I’m starting to think this latest wave of despair is more than just frustration with politics… it usually is with me.
Sure, I’m genuinely afraid that my country might violently implode in a concentrated blaze of misdirected patriotic fervor, and that lefty trannies like me might be the first ones they come for. I have the distinct misfortune of being what you might call a canary in a coal mine. After all, it isn’t like politically-motivated mob violence that is tolerated by an indifferent power structure would be anything new in the history of the world, and considering some of the vitriol leveled at people like me in recent years, I’m not optimistic.
But for now at least, they’re not coming for us. I have to be honest with myself, this isn’t about some amorphous future threat so much as it is about my profound lack of anything solid and dependable to believe in.
I can’t say I believe in my own abilities, or in the power of love or friendship. I’ve seen those things fail so many times that they seem as unreliable as almost every car I’ve ever owned in this life or the last one. True, my partner and I have been together almost 9 years, but in that time we’ve very nearly pissed each other off a number of times. I have kept our relationship alive precisely because I realized what a delicate thing a relationship between two scared people just trying to survive together really is.
I’m profoundly insecure about my writing too. I hear that wasn’t so much the case in my previous life but I don’t have the skill- or at least the reputation- that he had.
And what about religion? What about it indeed… I’m stuck in a perpetual agnosticism fueled by equally-strong misgivings about belief and unbelief. At times the easy path of determined atheism seems like a cozy place to vest my trust in, but I distrust it precisely because it is so easy to tune out every possible argument for the existence of God and focus only on debunking the most common ones while trying to look clever. I even did that for a short time; after a while I got tired of my own smugness and had to agree that I really don’t know.
But really, does the universe have a purpose for me that I’ll live long enough to fulfill? Maybe. Damned if I know what that is.
Is there a God that loves and cares for us and wants the best for our souls? Maybe. Admittedly the gulf of doubt has widened for me in this life and I wish I had something solid to believe in, but nothing yet.
I am left only with the notion that I may have spoken to God in a previous life and somehow have no memory, along with vague memories of a medieval a priori mindset that took the proposition “God exists” as a more natural fact than I ever felt in this lifetime, even as a child; the faith of modernity is always tinged with doubt. Where that certainty used to lie is a gap that I have been trying to fill for most of my life.
But when I go to the polls? I know exactly what I’m voting for. I can have a solid stance on LGBT rights or cannabis legalization, because these are things you can see a ready and tangible effect from. They’re things you can win a debate about with confidence and that you can make someone look ignorant about in a hurry. It’s a reassuring game because it’s a game I have won in the past and I know I have a chance at in the future. I can’t have that certainty with religion.
So I guess what I’m getting at is that my political beliefs are the only thing I have that is solid any more. I’m anti-war, pro-labor, pro-LGBT rights, pro-democracy, anti-plutocracy, pro-weed, pro-environment, and anti-censorship. I do not support a government-sanctioned ban on abortions but I would never recommend one to someone who had the option of adopting; other than that my political ethos is a sort of negative utilitarian one (i.e. the action that does the least harm). This hasn’t changed much across at least two lifetimes.
But it seems that when it comes to what I believe about myself and about God, I have no foundations and I am woefully unprepared to face another incarnation, if that is truly what waits for me. If reincarnation is fact, I don’t believe you can die with the correct state of mind and be as unsure of your beliefs as I am.