Dostoyevsky, in Notes from Underground said that man will destroy perfection because he can. He might have said the following:
Call it fin de siècle, ennui, cynicism, pessimism, what you will, but things are not getting better. There is more depression with every passing year. And what is this better? ‘Better’ has a hollow ring. In a society with great disparities in wealth we are not all in the same boat, so why should I care?
We are anyway doomed by our greed – climate change, polluted Earth. So you, who are careful about your health and behaviour and every shadow of the public conscience, will end a little later than I will, but I will burn with a bright spark while you, you goodie two shoes, live a perfect life – and who knows, my genes may protect me where yours do not despite your clean and careful living.
In the end we are all the same in our suffering. You have your problems and I have mine. And who are you to tell me? I can see any number of examples of so called shameless behaviour, so don’t try to shame me into feeling responsible for the whole of society It is you who is living in a fantasy world, while I live life to the full.
And after all, aren’t we both driven by the same thing – to be sated, one way or another? And things are changing so fast, that what is good today will be bad tomorrow – and who knows where the race will take us?
We are all here against our will, and you have a responsibility not to add to the grief of those who feel responsible for looking after the wellbeing of anyone who needs it, to not add to their burden of having to decide who gets help and who does not.
It is bad for their psyche having to fight against a desire to ignore those who because of their own actions, brought themselves to be in need of help. Think about it, when you get diabetes or whatever disease you suffer from as a consequence of your profligate lifestyle, will you be so willing to live with the consequences without asking for help? I will be picking up the tab for your destructive choices.
In some societies I could say that if you don’t feel any responsibility then I will leave you to the mercies of X, who had no compunction in ending your life that is a drain on all of us – a drain caused by your own selfishness.
I hear you. So give me something to believe in. Give me something, give me hope. What hope can you give me? What do you claim to know about the Great Plan and how it is going, and how we all going to be happy in the coming days. The days keep coming, but still they are not the coming days. The crowd is growing weary; it can see behind the magic trick and wonder when they are going to get theirs. Can you offer me anything?