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Human Hamster Wheel

I wake up, and before even having cleaned the sleep from my eyes, despair and silence swallows me whole.

It’s relatively late already, which surprised and irked me slightly, even though I’ve no place to go, nothing to do, and nobody to see.

The building I reside in reminds me of something out of the Soviet era: dark, eerie hallways (which I enjoy); an assortment of door designs and locking mechanisms, which is strange to me, coming from a place that imposes standardization.

One door, the one directly across from mine (which is quite modern, the only door I’ve seen with key card entry), is lettered with Chinese calligraphy, all around the frame. I wonder who lives there.

I managed to find my way up to the rooftop, searching for a quiet place to eat and write, and found the remnants of what once looked like a nice rooftop pool — now dirty, surrounded by broken railings; defunct for several years, surely.

A section of seating remains next to half a concrete bench, leaning on its side. I wonder where the other half went, and if it was removed, why didn’t they finish the job? I chalked it up to “ran out of money” and moved on.

As you might have guessed, I find myself in a new place this month. A place I’m not too thrilled to be at. Not because of the building: it suits my purposes just fine. But because of the neighborhood. A trendy, “up and coming” area, full of the usual suspects: trendies, socialites, and blatant hedonists with no shame.

Why would I come here, you might ask.

I lived not too far from here almost two years ago. The short distance results in a radically different environment. I stayed there again last month, and even that place was no longer appealing to me. But I underestimated the distaste I’d have for this one.

No matter, next month I’ll be living countryside, not too far from the Burmese border. There I shall find the peace and seclusion I desire.

Yesterday, while having a late lunch, I overheard the conversation of two foreigners sitting at the table across from mine. The modern young man is a disgusting creature, and I’m embarrassed it took me so long to see it.

Looking back, I think I’ve always reviled such talk viscerally, but never quite put words to it — choosing instead to simply avoid it as much as possible.

I have a hard time understanding why a developing country, having escaped poverty, would immediately dive into hedonistic worship. But I suppose that’s the driving factor behind such growth. Or at least, that’s what’s left to push things “forward”.

I now find myself sitting in the lobby of a random hotel. I came here for coffee and quiet. I was browsing Twitter earlier, and found myself frustrated and annoyed with what I found. It’s obvious to me what Twitter is: a game of validation seeking. A dopamine drip.

Everyone plays the same game without realizing it: seeking likes to make themselves feel good. And they see what everyone else is doing to achieve this. Then, without thinking, they think “this must be the way”, and begin pretending to be this personality or figure, that has such-and-such figured out.

They set out to build the image of somebody that deserves to have a pulpit. But what they do not realize is that this pulpit is no different than the water sipper that hangs from a gerbils cage.

Some build these images for business purposes, no doubt. And perhaps this is more respectable. But many, even the seemingly successful, are clearly only there to have their egos stroked — further proving that wealth does not satiate — and so they seek to increase the flow of dopamine, rather than seek to exit the cage.

There really is nothing in this world for you. If there’s satiation, it’s not found “out there”. It’s not found in “them”. It’s not found in the latest advances in technology and comfort. Comfort is useful in that it allows you a more comfortable acceleration towards death.

Everyone you speak to — everyone you surround yourself with — every piece of propaganda that strums your eardrums, further imprisons you into the existence of a beggar.

All people — no matter how grand the pulpit, no matter how seemingly successful, no matter how glamorous — are no more than little ants that spend their days collecting rubbish, so that they may bring it back to their hole, where they will use it to stuff their deathbed.

Everyone is steeped in anxiety. Everyone is eager to drink the hope that whitens our morning coffee.

The “successful man” comes to social media to ease his symptoms via a steady trickle of little hearts — but even these cannot numb the inklings of truth that trickle down his spine like a spider.

There is no one in this world that can save you. This world knows only of failed attempts to run from truth. But the truth always has the final say.

Those that pretend cannot escape the truth of their anxiety, as they put the phone down, and feel it return in full force. Those that seek to numb their ailments via socialization, overpowering noise, and fruitless chases, all end up in the same place the next morning — ready to start the day’s chase anew.

Some may linger awhile before dragging their limp bodies out of bed. Some may force themselves to face the day by sheer willpower, and motivational thoughts placed in their mind by the self-help industry.

Some may attempt to put forth the “best version” of themselves, stretching their legs, five times each.

All of these people inevitably end up running the same hamster wheel all day. Who cares who runs the fastest?

What would an environment of truth look like? Is such a thing even possible without it devolving into huddling around the fire, pretending that we’re different; that we’re the ones who’ve got it all figured out?

I seriously doubt it.

Why?

Because this is exactly what’s happening.