A Two-Hundred-Second Slice of My Cerebrum

Zach - Northfield, Vermont
Entered on April 27, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question
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Zach Ward

A Two-Hundred-Second Slice of My Cerebrum

I won’t bother going into much detail, because the bulk of this anecdote is insignificant and glorifying it with flowery elaboration would be an utterly pretentious waste of time and printer ink (both of which I possess in limited and inestimable supply).

Day in and day out, Monday through Sunday, I am always wrestling with questions– questions of the “why” variety that weave themselves in and out of everything I do and everyone I encounter. Days that I can manifest answers are seldom and cathartic, and more times than not I go to bed feeling defeated. This defeat inevitably gives way to an aura of short tempered frustration that pollutes everything I touch. Without answers, my moral compass feels demagnetized and fixing this, ultimately, becomes my first priority.

Today I came home after track practice, sank into my dusty brown computer chair, and looked about my surroundings. Propped up against my bureau, my bass guitar begged to be played. Scattered across my desk, books like: This is Your Brain on Music, What is the What, and Walden lay waiting for me. And there, on the desktop of my family computer, sat the icon for some German software that had gone unused for too long. In a perfect world, I thought, I would spend days on end, reading, making music, learning foreign languages, and only stopping to spend time in the company of good friends. But of course there were more pressing matters to attend to (namely: homework)–the same homework being assigned to every child across the great nation of America. But why was this more pressing? In what perverted reality do logarithms and the conquests of Julius Caesar antecede music, good literature, cultural education, and the joy of autonomy? Is the youth of this country really that impersonal in the eyes of our government that it chooses to mandate one curriculum to satisfy the needs of this shifting kaleidescope of a demographic? And then the questions came:

What are we being prepared for?

Who’s pulling the strings?

Why do they insist on attributing our names with numbers on a scale?

Why are our efforts quantified and crushed with rubrics and power standards?

Why is the pure and natural drowning under a tide of white lined paper?

Why can’t we just exist?

Why do we have to find a purpose?

Why not embrace a life of pagan indulgence?

Why not spend every fleeting moment we are given in this place in euphoria?

Why do we cry when our brothers and sisters fall ill?

Why do we not cry when our brothers and sisters in far away places are gunned down in silence?

Why are we so tragically short sighted?

Why are our desires so egocentric?

Why do we believe that the magical man in the sky that we hail is privy only to us?

Why do we believe that the magical man in the sky that others worship is “wrong”?

Why can’t we just realize that all this dogma is getting us nowhere?

Why can’t we tackle the questions of existence on our own?

Why do we feel so inadequate and insecure that we disown our ability to reason for the sake of tradition?

Why do we hate?

Why do we die?

Why can some people connect the dots while others drift in and out of microsleep until someone does it for them?

Why do we posses the ability to deny what we see clearly for the sake of our pride?

Why do we hold onto anger?

Why don’t we hold onto love?

Why do we need pain to feel pleasure?

Why do we need sorrow to feel joy?

Why are we so focused on learning about ourselves when the truth scares us shitless?

Please help me, because I am suffocating in questions, and I don’t know what to believe…