As an atheist, humanity is all I have and when humanity disappoints me, I despair. I try not to allow humanity to disappoint me because I understand that we are a sum of rational and irrational thoughts, feelings, actions and intricate dichotomies that even the most self-aware human being is unable to process and explain at times.
I see the best and the worst of humanity in my line of work. I meet all kinds of people and hear all sorts of stories and histories and witness entire lives play out in front of me. I’ve born witness to marriage proposals, heartbreak, acts of bravery, acts of deceit, even acts of cruelty (Jane Creba’s Boxing Day murder comes to mind) and continually see ghosts of downtrodden people quietly accepting and going about a way of living that will eventually take their lives.
Ironically, for a mime, I used to talk a lot. I still do, as many journalists mention in surprise during interviews. But, in recent years, I’ve learned to simply watch and look past the words of others; for how one responds to situations they are experiencing is the true test of character. The benefit of my job is the ability to passively watch the world go by and hope that one day I may understand this humanity that I love so much, and as a result, I find myself with fewer words as days go by.
Sometimes I feel as though I have a lot to say; occasionally, I will make posts like this in an effort to sort out my own understanding of what it means to be a human being on this planet. I also rationally know that my observations are my own, and I certainly don’t treat them polemically. But I so desperately want to arrive at the conclusion (at my life’s conclusion) that humanity is good, that people are fundamentally good and that we all deserve compassion, humility, forgiveness and unconditional love. I do my best in my waking life to express those ideas both in my work and in my personal life.
I’m sure we all go through our moments of doubting the things we want so much to understand. But, it is our unwavering positivity in seeking out the good that is what drives us to continue to do what we love. It is our actions that define us, not our words. I try to live my life honestly, and I try to be as honest with myself as I am with others. My philosophy in life is that “Everything is Permitted”, an idea that originated through the work of Dostoevsky, and it has been this philosophy that allows me to continue to do what I do; for living life through action can be challenging. It requires one to extend beyond their boundaries of comfort, it requires us to examine everything around us deeply and critically. It requires us to be prepared to let go of even the most deeply important things to us: be it a belief system (or, as an atheist, I like to say “way of understanding things”), a lifestyle or even a relationship—sometimes the most important ones, like our parents. And of course, it requires trust: trust in ourselves, trust in those around us. Trust that you will be okay, no matter what.
And you know what, folks? You will be okay. No matter what. Because, from my experience, all people want is acceptance. And acceptance can be hard to grant (..or even accept), but it is out there. If you are willing to grant acceptance, then you will be okay. I do what I do and take the abuse that I do from life because I accept it. I accept humanity. I accept everyone in it. I accept that we are all, in our own ways, supremely flawed. And when I find something in life that is good, and right, then I grab it and hold onto it. Hard. A life of action is a fearless life.
There is nothing to be afraid of in life. And when you find that thing that is right and good, then you need to grab it and never let go.