Traveling by air this holiday season brought me down. People looked depressed.
Young people, who are prone to exhibit an energetic hopefulness – due to vitality, due to faith in dreams – their faces matched those of the elderly. The people in transit appeared to be living a comatose, trampling over my feet, connected to one thing for life support – their iPhones.
Trust me. I love my iphone, the Internet, and the conveniences of our technological world.
I just think maintaining connection with others is imperative to feeling that life is good.
Because when we are in the struggle together, all of a sudden the dead weight of humanity is lifted. On the most casual level, this is the easiest way to cultivate a sense of solidarity across ages, ethnicities, class levels, and all other external social divides.
At a restaurant in Philadelphia, I observed people sitting together with their faces buried in their phones at dinner. To my pleasure, my grandson, who is in college, and his friend did not touch their devices. They even commented on the irrationality of going out of your way to be with people and then failing to talk with them. This way of being is now a part of our culture.
It made me depressed to witness. Honestly. Which got me thinking about exhaustion and fatigue. They are a result of disowning your instincts.
Anger, irritation, the inability unable to express ourselves all lead to depression – that feeling of helplessness, a shutting down process.
The loss of energy and enthusiasm leads to a slow disintegration of our capacity to act in a way that will align us to our highest potential; to be joyful, conscious, intentional, to become the type of person we’d like to attract into our periphery.
People respond to and cope with depression in different ways, all of which are understandable. These coping mechanisms, however, have become a predominant component of human behavior in our culture. The US has been ranked the most depressed country in the world. We are all just trying to find our way through the stop and go maze.
Some of us become uncontrollable and irrational. The feeling of victimization, of being trampled over, uncared for, turns into a rage that erupts in vicious ways. We can harbor repressed feelings about the forces in our environment that do genuinely affect our mood – the people, things, attitudes, and endless demands that are byproduct of someone else or interests of powers of authority, whether or not they are toxic to our souls and our body.
Or we hide. We don’t want to stir things up. There is enough confrontation in the world. Let’s just pretend it’s all good. I’m good. You’re good. Vulnerable, we are not. This society is fair and it is just.
In 2015, instead of the usual resolutions of dropping weight or making money, let’s goal set for success in the realm of intimacy. To open up to friends old and new. To explore what you have in common with a stranger – what you care and are passionate about. Have an eye-to-eye conversation. Get together and get creative to find solutions for subjects that we shy away from.
As Cornell West says, “Justice is what love looks like in public.”
The transformation we seek is to live simply, unadorned, direct, and uncomplicated. In a convoluted society, can you seek and find what’s true and what’s pure? Can you live it? Can you project it outward to be a beacon of peace, a lighthouse for the world?