Perhaps, as stoics and existentialists suggest, the most sensible “added” purpose of the middle years through to old age is the coding of a safe shutdown tailored to the peculiarities of an individual mind. Let me be human (for once) and say – while I’ve still got energy to say it loud enough – fuck you, fuck you future EOF, fuck you future me. You know I love you, I don’t need caveats, but fuck coding safe shutdown against the deliquesce to the EOF. If for no other reason than simple disagreeable perversity. Feel free to call that hope.
I suspect the anger, resentment and reaction comes from not reconciling the loss of life story with the impersonal truth of conscious existence: the stories weren’t invented to make a fool of you but evolved by countless other human beings as natural coping mechanisms and shared experienced, steering the majority as best it could be managed, from cradle to grave. It’s nobody’s fault there’s nothing beyond the vanity fair maelstrom but kindness, duty and a daily drift towards terminal irrelevance.
The evils of bigotry, racism, prejudice, isolationism, unadulterated capitalist greed: surely these were so obvious, nearly everyone was on the same page? Hadn’t the 1997 Labour landslide shown this? Wasn’t Europe – as a whole – building towards transnational free movement of people with universal human rights, having rejected forever centuries of idiotic wars home and abroad? Wasn’t the UK one of the key signatories; a defining force and central participant in this fundamentally optimistic project? We had thought these questions settled by clear, consensus on those objective principles of human society: equality, liberty, fraternity. We had assumed bigots were an anachronism, on the way out. We were wrong.
It’s nobody’s fault you’ve thought your way through all the smokescreens, misdirections, confirmation biases, social cognitive dissonances, confusion narratives, utilitarian myths and spurious explanations proliferating the cultural imagination of your lineage. But is there nothing beyond the vanity fair maelstrom? Is that the root of an alienation that never goes away?