“People are sheep, man.” – Tommy Verdone
Our society is built on a mass of ignorant, scared and easily distracted people who are willfully controlled by a small minority of the super powerful and super wealthy.
These powerful people decide everything – major political alliances, war, financial spikes and falls – behind closed doors, in secret meetings you and I will never have access to and in which we have no representation.
They keep us happy and satisfied, with cheap and addictive food, drugs, and entertainment to distract us from what’s going on around us, which makes us easier to control.
The news media capitalizes on its position within the endless stream of information we receive via television, radio and the Internet. The corporate entities that own and control these news outlets purposefully brainwash the masses, keeping us distracted with a 24-hour, constantly updating news and entertainment cycle.
Even if you can find a news outlet you trust, give that trust dubiously. Widen your scope of input, and draw from a wide variety of sources – don’t take any one side of the story as the truth, ever.
All this runaround – it’s enough to make you want to just ignore it all together. To just bury your head in the sand and keep going with your day-to-day life. Why worry about things you have no control over when you can instead focus on sports, on celebrities, on fashion or on your job?
BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO DIE.
Yup! Each and every one of you reading this will die. Me too. Life is short, and basically pointless. No matter what you accomplish or who you meet while you’re here, eventually we’ll all just dissolve into the cosmic soup. The sun will explode, the universe will collapse and nothing will remain. Everything is temporary, and there is no afterlife. This is all you get, and it’s full of pain and suffering and death.
But life is full of amazing things too, like all that pretty nature everyone talks so much about. Also the usual great stuff, like sunrises and birth and art and music and cheese. Honestly, I think the most amazing part about life itself is that you get to live it. It might be completely pointless, but it has to be better than the alternative.
I wanted to take the space in this senior column to remind everyone, myself included, that just being alive is FREAKING AMAZING. There are really no rules or restrictions. You can do absolutely whatever you want, all the time. You’ll have to live with the results of your choices, but the choice is yours to make.
As I exit the protective womb of college and spill suddenly headfirst into the “real world,” I find myself terrified by the enormity of possibilities in front of me. But I’ve also never felt more liberated to choose my own path than I do now.
My time with the Collegian has connected me to so many of my peers who I thought I’d never meet. By learning to tell other people’s stories, I think I’ve better learned how to tell my own story – or, better yet, how I’d like to write it. The Collegian – along with Amherst Wire, WMUA and all other campus media – serve a critical role in keeping the students here informed against the constant barrage of PR and media relations bull.
So here’s what I’ve learned in my time here:
Embrace the futility!
Be part of that ignorant mass but do what you can to improve your space in this world.
Liberate your mind. Read a ton – newspapers, books, websites – the more the better.
Travel, even if it makes you go broke – nothing is more worth your time and money.
Help other people, but help yourself too.
Experiment with things you might be scared of, and let go of things you don’t need.
Study hard in school because it’ll pay off later, but don’t forget to have fun.
And most of all, be a cynic – but do it with open eyes, and an open mind.
Conor Snell was the Web Managing Editor. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @snellofsuccess.