Don’t Be Assholes!

No Roads Left | Linkin Park

Release Date May 14, 2007

Standing alone with no direction
How did I fall so far behind?
Why am I searching for perfection
Knowing it’s something I won’t find?

In my fear and flaws
I let myself down, again
All because

I run ’til the silence splits me open
I run ’til it puts me underground
‘Til I have no breath
And no roads left but one

When did I lose my sense of purpose?
Can I regain what’s lost inside?
Why do I feel like I deserve this?
Why does my pain look like my pride?

In my fear and flaws
I let myself down, again
All because I let myself down
In my fear and flaws

I run ’til the silence splits me open
I run ’til it puts me underground
‘Til I have no breath
And no roads left but one
No roads left but one

In my fear and flaws
I let myself down, again
All because

I run and the silence splits me open
I run and it puts me underground
But there’s no regret
And no roads left to run

Don’t Be Assholes!

I recently discovered how applicable this ditty was in my own life due to a recent relationship alteration outside of my control. I caught myself singing the words while tears streamed down my cheeks. I rarely cry, as I have little time for emotions and the baggage that they attract. The necessary disclaimer here is that I am in no way devaluing or denigrating those that allow their emotions to be exhibited as openly. I am unable to do it except moments of ‘short fuses.’

As mentioned earlier, I had a relationship change that affected me due to how much mystery surrounded the rational (or more aptly, the lack thereof) that left me terribly confused. As I was driving after speaking with my therapist for an emergency session, I played this song ad nauseum and let the lyrics deluge my ears, my heart, and my mind.

I’ve dealt with a fair deal of anxiety, depression, and deeply ingrained suicidal ideation. Since I was a kid, I knew the cosmos fucked with me and I wanted out. My first attempts, albeit, futile, were when I was about 6 years old. I kept my mother and her boyfriend at bay with a filet knife pointed directly at my chest. Immanuel Kant has a theory on punishment that the weight of the punishment cannot outweigh the criminal action. Case in point: one should not apply capital punishment upon someone who stole a loaf of bread, in the most simplistic forms. Why this gem is even proffered, is because that’s exactly the opposite of how I was punished. I received overtly heavy punishments for trivial childhood antics.

It would be a huge misnomer to suggest I was an angel growing up! I was an outright little proverbial shit. There is no justification for my antics, and just ‘being a kid’ never fully suffices. I was heavily punished repeatedly where childhood, itself, was its own burden. I relish so few times from my childhood, hence me citing that holding a filet knife to my chest seemed a proper response for a 6 year old.

Fast forward to modern days as an adult; I still have not overcome these symptoms. I find comfort in engineering my demise – or comfort in fantasizing about it. I am more at-risk as I am the spawn of a biological father who executed his own suicide. The numbers are in favor of me falling prey to that direction, in studies I can find online, as well as my therapist citing the same concern. Long story short, it is more than a battle to want to continue to fight another day. Life fucking sucks. Trust me, it isn’t my mindset that convinces me of this – it’s life itself. All of you positive Pollyanna’s can merrily go fuck yourselves to think that we (the collective that identifies with this response to life in general) just need a quick snap of the fingers to jolt us into reality. Whether it is a chemical imbalance or just the sheer amount of problems that have plagued one’s own self, the weight of the world cannot fit squarely on any one persons shoulders.

Comparing apples to oranges is futile and simply invites resentment. A western world person who lives in a culture lush with opportunity who experiences the dour cosmos shitting squarely on their plate isn’t the same thing as a person who comes from an underdeveloped country who never had the same opportunities available to them. Apples and oranges have no place in determining who has it worse. Do not ever be the dolly dipshit who says – oh, you don’t have it so bad, think of all those people in ‘fill-in-the-blank’ country. First of all, that is dismissive. Second, it attempts to relegate each person’s problems all into one collective bucket. Those of us who suffer, do not try desperately to diminish the pain we feel attempting to sidestep our pain with such a simple suggestion. It is unfair to make the comparison.

