Cynicism is easy – I realize that now – because I used to look at the world in disdain with its McDonalds, mall, and unhappy marriages and just see shit piled on top of shit. I saw a gray world spattered with a dawn like blood, a beautiful sky that we didn’t deserve. Is this what we crawled out of the primordial ooze for? For millennia we were molecules that mingled without thought, only motion, building ourselves slowly into creatures that could stuff themselves on lasagna, get addicted to drugs, beat our children. Welcome to life! This is it. We have our rote schedules in rote lives, taking small joys in piss-level amounts as if we should be content with the haze of.
I felt enlightened for taking this attitude – I scoffed at other people’s simple joys, their morning rituals of coffee, their flowers, their hobbies. It was all useless, I thought. Humanity was awful. We’d created nothing out of our opportunities we’d obtained from intelligence than to create smoldering piles of ash and bone, to construct concentration camps and buses full of heroin addicts and mental patients.
I was wrong, though.
There were beautiful things, but I had been looking at them from an angle of disaster.
The thing about cynicism is that its microscopic – it requires a myopic viewpoint. It forces you to look at the trash left on the trails of the Grand Canyon, to see the papercut and not the book in front of me, to see death without life. Cynicism isn’t just easy, it isn’t just built to protect ourselves, it’s downright incorrect.
I saw the dirty floor of the theater spilled with popcorn and sticky candy without realizing that I had come there to watch a movie, that I was in the presence of the intersection of all consciousness so far in the known universe, and it had turned its attention toward creating beautiful things for us to enjoy.
I ignored that we’d sparked fire and contained it, built families that traveled together across the Bering Strait, befriended and tamed dogs, built the printing press, created hospitals, created charities, built a way to harness energy, to create trains, planes, cars, to create federal highways, computers, the Internet, AI, vaccines, grocery stores, media entertainment, pizza delivery.
And now we’ve arrived here, at a McDonald’s driveway.
It’s not just a symbol of greed, obesity, consumerism. It means way more than that. We have reached a point in evolution where we can now get in our cars and drive to a location where food is produced and delivered to us, without us having to fight for it, to starve for it, to push aside all of our dreams and personal ambitions to get. Today I drove through a McDonalds and ordered an iced coffee and McNuggets, that I fed to my dogs. It took me less than ten minutes. Hundreds of years ago, such a feat would’ve been impossible. McDonald’s, and things like it, exists so that we can be given more choice.
The choice to live life with small sips of joy, or with giddiness. To focus on the shit, or the sunshine.
That’s what we’ve been working toward, from the very beginning, without us even knowing it. From the moment we struck fire we were trying to free our bodies so our minds could pursue these other joys. From the moment molecule stacked on top of molecule to climb out of the water, we were working toward building lives that were more than struggles of mindless survival, that were more than scraps of claws, teeth, blood, swift death, cruel birth.Related posts
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