Two to Tango

Another thing worth noting is that in order to address the mental health crisis which virtually all Americans perceive as being very real, the issue of lifestyle has to be addressed. As Jean-Paul Sartre said, everything has been solved, except for the question of how to live. As a result, “more means less.” What follows from the principle of “more means less” is an adjustment towards downsizing and simplification on the part of many people. What is often overlooked by people is the reality that people from all over the world – regardless of where they live – have everything they need. It is now a matter of living within one’s means. This downsizing and simplification have been termed “The Great Resignation.”

Thus, the means are directed towards the fulfillment of a “vision,” as one of my friends once argued. One intern I worked with at the Afghan Embassy in Washington when I was a grad student said that he had no choice but to “fake it until I make it,” which is now a mentality that is largely obsolete. What is pertinent now is the issue of authenticity, as well as radical transparency and radical truth in an age of mass surveillance and technology which is tailored towards the control of a populace. In turn, the mass surveillance and technology aimed at the control of a populace coincides with the mental health crisis which virtually all Americans perceive as being very real.

Everyone has had their fair share of burnouts and nervous breakdowns. And there is actually an exogenous factor relative to the individual which explains the burnouts and nervous breakdowns. There is actually a term that is now popular – “Karoshi” – which translates into “death from overwork.” Of all the countries in the world, “Karoshi” is most prevalent in the United States and Japan. In March of last year, CNBC released an article explaining how junior bankers at Goldman Sachs have complained of burnouts from overwork which may have enduring effects on their overall health.

However, there is a systemic element or thought which shapes the prevalent but erroneous view of what constitutes the basic essence of life in the Western world, which in turn impacts everything else regarding Western life. The basic essence of life is not work. Moreover, for those of us who enjoy and love what we do, it is said that we do not have to work a single day in our lives. Rather, the basic essence of life is play. Perhaps the biggest turnoff in a friendship or relationship is when one side does not have an intuitive grasp or feel for the back-and-forth and give-and-take which is involved in play, with play being the basic essence of life. Once the basic essence of life is grasped – namely, play – individuals like Jens Stoltenberg and State Department employees will be seen in a totally different light.

Thus, without an understanding or grasp of the very basic essence of life, all is lost. As Rumi wrote in a poem titled “Empty”:

“Come out here where the roses have opened.

Let soul and world meet.

The sun has drawn a fine-tempered blade of light.

We may as well surrender.

Laugh at the ridiculous arrogance you see.

Weep for those separated from the friend.

The city seethes with rumor.

Some madman has escaped from prison.

Or is a revolution beginning? What day is it?

Is this when all we have done and been

will be publicly known?

With no thinking and no emotion,

with no ideas about the soul, and no language,

these drums are saying how empty we are.”

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