It’s a sad sight—watching humanity sail over the horizon. So long. The setting sun has consumed it. Being a man in his late 20s, I feel like I barely got to know it. I was born holding a Game Boy. I am not saying the human race is dying yet, but that humanity has clearly left us.
How can one say humanity still exists if they are a conscious being in this time? We are led by a sociopath and his cronies, we don’t talk anymore and our empathy has died. Surely the only society that would allow a megalomaniac to rise to power is one that has lost nearly all of its compassion. The only society that would become this disconnected has sacrificed its conscience. I can’t even say I blame anyone, considering how unpleasant humans can be.
Donald Trump’s rise is merely a symptom of the greater problem. It shows that at some point during the evolution of an empire, a superpower, the nation can become so complex and disjointed that it breaks apart. Yes, the man is a sexual predator, but I have to vote to benefit my kind. Sure, he’s going to ruin their futures, but stay off my freshly cut grass. We are witnessing the peak of individualism, and we’ll be jumping into the abyss collectively.
It doesn’t have to be this way. A multicultural society can become complex and have its conflicts without its members becoming callous. Part of the callousness came from our economic system; the desire to rise to the top regardless of who you step on along the way. In some ways, the American Dream was always a call for killing your way to the top, if that’s what it took. As long as you got your white picket fence and your cookie cutter home, nothing else mattered. Extreme inequality simply made it so fewer and fewer achieved this dream, and it made us more vicious.
It seems many Americans my age believe we’ll never obtain the elusive American Dream, because inequality has made it so unattainable, but that doesn’t mean we don’t strive for it. Sure, we pretend we don’t care in our 20s, but a spouse and a child can change your perspective pretty quickly.
Another contributor to how things became this way was the development of technologies that have isolated us and distorted our realities. We are convinced we are connected through these false depictions of our daily lives, but instead, we feel less linked with every passing day. We swipe past lives as if they are trading cards. Look at how people are treated and how they act on comment boards and tell me that we’ve maintained our civility.
We don’t have to constantly be striking up conversations with strangers on trains to remain intertwined. However, it’s unlikely those conversations will ever occur if you have earbuds in and three apps running at all times. We don’t look up anymore. I can’t even say that in a judgmental way, because I personally avoid human interaction at all costs. I’m a man with chronic anxiety who loves the self-checkout line. I do try to be aware of it though, and hopefully others do as well.
I used to be a Buddhist, and I thought people were naturally good. Now, I’m an atheist, and I’ve realized people are mostly blank slates. The problem with a blank slate is it’s largely influenced by the setting it finds itself in, and we don’t seem to be creating a setting that advocates giving a shit about your neighbor. You handle you, and I’ll handle me, we say. Selfishness is encouraged and rewarded.
A vulgar, petulant deer tick like Donald Trump does not find success in a culture that is humane and united. We are not the United States of America, we are the Divided States of Arrogance. A silly statement but a true one. A whiny, abusive canker sore like Donald Trump finds success in a civilization that rewards burning down the house for insurance money and suing the city for putting the electrical lines close to the roof. A delusional, toxic bagpipe like Donald Trump finds success in a country that promotes those who will slash your tires so you’re late to the meeting so they get the corner office.
And what does it take to be a man like this so-called president? How does the brain transform to the point where benefitting a few privileged citizens around you is worth sending thousands to the grave? How does the mind bend to justify demonizing the vulnerable to gain the support of the poorly educated masses? What does it take to get to the point where you’re so engulfed by hatred and greed that you don’t even see humanity any longer?
I hope to never have the answers to these questions. I hope to never be that deranged and cruel. However, I fear the longer we walk away from humanity, the sooner we’ll all be maniacs behind tall fences. The more we become disconnected, the quicker our only human connections will be blows to the face. We will all become the ghouls we once cringed at.
Goodbye, humanity, I hardly knew ye.