As Told by a Pessimistic Optimist

December 2, 2010
We laugh. We share.
We love. We care.
We steal. We hurt. We kill.
We ruin things in general.
But together we can change the world.
At least, that’s what we’re told.

You’ve all heard it.
That motivational speech that’s
Crying for change or we’ll crumble
Under the crushing wave of destruction.
Can we really change?
Even if we work together?

The answer is no.
It’s been “no” since Adam and Eve
Sinned in the garden.
But don’t blame them – someone
Else would’ve screwed it up
Along the way. We all sin.
It makes us human,
Makes us equal. Or unequal.

No matter how hard we try
Someone will always mess it up.
For to change the world
Everyone would need to get along.
Unite, be one – all that jazz.
And it’s impossible.
Call me pessimistic, but it’s true.

We can do whatever we want –
If we only try.
We can accomplish so many
Terrible feats. Or great things.
Depends on how you look at it.

We bomb buildings.
We kill innocent people.
We indulge ourselves
To the point of destruction.
We destroy friendships. Relationships.
Drive people to the brink
Until they think death is the only way.
Our words wound as much as our actions.

The catch is that all this is easy.
It’s simpler to destroy than rebuild.
Being selfish is second nature.
It’s selflessness that’s the hard part.
Isn’t easier to overlook than
Talk to “that guy?” The one you hate?
Avoid on a daily basis?
Now don’t get so indignant–
I’m guilty too.

Ah, I see the wheels turning.
I’m not so crazy, am I?
You see it too.
Our natural human narcissism
Makes peace and cooperation
Purely unattainable.

You can’t change the world.
It’s impossible. I’ve been
Saying that all along.
People in Nicaragua and Russia don’t
Care about what we have to say.
You can’t hug the whole world.

But you can high–five your neighbors.
You can say “hi” and mean it.
That’s what it’s all about–
Meaning it.
Holden Caulfield said that the world
Was full of phonies. He’s right.
There’s a little phony in all of us.

So break the norm. Be real.
Do something nice because you want to.
Spread the love and all that crap.
You could start a domino effect–
You never know. You won’t change
The whole world, but you could
Change one person.
One is better than none.

Besides, the world doesn’t need changing.
It’s a big floating hunk of Earth
Spinning effortlessly in the atmosphere.
It’s the people who need to change.
You, me, your dentist, your mom.
There are no exceptions.

So now it’s your turn to do it.
To alter things a little.
Go against the grain.
Because change is an individual thing.
It’s your own responsibility, not
God’s. Not your parents’.
So don’t blame them.

Together we can do many things.
We create and destroy.
Find and lose.
Go forward and then right back again.
But remember that
Perfection is unachievable.
Together we can.
Together we cannot.

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