Often, in the Western world, I am confronted with a question. This is a question I've been asked so many times, by so many people, I've started to think about it a lot. I can't meet any friend or acquaintance here without this particular line of inquiry being directed at me. Worse yet, the more I'm asked it, the more I'm starting to think about it, and, in spite of knowing better, I'm beginning to feel dragged down by the sheer weight of this unrelenting consciousness being brought to bear upon me.
That question is "What are you going to do with your life?"
Sometimes, among friends it's distilled down to "So what are you going to do now?" But the underlying meaning behind these questions remains the same.
Here, in the Western World, I am considered a loser.
I am without a career, wife or children. I have no marketable skills. I have no education. I don't have a house or car. I have no plans for the future, and I lack ambition. All I have is an mp3 player, laptop, a bag full of ratty clothes that have nearly been worn through and an unregistered, broken old car, somewhere in Korea. I don't even have the key for it.
To the people who ask this question of me, it appears I have gone through a good portion of my life accomplishing absolutely nothing. These people see it as their duty to continually badger me until I can provide them an answer that is to their satisfaction. I try not to be upset, they mean well, and they're good people.
I have a hard time answering the question. So often, I just shrug it off and suffer the subsequent looks of pity that are directed at me.
It's very hard to stand alone. But my inquisitors don't see what I see.
I see people breathlessly scurry about, on solid, unrelenting routines. I see people sacrifice the majority of their lives working for money, only to pay it right back out. I watch as people collect immense stores of material wealth, only to have it sit, unused in their basements. Sometimes in a movie theatre, I turn around and watch the multitude of faces behind me, fascinated by the eerie, vapid stares. I encounter corporate, braying personalities, gushing excitement over total
abstractions. When I walk through the neighborhood, I see house after house emanating the sinister blue glow of the television set. I see hamsters, running on stationary wheels, with bits of lettuce they will never eat, dangling before their eyes.
I see cubicle slaves, who's only aspiration in life is to become mahogany desk slaves.
I feel I could very well turn the question back on them, but I refrain from doing this. They won't understand. Most people love their chains.
They make them feel secure.