How on earth did a consumerist pig and a highly extroverted person like me get my activist sensibilities? Nope, it’s not because of my UP Education.
In June of 2015, I had a trip to Thailand. As a highly paradoxical country, Bangkok offers a wide range of activities that every tourist can enjoy. After all the wild partying in Bangkok, I spent my last day in the Mecca that is Ayutthaya.
In spite of the tourist commotions, the caretakers of Ayutthaya have maintained its Peace and Divinity as one of the Unesco World Heritage sites. Visiting each of the temples denuded some madness in me. Such hypnotic scenes were taking over my entire consciousness. Upon visiting Wat Lokayasytharam, I asked Buddha for Enlightenment instead of the usual–wealth, love, success. It was an immediate, almost natural entity that went out of my apprehension. Enlightenment, C’mon, who in this Capitalist-laden world could attain that?
In 2016, a friend and I went to our favorite second-hand bookstore to browse books and magazines. My friend stumbled upon this magazine called Adbusters. Here’s their Wikipedia description: “The Adbusters Media Foundation is a Canadian-based not-for-profit, pro-environment organization. Characterized by some as anti-capitalist or opposed to capitalism, it publishes the reader-supported, advertising-free Adbusters, an activist magazine with an international circulation of 120,000 by the late 2000s devoted to challenging consumerism.”
My very first Adbusters read was their March 2014 special issue, A Guide for the Perplexed. This is also by far the best Adbusters issue I’ve read and maybe the only volume that you will need to become socially aware. I agree with every bit of the account that was written. Every inch of my skin was moved. However, this issue made me insane because apparently, being “woke” can lead to confusion and exhaustion.
What started as a doctrine of unpopular ideas and a tad request for enlightenment became my life for the past 3 years. I subscribed to several activist websites, journals, and social media outlets. They bombarded my entire consciousness from the morning when I first woke up, to the time I fell asleep. I even forgot about the life-changing concept of the Law of Attraction (which I used to adhere to). I went deeper into different issues. I was becoming different from almost everyone I know. However, I often realized that ever since I was a teenager, I knew that there was some depth in me so maybe this was something natural.
Complaints and Isolation
Bracketed through this new thought are the social, economic, and political theories that have long been applied and misapplied by our leaders. I was enraged by all the things happening in the world–how 1% of people have too much, and around 80% have too little. I breathed through the struggles of the marginalized. I developed the activist DNA. I had internalized these ideals that only a few people can, to the point of wanting to be isolated. Since only a very few people understood me, I was on the brink of wanting to do a Henry David Thoreau (Walden Pond).
I believed that this awareness was the answer to attaining enlightenment. However, I experienced an upheaval of emotions. One day I get happy because I no longer have to prove and to ask for anything in my life–that all that success concept is just made by Capitalism and that it’s something I could survive without. Another day I can get very depressed as I cannot control everything sordid in this world. I also can’t give up my comfortable life and my loving family and friends.
Of course, these were all in my brain. I didn’t do anything about the disparity in this world. I am still living a privileged life. I still question whether or not the internal conflict and depression I had to go through because of my new beliefs were valid, but I was able to move on.
See you in my next story about deciding to overcome this conflict I have for 3 years now. I also wrote about the effects of being ungrateful and focusing mostly on the negative on my post, Don’t Take Anything For Granted.
The copyright-free images used in this blog post are from Unsplash.