It seems that everyone is talking about history repeating itself lately, and when has that ever been a good thing? I think I mentioned this in the ebook, but we humans learn by observation and applying what we’ve learnt for the rest of our lives. The most powerful things that stay with us are the negative things that we learn. You touch an open gas fire as a kid (despite your parents telling you not to) and you don’t remember the supportive warnings of your parents but you sure as hell remember not to touch fire again. The same goes for history. We quickly forget the breakthroughs and advancements, but we never forget the trials and horrors of previous generations.
For Those-Like-Me, the modern world is an even more dangerous place than ever before. I fear for any non-Caucasian, non-Christian, non-heterosexual and non-male living in the western world right now. Hell, I fear for myself and for the future of the planet. I’m constantly affected by state of the world (remember weltzschmerz?). But I want to turn that around for a moment. The world has seen this before, yes. The world has seen horrors and fascists and rioting in the streets. It’s seen those things not just since the Second World War, which is seen as the solitary benchmark for this stuff, but throughout human history. And we’re still here.
Despite the holocausts and genocides, despite the riots and abuses and idiots walking the streets accosting innocent people because of their skin colour of belief system, we’re still moving forward, even if it’s only on average.
Nothing goes forward all the time. Everything you ever do in life will have setbacks and hurdles. The progression of human society is no different. I know it’s hard, friends, but we’re still winning. Slowly. But it’s there. Women in a lot of countries have the freedom to live as they see fit, even if we’re not completely equal just yet. But it is coming. For every terrorist attack blamed on a religion instead of a few crazed lunatics, there are Muslims and Jews and Christians and every other belief system working together. Just recently I saw a group of young Muslims on the streets in Manchester with a stand, showing their support for the victims of terrorism. I couldn’t help but smile. Because for every huge act of barbarity, the world is filled with tiny acts of kindness.
It’s hard, sometimes, when the conditions that we live with force us to stare at the ground as we walk, or avoid talking to others, or keep us indoors where we feel safe to cry and struggle quietly. But look up every now and then. Because there’s good stuff going on out there. There’s been two world wars since Oscar Wilde was exiled for his sexuality, but civil partnerships are still legal despite the massive examples of human cruelty between them. And there will still be progress, despite our recent barriers to social progression.
Patience is what gets things done. We can wait. For every generation, the world has become more liberal, more sensible. It isn’t a smooth upward curve. There are blips. But we are moving forward regardless. We are getting there. And, if it makes you feel any better, we can’t all be responsible for huge changes. We can’t all organise rallies and petitions and throw ourselves into the streets in protest. We can’t all be pivotal. But we can do our part, every day. Just by being us, and showing people the right way.
All I want you to do today, when you step out of that door into a world that doesn’t understand you, is look up. You might just see something worth while.
Thanks for reading.