The pain of having a dream
Jim Jeffries is an Australian born comic, and is almost a walking caricature of an already stereotypical idea of an Australian man. He’s an alcoholic, he’s loud and pronounces barbecue in a funny way. He is also probably one of the most hilarious people on the planet precisely because he doesn’t try to be hilarious. He just is. Like all people who are effortlessly funny, there is a paradoxical intelligence that he displays between bits on how he took his disabled friend to have sex with a hooker, or how stupid pandas are because zoo keepers have to beg them to mate yet it’s in their interest as a species. They should just let them die he says. In the midst of all that, he drops nuggets, little jewels that shine more because of the context in which they are dropped. One in particular stays with me:
The clip above is on depression. And as someone who has experienced this, it really resonated with me. The point that we are collectively experiencing and increase in depression and sadness as the world collectively is better than it was 100 years ago. The average middle class worker enjoys a lifestyle in the Western world that his grandfather would have had to be a royal to sniff.
If you’re reading this right now in Uganda, you are int he top 10 % of people doing well in this country. Right now over 30 million people in your country alone envy your life. (This is meant to give perspective, both on how good you have it and how crap a large portion of people’s lives are)Their dream would be to have your life. To be able to sit and read a shitty blog by a semi-decent writer about time cops and depression and other white collar issues. You’re actually living the dream. Even if it’s not yours.
As the song in Joseph and the technicolor dream coat, Andrew Loyd Webber’s masterpiece, goes, Any dream will do http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpuc2-RUf4s. The idea being that our purpose on earth is special and that we were all born to shine and be special. Pop psychology would suggest that since the end of world war 2-greatness or honor has been defined by someone having the liberty to be who he wants to be. Words like duty became almost anathemas to the generations that were brought up by heroes that longed for their children not to have to fight other men’s wars but instead fulfill the dreams and desires that their parents could not.To hell with duty, I’m going to do what i want to do is the mantra.
The idea then is that the generations that followed were blessed with excess, with lack of material want having born on a higher level on the famous hierarchy of Marslow. They were free to become artists and painters and pursue their dreams in the face of convention. Convention, duty, service became synonymous with being square, with in the box thinking, with being dry and uninteresting, predictability was loathed. In a matter of a few years, it seemed as though the generations that grew up with lack, say for instance those in Uganda that grew up under the regimes of Idi Amin and Milton Obote, predictability was a luxury they could not afford. Every day had a huge element of danger. The constant threat of things being undone. Of a family member disappearing, of not being able to find salt and bread in town.
Now fast forward to today and social media exposes the need we all have to be significant. Socrates said that fame is the perfume for heroic deeds. Implying that to be bestowed honor and fame, one had to do something extraordinary(Note:philosophers were the celebrities of their day. ). now fame is the object of attention. The need to be validated, to be heard , because your point of view is important and now you can gauge that importance with the number of retweets and likes you get for your latest 140 character limited tot of wisdom.
The rise of telecommunications is a great thing because it allows us to simultaneously be anonymous and deeply open and revealing of ourselves. We can construct our lives and present ourselves the way we want to be seen. The mask does indeed reveal the man. We want to be seen as together and relevant and good. Which is not bad. The question is are all points of view valid?Are we all special?If so, then does that not mean that none of us really is?Will any dream really do?
Jim Jeffries says that having a dream will make you depressed. Because you’re told from a young age that you can be anything you want to be, a notion parroted and reinforced by popular culture, and yet often only fully realized by a small section of modern society. The dissonance of reality not lining up with what you’ve been promised, with your dream just ending up as that a dream, is a bitter, large pill to swallow often downed with a dose of alcohol or drugs.
While that may sound dark, it is a part of life, the very thing that gives us passion and drive destroys us, and crushes us. But fuck it, you’ll be worm food someday, so just pick yourself up and go for broke..if you fall on your face, well just know that in the grand scheme of things, no one will really remember this in the year 2050.
Posted 5 days ago by Joel Anthony