Opinion

Move forward, accept your depravity

I don’t believe in good people. I don’t believe anyone is good. In this sense I am extremely Calvinist, as my views focus squarely on the total depravity of human nature. These views bypass political ideologies, ethnicities, nationalities, religion, vocations, philanthropic choices and anything else under the sun. The human being, at its core, is selfish and has been so corrupted by the world as to be rendered a rusted, twisted steel structure mere seconds from falling into much deserved decay and destruction.

I am not excluded. Nosce te ipsum, for if I deny my own depravity while acknowledging the world’s, I am a monster. I know my lusts, greeds and indulgences. I am not humble and I am not good. I am another thorn in a field of thorns here in this no-mans-land. I am one of T.S. Eliot’s “hollow men.” I know and accept this about myself and believe it about those around me, and I am more at peace now than I have ever been.

When the city is leveled, there is no longer an elevation, a greater than or lesser than. There is only the level. I am on the level: I am not greater and I am not less. Beauty fades quicker than ink in the sun, and the stars, too, will someday die. I know this because we know this, and we know this because we can see it. Even the soil is nourished by fallen leaves. But this is no reason for tears!

Entropy is judge, jury and executioner, but even entropy has its limits! I will say this: you are not good, and this is good! Good and bad are comparative categories, and there is nothing in them but despair. There is right and wrong; do what is right. What is right? Love, kindness, justice, humility and empathy are your tools, so build your house! Light your fire! Yes, someday you will die. So what? Accept it and continue.

You may say I am calloused, that I speak over pain and ignore it. Perhaps you are right, for I can’t speak out of any experience except my own, and this was my experience: when I was in the pit, I looked around me and saw that I was nothing. I saw the girth of my fattened soul, and felt its grease on my fingertips. I smelled the putrid, cloying stench of rotting strawberries and saw that it was not good. I know my theft, my murder, my sloth, and I cannot be blind to it anymore. Forget living. Existence was a prank, a practical joke. My hope of heaven was nearly extinguished in this despair.

But fine, fine, fine.

This I will say finally: we never are until we are. We are never finished until we are finished, and our failures are in us, of us. Our failures are who we are. I said I don’t believe any of us deserve to live, and I stand by that statement. I believe we can only love once we truly see our own depravity. I can only find hope in hopelessness, that, at the end of things, we are all faced with choice, with timshel, and what is timshel but this:

I have been beaten; I choose to heal. I have lost hope; I choose to believe. I have been betrayed; I choose to forgive. I have failed; I choose to try. I have fallen; I choose to stand. I have been left; I choose to love. I have been mocked; I choose to love. I have been lonely; I choose to love.

I choose to live, I chose to live, I will choose to live.