This meme really did define the decade that has been huh.

The leading narrative of this meme and most of how we talk about mental health today is how we've normalised nihilism, and how as a humanity we've become almost immune to "feeling all our feelings". The world is on fire, there is so much to do, so much to read and take in, we are constantly overwhelmed, where really is the time to think / feel / be / take it all in!

It could be that there's more happening in the world today than there was 200 years ago simply because we're a bigger population with longer lives and increased access to worse weapons of destruction (and creation); it could also just be that we're more interconnected than ever before and so we have access to more 'news' about what's happening around the world and not just within our own little bubble.

In any case, there's "more" and we haven't got the tools to truly declutter (at least not without feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt), so all we can do is communicate via memes and emoticons (instead of Shakespearean verses and phrases) how lost for words and feelings we are. There are times when it feels like we've reduced ourselves quite a bit and that is perhaps why machines are so close to imitating us, winning Turing Tests (or at least Loebner Prizes), and even exceeding us in their "humanity".

It all feels quite glum really-- when you think about it. It feels like we've stooped too low as a humanity, so fatigued by empathy that we're incapable of "more".

However, I am here today to propose that maybe, just maybe that's what makes us human, and that "helplessness" is the highest form of empathy and "humanity". In a way, the most human answer to the trolley problem is feeling stuck for over 57 years, because no "we do not want to kill one person to save five", "we do not want to kill at all", we just want to mourn that we are at these crossroads where there seems to be no "no-loss" solution. While we may pretend to be rational capitalists, we're not the machines we're building: we're humans who can be manipulated to cry even over inanimate objects.

We've just finally attained a level of civilisation where we can pause for a bit of time without the world around us crumbling (even if the world may well be on fire), we can call the fire a "fire", and feel all the feelings to the extent that it overwhelms and stops us in our tracks. We just need to truly believe that this is the beginning and not the end. So, in a way, it is great that we're able to acknowledge that the world is on fire and we're fatigued enough to say "this is fine".

The question now is where we go from here. How do we slowly heal from the fatigue and find our way to the nearest garden hose-- the way we have found our way to vaccines, social movements, and forgiveness time and time again.