“History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.” -Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 1971
It all comes down to fear. Fear of judgement. Fear of loneliness. Fear of meaninglessness. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of death. So many decisions we make are based in fear. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, it’s the good kind: the kind we recognize and grab on to because we know that’s where the true stuff lives. Because it feels like the first time we got on our bike without training wheels and rode all the way to the end of the street with bated breath knowing we might fall…and we crave that. But more often, it’s the terrible kind: the kind that pushes us to be safe, to blend in, to force others out, to give up.
Why do we give in to fear? Why do we allow ourselves succumb to it? Did we look past it once? Did all our worst fears come true? Did we decide then, that we would never let ourselves be fearless again? That we would sacrifice our freedom, and everyone else’s, for the sake of our hyper-sterilized, pre-planned, self-contained life? Can we be sure that’s any better?
The fear can only protect us for so long. The fear will turn us against one other, and eventually it will turn us against ourselves. It will degenerate our society and hold us back from the future our children clearly deserve. Our kids need change. Our kids need freedom. Our kids need each other.
We need to ask ourselves how we can save each other, how we can love one other more fully, how we can support and empower each other to rise up and achieve greatness. How can we rid ourselves of our small ounces of fear, for the sake of each child’s future, rather than our own selfish salvation?
Fearlessness is today’s most valuable charitable donation. Give freely.