No, this is not an ironic title for a post about M&Ms and cats. It’s about those realisations that strike you as you grow up. (Or, in my case, grow old, as I don’t really feel like a grownup. I feel like a kid in the body of a 39 year old, which is fine so far. It’ll be much scarier when I reach 80, that’s for sure.) They ARE cliches, but these cliches can still hit like a bag of rocks when they finally sink in. (And then next day forgotten, so that you can function as a well-adjusted human being.)
Anyhow, sad realisation #1: everyone is the hero in their own stories. You are the main character, the hero/heroine, and all the narrative is centered on you. Obviously, everyone knows that they are not the center of the world (well, some politicians might have issues with this idea), but it does not mean you don’t feel that everything should work out fine at the end because it involves you. You will dodge the bullets, survive the explosion, get cured or not get hit by the falling piano. There will be causalities, but they are only extras; the main characters survive. You will also get rich, successful or whatever else you want to be, because it’s your story. Others might fail, but their failure is necessary for the narrative.
But the world has no story of its own. The world has no central characters. Even though I firmly believe I would be the sole survivor of a shipwreck in Antarctica, or somehow I’d be able to defend myself and my loved ones during a war or an active shooter situation, this is exactly what everyone else feels. And those dead bodies littering the whole of human history had to come from somewhere. The world does not give a hoots on who you are; disease, accident, malicious actions can and will take you out.
This obviously false (and dangerous) belief must be a self-defense mechanism of the mind. It’s there trying to shelter the ego from the fact that I am nothing in the grand (and not-so-grand) scheme of things. That what happens to me is of no consequence. It’s a cliche, and an often used one, but how many of us actually believe it deep down? How many of us just thinks “yeah, it just might be be true for you, pal, but I am the main character in this story…” More importantly: what happens if you do finally believe it on every level of your being?
Would you still be a polite, considerate, well-adjusted, normal human being? Would you simply take yourself out of the game? Or would you become a nihilistic bad guy who takes whatever he wants whenever he wants it because he is fully aware that on the long run nothing he ever does matters? Would you just start chasing pleasure and instant gratification no matter where you find them? How would our civilization change if everyone accepted this fact on every possible level of their consciousness?
I understand the reassurance religions* can give you: someone looks out for you, someone loves you; you matter to some higher power. It all has a purpose, and it all makes sense on a higher level. All that suffering is not in vain… But once you realize, really, really realize it is not the case… what then? How do you go about your life, working in an office, eating, paying bills, planning your next holiday with this knowledge? Why even would you bring a child to this world? Perhaps it’s a good thing we can lie to ourselves so well.
Anyhow; have a nice day at the office.
*Disclaimer: I do not argue against atheism. Heck, I am one of those heathens. Even we can have misapprehensions as you see.