“There are too many of us and we are all too far apart.”Kurt Vonnegut
I’m writing these words knowing that people from all over the world are going to read them. People of all ages, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, of different religious beliefs. Most of them, I’ll never get a chance to meet. Most of them, I don’t know how they look like, what’s the thing they want most in this world, or what is it that they’re afraid of… most of them are perfect strangers to me.
Yet, simply by writing these words, having the certainty that my words will reach them, they become a little bit more than strangers. They become human beings, just like myself, and that is one of life’s greatest achievements.
Because it’s become increasingly difficult to realize that every single person we see walking past us on the street is another human being. We have become immune to everything but ourselves: we see tragedy and pain on the news, read about it in newspapers… it all feels fake somehow. We can no longer empathize with others, just because we’re so many… so, so many.
And we really are so far apart from each other, because we all build invisible walls to keep us safe. It’s all about our needs, our desires, our pain, our tragedies. We want what we want, and we won’t give up until we have it.
There’s a distance between people, between perfect strangers inhabiting different worlds. That distance has to be traveled one step at a time. We no longer have time for that. We want instant gratification. We want an app that can give us everything we need.
We want the perfect relationship, the perfect job, the perfect house.
We want the perfect social media profile, the perfect neighbors, the perfect kids.
We want what we want, and we want it now. We want it delivered to our doorsteps within 24 hours or less.
And, in the process, we no longer care about the perfect strangers inhabiting our life’s story. We no longer care about building genuine relationships with others. Social media, blogs, podcasts, and all that stuff… it makes it easier to feel less lonely. But this kind of interaction doesn’t change the need for real life interaction.
What I’m really trying to say is, we no longer care. We no longer try. We don’t want to build, we just want to buy it already assembled and ready for use.
Yet we still dream about the perfect love, the perfect story, the perfect ending. Yet we still search. The pursuit of happiness still takes up most of our time. There’s an app for everything these days. The answers to our questions are just a few clicks and swipes away.
It’s not about physical distance, it’s about the distance between souls, about the barriers we build, about our unwillingness to let other people in. It’s about our inability to realize that those who walk among us are more similar to us than they are different.
And we carry this hell with us, wherever we go, and we waste our lives wishing for a way out of hell. We avoid life by consuming what looks like life on gadgets assembled in ways we never even think about, by people we never get to meet.
We are close to one another. Closer than we’ve ever been.
Odds are, all you have to do is look outside your window. Odds are, there are other people, right there, close to you, living life, seizing time or wasting it, going through a heartbreak or crying tears of joy.
Odds are, the people closest to you feel like a dream from another life, a mirage you see once in a while as you travel through the vast and neverending desert of loneliness.
There are so many of us, and yet most of them are lonely alone. Some, are lonely among others too. A few, down on their knees like penitents, try to reach for this mirage in the desert… wishing another human being could see them for who they really are.
There are so many of us, and yet on some days it seems we can’t reach a single soul.