My elders would have me believe that the world is a terrible place. They would have me believe that it is filled with terrible people, all of whom are out to do me harm. Strangely enough, they themselves are magically exempt from that particular character assassination of the world population. They have only my best at heart, or so they claim. They aim to educate me on the morass of evil that is daily existence. That evil sludge doesn’t include them, of course, because they have found some magical elixir to ward off selfishness, jealousy, greed, and every other misuse of the human mind that plagues the rest of us. Yet they refuse to share this magical elixir for my protection, and only stilted, pessimistic wisdom is on offer.
These exemplary individuals would have me believe that they have the answers — the answers to every human question, and the key to all that haunts me. All it would require of me would be to accept their view of the world and existence as they know it — an existence filled with cloak, dagger, and bickering – an existence where everyone is a lousy human being except me, and them, of course, because they must be exemplary to tell me what I am doing wrong on such a conveniently regular basis. They must have all their worldly affairs in perfect clockwork order to advise me on what my actions lack, and they must be perfect employees, perfect citizens, perfect parents, perfect siblings, and perhaps even perfect human beings to have the leisure to find and point out my hourly blunders.
I am thankful for such incessant support towards my moral betterment. For I know that I am flawed, and I know I have no answers, only questions. Questions that I ask myself to find my way and decide on right, wrong, and grey. Being such a habitual questioner, where would I be without their distrust, their insecurities, their fears, and their sludge-tinted glasses? Where would I be without their truth?
Perhaps I would never settle into the delusion of knowing all the answers and all the questions. Perhaps I would never stumble upon the misconception of knowing everyone’s motivations, their scheming plots, their twisted minds, and their sordid plans for my downfall. Perhaps I would take nothing or no one for granted, and perhaps I would even find myself on that illusive dirt track through the lush forest of life called happiness, without ever expecting to reach a hidden palace of the same name.
Perhaps I will abstain from their truths, because as seductive as the answers are, I do not like what they say. I prefer my questions. I prefer my complex chaos of illusive knowledge than their convenient truths — truths that would raise me to their level of superiority, from where I could look down and survey the world without ever needing to study my countenance in the mirror. I prefer the agony of staring at my imperfect features and striving to higher humanity than the path to wisdom and pre-eminence that they tantalizingly lay before me.
I do not want to be that person.