Imagine shooting a film of your life using two cameras. One is set to a permanent closeup of you. The other one is set to the widest possible angle, covering the span of the entire universe, although still focused on you. There are reasons why we can’t fathom the entire nature of existence.1
No one is perfect—no one can be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. And everyone sees everyone else make mistakes. And everyone sees everyone else seeing everyone else make mistakes. Everybody is always watching you watch other people. YouTube, MySpace, and reality television haven’t changed any of that; they‘ve just made it more overt. It’s always been there.
But what happens when you consciously commit yourself to being imperfect? Is it laziness? Or is it a slip from one rung of the ladder to a new low? That is, what happens when you see a little injustice—nothing big or earth-shattering, nothing life-destroying—and let it slide? What happens then?
This happens all the time. People see other people making these little mistakes, and for one reason or another, consciously let it go (as opposed to the mistakes no one notices). Little choices spiral outward and affect other choices, which affect more people. Butterfly effect. Boom. This chain of cause and effect is what makes the universe work.
So now take free will away. Remove it from the equation (as it is, after all, just a fancy illusion). What happens to injustice then? Aside from the fact that it becomes all too easy to succumb to moral relativism, how can one prevent or right these injustices if they are just predestined events in the inexorable chain of cause and effect?
But that’s not the problem. It may seem like a quandary, but it’s just a complicated facade to disguise the true issue: significance (or lack thereof). When you strip away the “injustice” from the little thing, paint it grey like the rest, it becomes even more insignificant. Our actions are insignificant. Or is it really?
Throughout human existence we have looked up into the sky and pondered our place in something so vast and incomprehensible. And we keep on running into this wall, this towering monstrosity, the knowledge that we are a single planet orbiting one in a trillion stars in one galaxy in one small corner of the universe. It does seem a tad insignificant, but only because we’re taking ourselves out of context. And if you take something out of context, then you lose the ability to interpret it properly. Comparing a Coca-Cola can and a North African weeping turtle (which aside from being nonexistent is not as tasty, I hope, but is probably more nutritious…) doesn’t do much, because they’re so different that it’s hard to find a common frame of reference. Unless you’re in marketing, don’t try it.
So back again we come to the little things, especially the wrong things. The ones that we know are wrong, deep down with every fibre of our being, yet we let them happen anyway. They are such contradictions because they are so infuriating and so wonderful at the same time. I love them but I hate them because they are that one step away from perfection, but simultaneously a tribute to the greatest part of being human: being flawed.
I actually have no clue what I’m trying to say here. The clock just hit 1 AM and I think I’ll go to bed, but still … I don’t know. The burden of trying to be perfect is heavy enough as it is to take the small things too seriously. So don’t take it upon yourself to shoulder all that responsibility. It’s heavy and icky and probably won’t match the furniture anyway, so you’ll have to take it to a weird-smelling interior decorator and get it upholstered and repaired at great expense to you, all the while knowing that by doing this you’ve destroyed what it was in a vain attempt to make it something it can never hope to be.
Besides, you’ll end up with bad posture.
- [ 1 ] Panasonic just doesn’t make a big enough lens.