A Reflection on E.B. White's Struggle to Plan the Day
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
Those of you who think we’re negatively or positively governed by a hair-sprayed, orange-stained man are deeply mistaken--for, who do you think he’s governed by? Self interest--or, the motivation of every futile measure taken to survive. While I hold not an ounce of discontent for our bodies or the ways they’ve learned to carry on, I see that it is time to change our objectives...
I write to you from the brain of a white, 23 year-old Male. The body I inhabit came of age in the suburbs of New Jersey--a 45 minute car ride from NYC. It played manhunt in the summertime, ate breakfast on the bus rides to school, and went shopping with its Mom when it outgrew its shoes. Sometime in my tenure, I decided to dissociate from my vessel. Like expensive shoes for a growing boy...it just wasn’t a good investment.
“80, maybe 90 years?” I estimated. “Is that enough?” Enough for what exactly? I remain uncertain. I took a look back at my body’s predecessors (their graves), and decided I, consciousness, could not persist in the cycle. I will enjoy this physical journey for as long as I can; though, my focus is and will always be designing an ideal future for sentient beings. From this dissociated vantage point I aim to reflect on the current state and trajectory of mankind.
You = Me
What separates you from anyone else? Without delving too deep into a nature vs. nurture conversation, I’ll assume we can agree on “not that much”. Everyone likes to have their existence considered by others. Telling Sam you love her shirt not only acts as a compliment, but it confirms to her that she is not invisible. Like Sam, we want assurance and affirmation that we’re not alone. Additionally, based on observations I’ve accepted as truths, we can all feel pain and joy. We all breathe and attempt to grow. No matter which body we spawned into, or whose vagina we popped out of, these things remain true.
Now = Then
Furthermore, what separates now from then? Well, time you could say--but since time is a construct for reference, I’d like to substitute “time” with “experience”. The world’s turning does not move clocks from tic to tok. Instead, our pursuit to calculate the world’s turning does. What separates now from then is not so much found in each passing day, but in the change imposed today via reflections on yesterday.
Therefore, if we can agree that human-nature is not dependent on the human, and that the difference between today and tomorrow is equal to the difference between yesterday and today, shouldn’t we be putting more importance on quality of life for all tomorrows? Life is a magical, inexplicable thing--so it’s easy to understand why a premium has been placed on the current moment as opposed to moments to come. Though, once the aspired permanence of human sentience is conceptualized, we can practically see through the eyes of future generations. SPOILER ALERT--they’re suffering.
Planning Can Be Easy
Savoring is a privilege for the ones who can. As I sit here, behind two glazed eyes, petrified for future iterations of humans, I urge those in positions of power to re-imagine the present as if it is the past of the future. Let us learn to savor the feeling of preparation and mindfulness for the you's and me's of tomorrow; because, we basically are them.
Unfortunately, future iterations of humans don’t have much of a say in what we do now; because, well, they’re not here yet. If they did have a say, they’d beg for our consideration. World leaders are leaders because we decide they are. Once we begin to value the well-being of future humans, and appreciate their soon-to-be-worn shirts, world leaders will have no choice but to include them in their agendas. Once we learn to identify and empathize with the future of humanity, planning our days will become effortless.