Writing to you here makes me feel a bit like Carey Brideshaw, describing her disillusioning yet passionate sex life. I’d love to share with you my latest sexual endeavours (of which there are none), but I’m not Carey. The essence of this writing has featured in my journal over the last three years, and namely: Generation Excess. It describes my key thoughts on the development of our society.
Most generations have overcome great struggles. Literal barriers between themselves and freedom. The Berlin Wall: a physical structure preventing you from visiting your nanny round the corner. Can you fathom such a restriction on your life? Perhaps you can, because of Covid-19. Yet, still not as restrictive as the Berlin Wall. Nor as challenging as famine, nor poverty, nor war.
I’m not naive. I’m writing from my privileged bubble in an apartment in Paris whilst millions of people still endure the aforementioned struggles. However, this decade (prior to Covid-19) has been one of the most peaceful western decades yet. Unbelievable, as the press fills your mind with images of bombs and suffering. For the more painful the story, the more likely it is to showcase on millions of papers and screens.
If you live through any of these struggles – war, famine, poverty – would you not agree that the mere ability to exist would be euphoric? By euphoric, I mean that all-encompassing, all-consuming, yet unsustainable, feeling of ecstasy. Agreeably for some, the mundanity of ordinary post-war life is depressing. Yet, perhaps surviving these traumatic experiences would force you to appreciate life for what it is.
Inhaling and exhaling.
Many of us in the West have not suffered like previous generations. Breathing is not enough. The heartbeat is not enough. Freedom is not enough. Survival is not enough. We seek this feeling of euphoria elsewhere. In drugs. In parties. In sex. We seek a euphoria which we can drink, dance, and feel.
A euphoria, which can be inhaled and exhaled.
I remember the second time I got high. Stood in the smoking area of some dodgy techno club in Scotland. Surrounded by puffs of smoke and clenching jaws. Some guy turned to me and said “Look at us. What are we escaping?” which got me thinking. What are we escaping? Why do we feel the need to escape a life, which compared to previous generations, remains in many ways unscathed? Only now, during this confinement period, have we gotten a taste at how living through a war would be. Having said that I didn’t find confinement too bad.
There isn’t a solution, nor is this a criticism of how we have evolved. In many ways it is food for thought. Don’t think I’m some virgin who is teetotal and hates to party. I’m just as excessive as the rest of you. I just hope that in sharing my thought, you too can reflect, and try to find a euphoria in life which isn’t to be consumed.
It can just be inhaling and exhaling.