Sunday, July 12, 2009

About Loving Yourself

Why are gypsies still exhibiting subculture behavior centuries after they stopped being slaves? And why are Romanians seen by others and by themselves as inferior?

In that multitude of factors used as an explanation, I'm going to explore just one. I believe people are comfortable feeling inferior.

Seriously. First of all, we all think in dichotomies - you're either inferior or superior to something. Romanians can't be superior to Germans, can they? They must be inferior.

Second, it's easier. It's much much easier to think of yourself as inferior. It's ridiculously easier. Because you don't have the responsibility of thinking about your next step. By saying "we Romanians are backward and it will take us 50 years to reach the West", we already know where we're going and what we have to do. Just get where they are. That means cleaner streets, less corruption, better education, more of a free market and the all-encompassing ever-present notion of "civilization". I'm not even gonna start on what a retarded self-inflicted eurocentric notion that is.

But in short, the way it goes is this. So some guys in Europe decided they wanted more than what they already had. And they did a lot of immoral and inhuman things and managed to get other lands. Nothing of which was unheard of. And like all conquering cultures, they created a system of beliefs under which it was all justified - eurocentrism. See 'the white man's burden', the forceful spread of Christianity and other such fallacies meant to make it all moral. Anyway, their success lies in the fact that they got others to believe in their intrinsic superiority too. Among which poor old confused Romanians, who will nowadays state blindly that their culture is shit by comparison, that their people are utter shit by comparison and the most delightful aspect of them all - they'll even use eurocentric notions when doing it! (read notions created by the West to express and explain their own superior nature) Yes, my friends, that is how much history has fucked with my people. Read history to which my people contributed, of course.

So ok, we're conditioned to think we're inferior and we like to do it, somewhere deep down. So who's to blame? That's the logical next question, right?

Not really. See, the logical answer to it is - blame ourselves, the Romanians, cause we suck. And there's that circular reasoning. We suck deeply because... ... because we suck deeply. Stop it! I know fallacies are not taught in Romanian education, but seriously, just stop it. If you're gonna say you want to get out of your current situation, then don't blame yourself as a first step (because of the aforementioned pointlessness of it).

But if you don't really want to change anything, cease in saying you do. If you're constantly criticizing those around you for not being "civilized", you, my friend, are full of it. If you took about the time it took me to write this post to actually think about what you're constantly preaching, you wouldn't use that word ever again.

A lot of people are content being non-Western. See the Italians - hell, they're as far from the Protestant ethic as you can get in this hemisphere. But you don't hear them denigrating each other for not being Dutch or German.

If you're gonna live in your own culture and enjoy the joys of it, might as well have the backbone to recognize some of its merits. If you're not gonna live in it, fine, leave. I did and I have very few regrets. But again, have the backbone to not denigrate it using seemingly self-explanatorial notions such as "uncivilized".


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Purpose of Goddamn Meaning

I wonder if it’s the way we grow up, if it’s pure instinct or if its something else, but I’ve always had a certain fascination with married couples. The ones that get along. And have a family. And a house. And a life they built together. I mean people that depend on one another, that had the guts to rely on each other, on that one other person you share a life and a destiny with. Because you chose to. And because you have to after one point.

Most of my family is like that. Mostly because most of my family is poor. There’s that 10% that made it to vice-mayor and company executive. But the rest are factory workers. Used to be farmers, but then communism fucked all that up. And killed one of them. Cancer got the rest. And the ones left now are awesome people, who work in factories, keep a neat home, have children who grow to have settled, tranquil lives (if they haven’t immigrated to have a similar life in Italy). And they all share their destinies with someone. Who also becomes intricately woven into the tapestry of our family. Scary, huh?

Actually, come to think about it, I haven’t always been fascinated with this. It just feels like forever. That is ever since the couple that I was a part of broke up, I’ve felt I’m missing something, to become a fair member of that society I just described. Melodramatic, ain’t it?

In a funny way, I have the same fascination with belonging somewhere. An actual physical place with people who behave and think in a certain way. Being a product of such a community, of ONE community. That’s just adorable to me. I guess I’ve always longed for that somewhere. Funnier still is the fact that I never realized I longed for that until someone told me that I didn’t have it. Funny how that goes.

And don’t get me wrong, I do have roots. I’m just not attached to them anymore. And I mean those roots are wonderful, they’re family ties and friendship ties and happy memories and all that. But they’re not me right now. So in the constantly changing entity that is.. everything in the world, myself included, if you break that bond with roots and former identities, what is it exactly that you’re supposed to be? Some intrinsic gathering of features that develop randomly depending on where you are?

What a desolate bummer.

I guess many think of identity as… no, actually I have no idea what others think of identity as. If you’ve lived in one place, you clearly think you’re bound identity-wise to it. But what about the rest of you? Can you just come to terms with changing locations, people, cultures, ways of thinking that easily? Even worse, I knoooow that people are people everywhere and that it shouldn’t matter, but we’re a fucked up type of animal.

Really. Have you ever sat on a tram in the middle of the day, looking out at all sorts of weird constructions and looking back at the people in the tram and seeing just how sad, unhappy, pissed off or momentarily happy they are? Didn’t you think “what a fucked up species we are."? Building stuff that we think we want for like a second, then running after the next thing we think we want, overruling millennia of wisdom FROM OUR OWN RACE because we think pretty big windows are awesome and ‘fancy’. A concept we invented ourselves by the way and which mean “I’ll vaguely smile now and think nothing of it in about a month”. It’s pointless. And I swear I’m not saying all this because I’m a failed teenager or a soon-to-be-failed nihilist or whatever other stereotype people desperately try to inflict upon them so they can create an identity and feel that they belong to something. I’m not. I tried to ignore the daunting thought of “pointlessness” for about a year now. It just seems like the more time passes, the more people I meet, things I experiment, bla bla, the more goddamn pointless it all is.

So *puppy eyes*, tell me please, what is the purpose of meaning?