own consciousness. It's this cloud of negativity that had always lingered at the backdrop of my mind, like a constant toothache that had stopped me from being open with my heart. I've tried out meditation, yoga, various vitamin and energy supplements.. it had never occurred to me up to now, that serenity starts with hope. Not a blind, naive hope that things will somehow turn out for the better, or a weak hope that you'll get from those strangers who'll just as easily turn on you as they'll praise you (all depending on the weather forecast) -- but an unconditional hope in yourself, going beyond any human reasoning and opinion.. stretching past those dark frontiers that seem as vast as the distances between stars and life itself. Smoking weed and getting drunk are poor substitutes.