These lyrics spoke to me because of how much of a failure I felt I contributed to the demise of a relationship with another human. “When did I lose my sense of purpose/ Can I regain what’s lost/ Why do I feel I deserve this?/ Why does my pain look like my pride.” Conversing with the other person about when the resentments began was an unfortunate act of investigative journalism. Specific questions had to be further refined to glean any useful information. Reiterating that I tried to do the right thing was met by, “yes, you did, it’s just me.” So case closed, it wasn’t me! Well, what the shits am I supposed to do with that? How does one process that load of bullshit? If I tried to do what was right – why would you say: relationship over? In that instant, I lost my sense of purpose! With me losing my core belief, that I was doing the right thing, just to be met with disaster, I have to question, can I regain what’s lost? Is that even remotely possible? As one who deals with suicidal ideation, I am often prompted to believe I deserve all the harsh things the cosmos bestows upon me. Sometimes I am even oppressed with the ideal, ‘well, better me than someone with less fortitude.’

At this point, I feel like I am standing alone with no direction. Then I wonder, how did I fall so far behind? I am perpetually searching for perfection. With that, I live by a high set of standards I impose upon myself, first and foremost. Then it starts scraping those strongly associated with me, of which I diligently do the right thing, with integrity. If I see others fail to do the right thing, it reminds me that it’s something I won’t find. I feel this way when I fail to see the same amount of energy applied by those around me. Most of our lives, we are taught to DO the right thing in all things. Many have missed that lecture in life or are so woefully ignorant.

The lyric, “I run ‘til it puts me underground,” resonates with me so unabashedly and poignantly! You may want to revisit the paragraph where I am staging my own death. I continue to act how my morals direct me. It shouldn’t be a sin to do the right thing. I suspect you are asking yourself, whilst reading this drivel, “Who made you a God to tell us what constitutes as morally right?” Well, that would be a very convoluted answer. I adhere to the utilitarianism theory of morality. It suggests the outcome that favors the greatest amount of people should be the only litmus test. There are downfalls with this argument as much as there are exciting ideals of how well this can work.

What does, “Doing the right thing no matter what?” look like? How does one make it support the ‘greater good’ argument? Let me proffer a few examples of how this applies in my mind.  Something as simple as an abandoned grocery cart in a retail store’s parking lot spot. Why was that cart left to possibly damage another person’s property, or to even give one hapless shopper a modicum of hope at finding a decent parking spot? We could easily assume the person who left it was just downright fucking indolent. Pretty simple, right? Often, that would be true. On rarer occasion, it may be an elderly and/or handicapped person who leaves it in the spot because they know someone may swoop it up and use it in lieu of a walker. The odds of the latter are far fewer. Simple observation of humanity validates that time and time again. The greater good argument application would be – if a dumbass can push a cart from the store to their vehicle, for the sheer convenience it was, they can certainly extol a bit more energy to place the cart in the spot they found it OR in a cart corral. All of those options would detract from someone just being lazy. Not only does it help restore some faith in mankind, it helps other employees of said store from having to fish a cart from the next zip code of the parking lot.

How can we apply the greater good argument to left lane dwellers? Well, to you fuckwits who believe the left lane determines how the center of the universe revolves around you, please go back to jail, do not collect $200. I admire European drivers who use the left lane only for passing, in order to allow other people to get around. Even if someone is breaking the law by speeding in the left lane, a simple use of one’s turn signal, to alert many people, “I am not an asshole, I am considerate of others around me!” You let the folks in the middle lanes know that you wish to merge over so they can either engage in road-rage or be responsive to your turn signal. It tells the person in front of you who has been enjoying the universe revolving around them at 2 miles per hour over the speed limit know, “You are an asshole, therefore I shall not fall prey to your delusions.” You inform the person behind you, “I recognize you are behind me, I am moving over to lead by example so that I can allow you to progress at your chosen speed.” Doing the right thing here benefits everyone around you. You set a good example. You get a sticker on your fucking calendar.

