Sunday, 13 September 2009

Misanthropy

First, a disclaimer. This post is about my memories of the me that was, not necessarily reflecting sentiments I have today.

I was a misanthropic child. Already as an 8-10 year old I was cheering when large numbers of people died - earthquakes and similar natural catastrophes or more human made incidents, as when the cruise ship Estonia went down. I did not approve of cruelty, wars (and other situations) where people were hurting eachother I disapproved of - and would rather not know anything about if it was outside my power to do something about it, be they happening in front of me or far away and posted in the news. Ignorance is bliss, even to a child. But thousands starving to death in a drought - that was just nature, business as usual, nothing to worry about. In fact I was cheering nature on. "Death to all humans" was the slogan a 12-yo girl posted on her bedroom door. To my defense (?) I was surprisingly consequent in my sentiments - my wish for humankinds extinction (or at least vast reduction in numbers) included myself.

My father disapproved, my mother seemed faintly amused and tolerant in the way of a parent thinking that it is just a phase. At least that is the impression that stuck with me. But I am not a very confrontational person, then as now, and was not inclined to discuss my opinions with people unless they brought the issue up.

At the age of 14 I wrote dystopic science fiction, with big brother societies, enormous class differences between rich and poor, terraforming of mars (a chance to fuck up another planet), milehigh skyscrapers, people eking out a living as administrative workers in this society. It seems to my memory (I don't have any of these texts left, they might be in mothers basement) that my short stories were mostly from the view of "normal" people, lower middle class, and their observations - nothing extraordinary actually ever happened to them, they went to work daily, watched the news, etc.

Interesting, with hindsight, I think is the fact that I had at that point never read any science fiction myself. I was innocent of tv and the books I had access to was crime, romance and historical novels mostly. I am not sure where the inspiration came from - but there was alot of talk about the Future and what it would be like, so maybe it was just a natural step further - my own vision of where we were heading. And seem to be, to this day. But this is an ever so slight digression...

It was only in my early/mid-twenties that I started developing two things simultaneously: A survival instinct and a sense of compassion with other people. No longer taking as many risks and caring more about people generally - although I still prefer to stay ignorant of humanity's plight if it is outside my sphere of influence. But I have days where I wish I could do the things I used to do. Ride atop vans throwing waterfilled balloons at pedestrians, hitchhiking the length of Finland, just packing a bag and going to another country, climb cliffs and trees with no safety gear, going on impulse trips with train and bus to visit family and sleeping on the floor of the overfilled train. I was happy as long as I was doing these things and more.

Luckily I am happy with my current life too, but I am the first to admit that it can be more than a tad boring.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be nice!