words and images by mk swanson
Better World

Better World

I thought that my struggle was to believe in myself, to know myself. Depression told me I wasn’t good enough, that I was a worthless, unusable cog fouling up the gearing in an unwieldy machine. Therapy told me I was a normal person with a damaged brain, that if I overcame it, I could be as happy as other normal people. Religion told me I would be happy if I believed in something better than I was. Buddhism told me that I would be happy if I accepted that my mental state is an illusion. Animism told me I would be happy if I recognized that I am a manifestation of all there is.

I am now thinking that none of those things will make me happy, whether they are true or not. The world will continue to change and die and remake itself; humans may get better, but we may not; I will have good days and bad, I will age and die; my happiness in any moment cannot depend on religion or philosophy or faith in the future.

Whether there is a better world is irrelevant to my happiness.

Last night, reading William James, this was clear, but now it’s hazy.

In a dream afterwards, I didn’t want to give away a diaphanous black and white shirt that didn’t look good on me.

It’s hard to let go of the filmy, black and white world that used to fit me well enough.