To Be or Not To Be

The unknown is an infinite sum game. Much like the universe itself, the boundaries of the unknown expand exponentially until we reach singularity. In reaching such an outcome, it begins with a position such that our own subjective experience is met by many other subjective experiences to form objective reasoning. Each position opens up a plethora of opportunities that may serve to end what once was, and what once ‘was’ may never ‘be’ again. Throughout the course of history, change has riddled its way to be discussed through words in a textbook or a heated debate in a room with your closest friends. We see everything as points of discussion, which sometimes become points of contention. We have the possibility here to gain our greatest surplus value, so to speak, as the attraction of opposites creates a medium for new similarities.

Somewhere along the way, however, we backtrack due to premeditated thoughts that makes discussion a difficult task. These imbalances are prevalent in our world in areas such as geopolitical tensions, unduly economic affairs & sadly, the lack of mutual respect from person to person. Although these are not the main pillars that define the meaning of a fulfilling life, they certainly affect the bigger picture in more ways than one. The saying: ‘history tends to repeat itself’ is proof of such an imbalance. We are trialed by the same lessons time and time again, and yet those in power make the same mistakes. Take the war the US waged against Vietnam as an example. No matter how costly or how many lives they lost during those retched years, the administration pursued these efforts diligently, only to end up in similar scenarios multiple times in the years thereafter.

Yet not all hope is lost. The irrational and often power-seeking tendencies of humans is taking a backseat for the purpose of pursuing the greater good. The search for justice and drive to action has been accelerated by Millennials and Gen Zs. Generational divides has allowed the adoption of progressive mindsets, mindsets that, for the most part, have been central to replacing what once ‘was’ to what can ‘be’. Climate change, racism and gender equality are centrifugal forces that are exacerbating traditional ideologies to foster a world that is more inclusive, whilst making sure that we take care of our world today to promise future generations a brighter tomorrow.

During the pandemic (that shall not be named), such transformation has been at the forefront subliminally. Whether we like it or not, the digitization of the world’s economy has lowered the need to travel for work, and less travel means lower carbon emissions. The shutting down of the travel & tourism industry, whether we like it or not, reduced the need for planes and oil to power such massive operations. When lockdown was first enforced in March, I remember going for walks in the empty streets of Montréal. The pin-drop silence and lack of life on the pavements and roads made me listen in on the sounds of nature. Just as animals have been caged and kept in horrid conditions by humans, humans were just the same as they were locked in their own homes. Yet, the chirping of birds had never been so loud, and the skies had never looked so blue. It was as if the world was trying to tell me that maybe we had been the issue all along. For example, the habitats of beautiful animals around the world have been adversely affected from our mass-consumption, such as the ice caps in the North and rainforests in South America.

This is not to take away from the fact that lives have been lost and families have been affected, and to that end if the one reading this article has been, I am sorry. I hope that we can move forward from these times with grace and appreciate the smaller things in life. Appreciate your close ones and hug them tight, just as I have been during these last few months. Similarly, these last few months have allowed us to look within, and to pursue things that truly make us happy or add to our already expansive skillset. Such characteristics allow us to constantly explore the ‘unknown’, and to explore it with vigor. This is what makes us great. The sole belief that our progression will make us better humans, as grand-parents, parents and children.

Through adversities comes change; change that we hope will set us in the right direction. We can never predict outcomes, but if we unite and move forward together, we sure as hell can do whatever we set our mind to. We have only one shot at this life, so let us make it something worth fighting for.

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Muhammad Arham Ali

Muhammad Arham Ali

Current student at McGill University pursuing a degree in Finance & Economics. Interested in self-development, technology and business.