I started my life full of hope. I believed people were good and that my future was bright.
The world was some sort of ideal and rational place, at least in my mind. A future utopia. I learned to believe — in a way that isn’t clear to me anymore — that intelligence and hard work were always rewarded. I believed most other people were decent and well-meaning. They shared my values.
Living an adult life ￼is nothing like what my childhood led me to expect. I question the intelligence and rationality of most people.￼ I’ve come to believe we all have some minor (or major) form of mental illness, most of which we ignore. (That means you and me, too.)
Most of all, I’ve come to see that most people don’t share my values. They’re not much like me.
I’ve discovered that high intelligence is often a handicap, not a ticket to success. Shallow hearts and dishonest actions are often rewarded instead. Most people don’t care about one another. The material utopia which I was promised has led most people to focus so much on the benefits of our material advancements that they overlook the spiritual and emotional elements which are ultimately more important. I see us as a shallow and unhappy culture.
And I have become bitterly disappointed about all of this.
I don’t know where there’s a place left for someone like me. My values and ways of thinking seem to be from an intellectual era which is fading away — and being replaced by something more hateful, more coarse, less intelligent and less humane.
Instead of finding all the things I believed I would find in adult life, I’ve found disappointment. That didn’t happen overnight.
I place my period of working in politics as the dividing line in my life. Before that, I was striving for success in an environment which let me feel as though I was still chasing the same things childhood had taught me to expect. I started several businesses. I experienced a business failure. I got back up from that and went to work for another company, completely confident that I would be back in the game soon.
Instead, I found myself taking a detour into politics. It was just going to be a temporary thing until I decided how to start another publishing company. But that temporary detour turned into 20 years.
That’s where I discovered how my world really worked. None of the idealistic things I had been taught were true. Dishonest people gained power with money and unethical deeds. Even the people who believed they were entering the political game to “make a difference” typically found they either learned to get along with dishonesty or they were destroyed.
I made a lot of money working in politics, but it destroyed the innocence I had left. Each passing year brought me more money — which made it harder to quit — but it also made it harder to live with myself.
By the time I got out, I thought I could make a difference by exposing how the corrupt systems of power work. I was wrong. Nobody wants to listen.
A few people see the same things I do and those people were interested in what I had to say, but there weren’t enough of them. The vast majority simply wanted me to attack their political enemies. It made them happy when I did that, but that missed the entire point of what I was trying to explain.
The vast majority of people are indifferent to the truth about how the world really works. They might have a vague idea that something is wrong, but they stupidly think they can fix the problems by more of the same. (“If I vote harder next time, that’ll really change everything,” they foolishly think.)
There’s always a flashy new guru promising them what they want to hear. None of these saviors deliver what they promise. Not a single one. But that doesn’t stop people from believing. That doesn’t stop them from continuing to trust a political system and economic system and a consumer culture which are all fundamentally broken — because they just keep reaching for better toys and more “success.”
I look at this culture where almost everybody is in deep denial and I beg people to consider another way of thinking, but I am invisible to them. Nobody cares. Nobody listens. And I become even more isolated, because I see the ways to lasting joy and satisfaction — and the world continues a mad pursuit of evil, even most of those who profess to be pursuing a higher calling.
Some people say the biggest trick the devil ever played was to convince modern people that he didn’t exist. I think there’s an even more disturbing evil trick by the old deceiver, whatever you want to call him. The people of this culture have been convinced that the highest and greatest good is in pursuing material things and a prosperous life.
Even the vast majority who call themselves Christians have traded in any semblance of finding spiritual connection with their creator — through love and spiritual seeking — in exchange for the shallow rewards of money and prestige and material goods and ego praise.
We have ditched the idea and teaching of Jesus — much less the notion of dying to this world — and found ourselves worshipping consumer culture instead.
Our secular god waves a red, white and blue flag. He offers us credit cards and praise. And we worship that false god in shopping malls and sterile neighborhoods where there is little love to be found.
I am bitterly disappointed in the world I have found. I thought I understood the ideals of the age. I thought the world would love and appreciate the gifts I offered — and reward me for them. I thought that this world was full of honest and trustworthy people who wanted to work with me to make it better.
I was wrong about all of that.
And I was also wrong to believe that others would want to know what I’ve discovered about the world and about what things truly matter. I was wrong when I believed that others would choose love and joy over short-term expediency.
I am bitterly disappointed about all of this. I am hurt. And I feel more alone than I’ve ever been.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say, but I can see why some people kill themselves. I would never kill myself. I’m not sure why, but I’m just wired up that way. But I understand how someone could feel as though there is nothing left to live for and choose to die.
I don’t choose to die, but I am bitterly unhappy and bitterly lonely when I look at where the world is going — and I can’t see where a man like me fits here. This is what makes me feel so much like an alien. I long for another place — a home — where there are people more like me. Where I can be loved.
And so I come back to that word again. Love. That’s the only reason I don’t want to die.
I am miserable and lonely and angry and I want to scream at the idiocy and shallowness of a fallen world — but something inside me hasn’t lost faith in love.
Love is the only thing that can save this world. Love is somehow central to the connection that we have with our creator, even though we are too materialistic to admit that. Love somehow bridges the gap between the horrors of the world we have created for ourselves and that spiritual world where there is meaning and hope and joy.
Love is the only salve that can heal the wounds I’ve experienced. Love is what you need, too, whether you know it or not.
We need loving connection to other individuals — partners, family members, children, friends — and we also need loving connection to communities of other like-minded people. (I understand now that’s what the church was supposed to be, not the recreational and entertainment institution that we’ve turned it into.)
I can’t give up on love.
I don’t have faith in people or in the systems of this world or the material things which we think are so important. Those things are meaningless. I enjoy having nice things when I can, but they have no meaning. They only tie us down by forcing us to remain attached to things which destroy us.
I do have faith that love can somehow find me — that it can connect me with the right partner, the right people, the right places, the right home.
I have no earthly reason to believe that I’ll find these things. I really don’t.
But love is the place we come from. A creator of pure love. A creator beyond our understanding. I have no hope left in the world around me — or in the idealistic hopes I had as a child — but I have faith that love will still find me.
And I have faith that love will somehow lead me home to where I belong.