Poetry of Philosophy
No one chooses to be born.
As you grow up you will realise everyone is sad and maladjusted.
It will take you years to identify and unlearn prejudices you soaked up from your parents and peers.
The older you get the more you will see most adults barely mature past adolescence.
Nothing is free and the costs will keep rising.
You will be made to participate in systems that are arbitrary and unfair.
Benevolence will be exploited and destroyed by greed.
Stupidity and passivity are rewarded, critical thinking is discouraged.
You will witness human cruelty beyond your comprehension.
People will oppose progress if it inconveniences them.
It’s much easier to consume and copy than create, and people will always choose what’s easier.
The meaning of life is to keep buying merchandise.
If you work hard enough, you may replace your depression with exhaustion.
You will fail at almost everything you’ll try to do.
Every human interaction can and will be monetised.
You will experience brutal injustice, but you won’t be able to do anything about it.
People don’t care about the truth.
No one wants you to be yourself, they want you to be like them because that’s more comfortable.
You will never feel truly understood.
Any worthwhile relationship will require energy and skill, but no one wants to put in the work.
No one bothers to learn how to be alone, so everyone remains lonely.
You will only ever know slim fragments of reality and you’ll understand even less.
The more you revisit a memory, the more it distorts into fiction.
If you don’t meet society’s expectations of you, you will be considered ‘difficult’, possibly ‘dangerous’.
The people you love most will hurt you the most.
Life will not treat you better if you’re a good person.
Everything you’ll ever care about will end.
No one is special and nothing you do matters.
You will die and be forgotten.
21C human (2)
Did the human body really evolve
over hundreds of thousands of years
for me to sit in a sterile cubicle, inputting data
mined from millions into a computer
that tracks my keystrokes and eye movements?
Only to be told if I cannot focus on my screen
for nine hours a day, two-hundred-and-forty-two days a year
and want to run away, I’m the one who’s mentally unwell
and must self-medicate with chemicals
that cost ten times what they cost to make
So I can feel ‘honoured’ to be called a ‘productive’
member of a society propped up by medieval institutions
now run by some self-serving, lesser-of-two-evils
aging patriarch, who doesn’t know the rate of rent?
And while the planet burns, it is my fault, I’m told,
for using energy to light and heat my shared apartment
(although I have no choice)
while being urged to procreate
and watch my debts accumulate
so that the gift of life can be passed on
The False Messiah
Keep your eyes on the horizon,
the False Messiah, he will come.
For generations we’ve been taught
to mark ourselves against each other
on an ever-altering, arbitrary scale
of production and purchasing power.
But when work no longer pays
and we cannot buy our homes
our whole culture of possession
will crumble into the unknown.
We lose our sense of involvement and belonging,
while the top percent, the other camp,
continues to believe, assuring,
what their forebearers
used to murmur down the ranks.
When we feel we cannot make a difference,
when our efforts cannot bring about a change
but the system will go on, continuous,
the air turns ripe for a False Messiah
to ascend and rearrange
our loss of faith in us, to a blinding faith in him.
First, he’ll point out the obvious with haste
– there’s enough food to feed the hungry,
but instead, we let it go to waste.
And how we’re getting taxed to death
(yet our money lines some private pockets)
while the rich launch themselves to space in rockets
as the planet’s dying, our politicians are not trying
to do anything beyond their term in office
passing the old buck along,
pleading innocence in chorus.
Oh, the False Messiah,
he is poised to capture our imagination
help us regain that feeling of participation,
of feeling needed, feeling just, feeling united
with full trust in his tempting visions
of a civil war based on established lines
of demarcation and divisions.
I fear that in our hopeless state,
our tired senses will abate,
we’ll be swept up without inquiry
just to be freed from present misery.
The hunger to belong
will lead the left-behind
to abandon their old selves,
to become themselves aligned
with his promise of a great and glorious future
we want it now, we want it sooner.
The False Messiah will make believers of us all
with guarantees of total, instant change, the fall.
Join, join the revolution, load your guns.
Keep your eyes on the horizon
the False Messiah, here he comes.
If a truth’s inconvenient for an authority
They’ll repeat a lie enough times
Until it becomes a part of reality
So they can justify toeing their lines
If people are taught the lie to be true
The lie becomes a part of their customs
To question it is considered taboo
When it’s a part of their wider culture
The lie gets passed on to the next generation
As a ‘tradition’ – is what they will say
So bend the knee without hesitation
Though truth and tradition aren’t always the same
It takes years to unlearn what we’ve been taught
By our elders, who didn’t know better,
Taught by their elders, who never thought
If what they’re doing is moral or clever
People don’t like to be challenged, in case
It becomes their duty to re-examine
If all they’ve been doing, all these decades
Was supporting a dubious canon
Must we go on without witting agreement,
Overlooking the simplest questions –
Is it the right thing, or simply convenient
To continue on with our traditions?
The shopping cart
A while ago I read about the so-called
‘litmus test for individual self-governance’
A simple question’s asked:
Do you return the shopping cart?
Ever since I’ve been engrossed
watching customers in parking lots
While you have nothing to gain
from returning the shopping cart,
we all agree taking it back
is the right and easy thing to do
(except in forgivable emergencies)
It is also not illegal to forsake
your shopping cart, nor will anyone
punish you for not returning it
Your actions will not be
applauded, or reprimanded
So will you do the right thing
without pressure or reward?
Elsewhere I read society
is on track to collapse
in twenty years
Images, images everywhere
All these images, images everywhere
These clever ads, they manufacture glamour
They promise us the lust of others
If their desired mentality prevails
Do you imagine yourself being adored
If only you’d process some thing
That steals your current self-satisfaction
You may buy back for the price it’s offering?
These images work up our anxiety
Whispering ‘the sum of everything is money’
If you have nothing, are you nothing?
If you buy this, will you be loved?
It’s never been about the objects
It’s others’ coveting you buy
This culture is unnatural
From prompts to want, it multiplies
Late-stage capitalism has
Left us in the contradiction –
Of what we are
And what we’d like to be
We live in daydreams fuelled by noxious envy
Mitigating mindless working hours
With fantasies of acquisition
Our working self envies the dreamt consuming one
Imaginary activity replaces passivity
All these images, images everywhere
These clever ads, replace democracy
With theatrical materialism
Age of Despair
I have nothing to trust in. I feel truly hopeless.
I have no faith in our politicians,
I don’t believe what most of them say
They either do not understand all our problems,
or are trying their best to ignore them away
What is the point of all our advances
in science, technology, knowledge, resources,
engineered to improve our way of life,
when we don’t use them to uplift the deprived?
Where’s the resistance to this lack of will?
Are we distracted by screens and cheap thrills?
Aware, yet passively, we are sliding to hell
Who has the courage to step up and rebel?
You’re right, there’s no clear path to revolution,
no obvious enemies, weapons, solutions
The war of ideas quietly raging, asserts
we must re-learn how each of us
thinks, eats, and works
We’ve been failed by our dominant culture
that celebrates openly things often vulgar
– distraction, imitation, greed, waste, excess,
not intelligence, truth, or personal depth
We are born free, then must pay to exist
And the hands that have trapped us,
we’re scrambling to kiss
We’re too content decorating our cages
with trophies we make, then worship as sacred
We are not free, until there’s freedom for all,
a laborious task that we choose to ignore
We tuck our depression away to the side
during small talk while decaying inside
We must become authors of our own lives
before the ground around us floods, burns, and dies
It’s the age of despair, but we can break out
Let me shake you, shake you,
before my time runs out