Already I am feeling the weight of my future career on my shoulders. My obsession with international relations, current events, and humanitarianism continue to unlock a darker side in me that is suspect to cynicism, existentialism, and even borderline nihilism. I can’t determine whether this happens cyclically or if it’s always there, taunting me with despair and pessimism, but lurking behind my mind as I continue along with optimism and hope. Sometimes it’s triggered by a single, random act of brutality or misery…odd, considering that I read, study, and take in so many of those kinds of things, yet it’s always a seemingly ‘typical’ one that spontaneously triggers my flirtation with despair. The now forgotten war in Gaza was one, as was the brutal assassination of those two shinning knights in Russia. I’ve seen and researched so many horrific wars and just as many brutal murders and assassinations (international relations are full of that kind of stuff after all). Why only some seem to get to me is anyone’s guess. More likely I’m just struggling with the stack of misery and evil that I’m constantly exposed to…not just exposed to, but entrenched in. Maybe it’s always hovering over me and it just happens to come up when the last miserable straw of human depravity is pulled. My entire life has been devoted to doing good things in this world. Everyone knows that it is my central pillar of existence and how ever exaggerated that assessment, it certainly remains my key ambition and drive through life. I slave for hours at school, even while I work and try to maintain a semblance of a social life. It has blurred with my recreational life, as I spend much of my free time reading all about the same issues I would in a classroom, invoking the same sense of joy as one would from playing a sport or drawing. Politics, economics, diplomacy, humanitarian work—it is all in my blood and I love it. I’ve invested so much in seeing to this ultimate dream, even in the face of doubt and procrastination. I even attribute my almost complete lack of a love life these past few years to my narrow-minded pursuit of these goals. And I never cared of these sacrifices because I came to see ultimate satisfaction and existential meaning in their achievement. The world is such a dark place. There is so much evil and decadence and injustice. Hell, this planet is dying as we speak, due to collapse starting a paltry year or two from now. Can I do any good in a dying world? Worse than all that is the widespread ignorance and apathy that lets justice and morality become fallow and bleak. Nature is a cruel, predatory system of kill or be killed, eat or be eaten. Could it be that we have not escaped this tenet of our natural roots? Are all this greed and apathy and power mongering a part of the system, a system that has been emplaced for billions of years of life’s existence? Am I in the wrong after all? Are we who seek to do good fighting not just a losing war, but an abnormal one? Maybe all this corruption and exploitation is meant to be. And even if it weren’t, is it not so entrenched? Everyone is a sinner. Every organization I hope to join has bloodied hands; every government service I’d work for seeks its own ulterior ends. Is there no escaping a system that seems to perpetuate the furthering of power for an elite few through exploitation and dishonesty? Who would I join and who would I trust? What if all the conspiracies of power hungry cabals and institutionalized control become true? What can I possibly do in the face of all this? I’d be powerless and my years of devotion would come to nothing. I fear more than anything a life wasted in pursuit of a nightmare disguised as a dream. As I come closer and closer to getting my degree I find myself more and more pondering these concerns. I first did so, seriously, a year and a half ago and it was a major trigger of depression for me (some of you may have remembered that fateful 5 or so month period). I know I’m supposed to feel a sense of compassion but perhaps mine is too extreme…am I supposed to be this deeply affected and bothered? Is it supposed to depress me and even— I suspect—trigger insomnia? Am I supposed to feel that bad about the agony and evil that befalls others I don’t even know? I need to strike a balance between compassion and restraint. I may even need to resort to the cold logic and academic apathy by which my professors seem to regard these things. So many intellectuals and well informed types seem susceptible to indifference and hopelessness…why should I be different? Would I rather live in blissful ignorance then? Is truth and being ‘smart’ really worth this emotional (and to a degree romantic) toll? Am I cut out for this, given this sensitivity, my susceptibility to depression, and even my damned fear of death and flight? And what about the world and this scheme of nature: can I hope to pursue an objective that is overwhelmed by the systemic and deep-rooted presence of injustice, hypocrisy, and amorality at every turn? What will I have if it all dawns on me as real and my life’s work is meaningless? How will my obsessively empathic mind take to learning that there is no justice or good in this world, that any victory is but a tenuous, superficial one? I like to think any would-be peacemaker or do-gooder would be in my position? Did the heroes I’ve modeled myself after have these same concerns and insecurities? Did they ever doubt themselves and despair, tasting the temptation of apprehension and pessimism? Ultimately I don’t think it matters. Every time I fall like this I am able to pick back up. In a way I’m glad to have gotten all this out, to confront these terrifying and despondent concerns, for when I do so I realize that it doesn’t matter. Everyone has a purpose, and whether it’s ordained by God, by chance, or by us, it’s still there. If my purpose is to be a naïve and misguided fool, then so be it: the world needs those every bit as it needs villains, heroes, drifters, and so on. I have to stop living in the future and just live in the now, while there is still a now. I just have to press on, as simple as that. And I guess after all that musing and indignation I’ve reached that anti-climatic resolution. Thanks again for reading everyone.