We are the loneliest, most disconnected generation. Our values have been hijacked, and we gorge on them like junk food. We live alone in small apartments, a far cry away from the tight-knit communes with close friends that Epicurus knew was vital for our wellbeing. We believe that we are unique in our individual troubles, failing to realise that spending evenings analysing our anxieties with those dearest to us may be a remedy that we desperately need.
We are conditioned to put aside our hopes and dreams, in favour of what is more immediately attainable for fear of disappointment. We have traded our beliefs of comfort, which now resembles the poorly-scripted societal standard, rather than what we each secretly crave in order to feel happy. We have given up close connections to nature for claustrophobic urban cities, in search of security and career prospects. We have turned down peaceful havens for overcrowded, crime-infested rat cages.
We have been sold corrupt, fanciful tales of how materialistic grandeur will cure us of our internal ailments, but a fresh coat of paint has yet to be successful in correcting an unstable foundation. We have handed ourselves over to market capitalism and deem it essential for the enjoyment of life, forgetting that our deepest wants and sources of meaning long pre-dated economic systems. We chase approval from others through various means, when there is nothing to prove. Ask yourself this: what are you buying more things for?
We speak highly and arrogantly of the importance of compassion and kindness, yet we shame and stigmatise those with depression, and are continuing to fail in supporting them through their rehabilitation. We are fearful and disapproving of drugs, yet we never empathise with the despair that some lives encounter where anaesthetic becomes an escape from rock bottom. We view those suffering addiction through a hateful lens, and serve out incarcerations as further punishment for systematic failures that are not their doing. We create small pockets of hell for each other, and then turn a blind eye to the burns that leave traumatic scars.
We have drifted and retreated, and swept our issues under the carpet. Today, is the first day of many to remind ourselves to be open about the state of our minds.