Now the breakdown of where nihilism starts the schism of the utilitarianism theory of morality. Say you are leading by example every goddamned day and you see people just completely run roughshod over your ideals. You think to yourself, ‘hey, maybe everyone is just having a bad day – lets give them the benefit of the doubt.’ That works for 7 days in a row, if you are unaware of patterns around you. If you are sadly one of those people who pick up on patterns pretty quickly, you immediately see how daunting and insurmountable those around you are acting by failing to take into consideration their actions. Nihilism states quite simply, nothing really matters/exists or to introduce the Nihilists Anthem – It Doesn’t Matter (Yes, The Chemical Brothers have a song with those very lyrics: The Chemical Brothers |(Album) Dig Your Own Hole | (Song) It Doesn’t Matter | (Year) 1997.

Though there is far more associated with the philosophy of nihilism, it simply means one has lost hope that anything they are doing has any real meaning or relevance. The extreme skepticism that this endorses usually suggests one may question their own relevance in life. This is a dangerous place, so many people have suggested. I suggest that ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ how they feel about such things. Doing the right thing in such a way as being self-aware of your place in the big picture is exhausting. Again, no amount of snapping out of it, is even remotely possible for those plagued with this duty in life. Doing the right thing is only being conducted by few people. You can certainly argue that one time at some remote band camp that you did this one nice thing for the betterment of your micro-society. That constitutes neither recognition nor an ovation for your diligence. In fact, the one act you feel you need to use to ‘humble-brag’ yourself into relevance is a pittance and reflective of society as a norm.

Perpetually affording yourself to scrutiny and evolving is qualified as progress. When society fails to progress, it fails the ideal of doing the right thing. Back to my relationship. I promoted all the ideas of doing the right thing. Again, not because I am an angel, I am no where near that stage in this game. I was concentrating on the big picture, the deep future of my actions taken today. I progressed, I evolved from previous failed relationships. You know how I did that? I reflected on what I did to contribute to the demise of the previous relationships. I determined some of the hard to swallow aspects of my personality and made it my mission not to act in that way again. I certainly do struggle, I fail still, and I have no patience for myself, due to my high standards.

I pine for my death often and with such intermittent fleet, that I wonder how sane I am most of the time. I juxtapose the ignorance and bliss of morons. They are simply happy about everything. Nothing brings them down. Oh sure, they have their problems, but they are not tipping the scale like deep thinkers or intellectuals. Other events in their life promote the melting of the wicked witch of the west, that doesn’t affect those doing the right thing at all times. To be hapless and without personal accountability seems to be the misunderstood path of life. Suggesting that those devoid of any responsibility in the damage(s) done to a fellow human, even within their own culture, however complicated that Venn Diagram may be,  doesn’t reduce the pain suffered. Oddly enough, those that call into question bullshit actions with Excel Spreadsheets full of proof are not playing the game. Life is a game. Life is political. Life is bureaucratic. The rules of the game are made up on the fly in those cultural circles and not shared with others. So many people fail miserably at the game of life, because they were not included in the Robert’s Rules of Order induction.

Life is hard. Life is cruel. Life can be beautiful when one takes pause. If that pause is rudely interrupted with the manners of a toothless two-year old tyrant, then the moment of beauty is lost. It becomes a stark reminder of how futile our actions seem to be. Doing the right thing shouldn’t be difficult. Doing the right thing should be universally understood. Greed, ego, piety, among other human attributes steal the wonderment of a shared visceral experience in life. We, honestly, shouldn’t be standing alone with no direction. We shouldn’t have to ask why we keep searching for perfection, knowing full well we wont find it. If we all did the right thing, we would stop letting ourselves down, again. If we all did the right thing, at all times, we wouldn’t feel we deserve this. If we all opted to do the right thing, it wouldn’t put us underground.

Being depressed shouldn’t be a sin by those who misunderstand how it affects the physiology of a human body. Being anxious can’t be outlawed by the simple wave of a hand or snap of a finger. Fighting all of the other mental disturbances/disorders is hard as fuck. Employing empathy is a form of grace. That grace can plant the seed of faith. Faith (in humanity) can further develop curiosity. That curiosity can then fuel the perfect engine to alter our current landscape. In the wise words of Heidi Cruz, “Don’t be assholes!” There simply are not enough diapers or people holding shovels to scoop up after others.

As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the 90’s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or via email, like posts, or even comment on posts. The immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane! 

One response to “Don’t Be Assholes!

  1. Pingback: Happiness is not Assured | Cynical Nihilism = entertainment·

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