How are the current conditions affecting us? The fear of catching Covid-19, the fear of spreading it. The political turmoil in the United States and what feels like an impasse in communication, in discourse. How are the restrictions and isolation affecting our mental health? Sometimes, we need to look backward in order to move forward. The following photo essay takes us through this time unknown.
Depression seems like an obvious flaw in the human condition. The symptoms of depression (everything from apathy, social isolation, and anhedonia to emptiness, sleeplessness, and ruminations) can make engaging in daily life absolutely impossible. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not.” Despite what seems like an obvious evolutionary handicap, research has shown depression has a variety of hidden benefits, such as encouraging attention to detail, creativity, empathy, and resiliency. By acknowledging depression’s hidden benefits, we can alter the way it impacts us individually and societally.
The following poem addresses the human condition as something we seek to make meaning of: we all seek to tell our story, find a way to mark our existence, and transcend time past the limits of our lifetimes. It engages the often futile feelings we have, our blindness to our existence, and our angst generated by feelings of erasure. The poet believes that the drive to tell our story, to be remembered for that which has shaped us, and to mark our existence, transcends the biological need to procreate, superseding it.
The thesis of the following piece is that the eternal return of difference is the onto-ethicality of humanity. The idea of eternal return has emerged in various religions and societies throughout time — namely, the theory argues the universe goes through repeating stages of transformation in an infinite cycle. Though this idea of cyclical time lost traction with the rise of Christianity, Nietzsche reintroduced the concept, which became fundamental to his work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. In presenting the idea of eternal recurrence, Nietzsche tasks us with the dilemma: what would we do if this were true? Rather than wallowing in despair at the fear of having to endlessly relive the tragic human condition, Nietzsche encourages us to embrace eternal recurrence — as this, he argues, is the ultimate expression of love for life and for life on Earth. However, the author of this piece argues all theory and conceptualization of the eternal return (even Nietzsche’s) takes a backseat to the “highest feeling” of the eternal return.
The following flash fiction/script originated from a nightmare that left the writer in a panic. How does the act of creation serve to transform negative experiences into positive ones? Is art the defining feature of humanity — the primary difference between us and all other animals? Though art has the potential to be dark and disturbing, it often exalts features of our human condition unlike any other act. What can we learn about ourselves through the art we create from confusion and suffering?
How do we heal from trauma? Can we truly learn from traumatic events or are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes, mindlessly, until death? To deal with trauma, what defenses do we put up, and how do we keep those defenses from blocking our growth?
Travel can open our eyes to experiences we never could have dreamed of — but, how important is exploration to personal growth? Can experiencing other cultures and societies serve to unite us or alienate us? Travel can make our world feel Infinitesimally small or boundless and immeasurably vast depending on perspective.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the United States in a way that leaves US citizens wondering how this great nation could be affected so severely. On top of facing a pandemic, US citizens have been met with increasing polarization both in the media and in politics, leading to mass confusion and ignorance — how are we to solve a problem we can’t fully understand?
Increasing political polarization, rioting, and socialist ideals are becoming the norm for American society, but is this really what we want? While the ideals of socialism can sound appealing to younger generations, it is important to understand socialism in practice and its real-life blowback by studying examples of socialism in other countries.
Is selfishness prioritizing the individual the root cause of the United States’ current divide? Is lack of belief in social equality holding the US back? Whether these traits can be entirely blamed for our current political climate or not, it can be argued a nation needs a mix of collectivist and individualistic ideals to achieve both social equality and freedom for all.