Tom McCann’s message is sure to be controversial but this articulate young man says he is speaking not just for himself but for friends and acquaintances unable to put their feelings in to words in quite the way that he can! What he says might shock you at times but might also make you stop and think. Have no doubt there are those who will simply see his message as ‘selfish’ but is it really?
What is the point in living if this is the life we are forced to live?
What meaning is there in this? In sitting on a bed in a bedroom doing nothing except staring at a screen, existing merely to repeat a cycle of studying or working or nothing at all, eating then sleeping and seeing only the same few faces day in, day out – or nobody at all if you live alone!
All the while we wait for an end which never seems to come as definitions shift and requirements change, and different conditions are demanded today from those that were demanded yesterday. One scientist tells that by Easter we’ll be done, before another, the next day, says that no, no, we’ll be done by the end of the year, if even then—tell me, what meaning is there in this?
…how did we just accept that younger generations should not receive a proper education, that medical patients suffering any other kind of condition should not be properly treated…
And for whom is this fulfilling?
Some say this isn’t so bad, really. You have food to eat and a bed to sleep in. You can pass the days away sitting on the sofa watching the television. You’re safe inside, alone, or with your partner who has been among your few forms of human contact for nearly a year.
Seeing people is dangerous. Going outside is tantamount to murder or suicide. Safety over sanity, to these. Prevent death by preventing life.
But for whom is this fulfilling?
What purpose is there in this? To save lives? I’ve seen it said that ‘introverts are the heroes of the era’ but to whom? How is doing nothing but the bare minimum heroic? And who have I saved – and how?
I have barely left my home for nearly a year. Have we become so devoid of purpose and meaning that barely leaving home constitutes being a hero and saviour? I’m not a hero. Nobody is. I’ve not saved anyone. All we all have done is simply what we have had to do.
And at no point was it fulfilling.
What is the meaning of life except to live? What is the purpose of living except to be or become fulfilled? No one is born fulfilled. Fulfilment is a pursuit which lasts from birth until death, but it cannot be pursued in stasis. A baby in utero has a pulse and is by definition alive as are the braindead kept breathing by machines, but neither of them is living. They are not engaged with life.
Nor anymore are we. Either prohibited from human contact and working entirely or permitted only to one-to-one two-metre walks and working and nothing else thereafter, we no longer have purpose.
…the longer I live like this, neglecting natural human needs such as physical, social contact and replacing them with pale technological imitations, the further I detach from nature and from myself.
That is not to say that life has lost or has no value. But that there is no tangible purpose in doing nothing – that life is too valuable to do nothing.
We all will die. But we all must live while we are alive. What good is a life spent hiding from death? Death is not a reason not to live. Life is too valuable and precious to lose to the possibility of death, especially when death is life’s only inevitability anyway.
Is technology an adequate replacement for real, lived experience? Is it just a coincidence that the further we are removed from reality and nature and stimulating our minds with conversation in face to face company with real people and using our bodies physically to work – as we replace all this with the pale imitation that is technology, that we become further and further removed from ourselves and fall more and more into physical and mental ill-health?
- Why else has addiction in all its manifestations become so widespread across the world?
- Why else are we becoming overweight or obese from overconsumption, destroying our bodies in the process?
- Why else has drug and alcohol abuse risen so much?
- Why else are so many mentally ill?
- Why else are so many children being diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD or Autism?
- Why else are people on mass experiencing identity crises—not even knowing who or what they are?
- Why else are we prohibiting ourselves of and from finding purpose?
- Why else do so many people lose themselves all day in films or books or video games?
- Why else are we so addicted to our phones?
Because they all are easy escapes from suffering; because an alternate reality is more comfortable than reality – it is easier to ignore than to confront, something which us ‘tutting’ English specialise in; because we are prohibiting ourselves from our natural selves and need to fill the void with something so to function, but what we are filling the void with is contradictorily causing us to malfunction.
We no longer properly have the natural stimuli of physical company;… We no longer have the natural stimuli of nature itself; nature is replaced by a darkened room and with technology.
We no longer properly have the natural stimuli of physical company; we are replacing it via pixels with technology. We no longer have the natural stimuli of nature itself; nature is replaced by a darkened room and with technology. We simulate what we assume our natural needs are with technology or stimulants out of not even remembering what they are anymore – we cannot suffer through nothing and so we must have something, even if its anything. But what is kissing a mannequin compared to the real thing?
This is not to say that we should altogether abandon care and caution and all measure of preventing danger or death. Sacrifice is a good and needed thing of any society; if we all lived only for ourselves we would not be a society. I am not advocating for any form of response to the virus. I am not a scientist or a healthcare worker. I do not have an ideology. I know no more or less than anyone else.
…that it is fine entire industries and livelihoods are destroyed and on mass people fall into unemployment or bankruptcy, that human contact be criminalised, that protest be criminalised too…
But there is only so much of oneself one can sacrifice before we sacrifice ourselves completely.
I am unsure of there ever being a time in which so much has been sacrificed for a single goal – how did we just accept that younger generations should not receive a proper education, that medical patients suffering any other kind of condition should not be properly treated, that it is fine entire industries and livelihoods are destroyed and on mass people fall into unemployment or bankruptcy, that human contact be criminalised, that protest be criminalised too, all of in the name of ‘getting the numbers down’. All this, for something with an average age of death higher than the country’s life expectancy.
When did we a pass the point of all this being acceptable?
Why is any questioning of all what we’ve done immediately curtailed? ‘Covidiot’ they’ll cry at anyone presenting a view at odds with the orthodoxy…
Will losing all that we have, for as long as we have, really be worth it in the end?
What does the future for us hold after this?
A series of definitions for the word ‘living’:
- A: having life; B: active, functioning.
- A: exhibiting the life or motion of nature; B: exerting force or containing energy.
- A: full of life or vigour; B: true to life; C: suited for living.
I have life; it is neither active or functioning. I am not exhibiting the life or motion of nature; the longer I live like this, neglecting natural human needs such as physical, social contact and replacing them with pale technological imitations, the further I detach from nature and from myself. I do not exert force for force is exerted upon me to live like this. I do not contain energy, only lethargy.
I am not full of life – as a matter of fact, death would be preferable to another year of this. I am not of vigour; I feel weak and I’m of ill health. This is not true to life; this is not suited for living.
Therefore: how is this living?
About the author
Twenty-one-year-old Tom McCann is Hastings born and bred as were his father and grandfather before him. Like many of his contemporaries he is struggling with a world that he sees is forcing its people to behave in ways that are at odds with our natural instincts.