It’s time to look back, it’s time to rediscover individuality, or we will lose ourselves forever

By Maté Jarai

‘The process of facing ourselves as a species is a necessary precondition to the creation of a more humane social and natural order.’

– Terrence McKenna

I keep hearing ‘we are living in unprecedented times’. Don’t know about that. It seems more like where we are now is the logical progression of where we have been headed for thousands of years, and in particular these last hundred or so. Where we are now, we have been before. Different ‘name’, different ‘time’, different ‘animal’, but nothing about this is unprecedented. ‘Uncharted times’? ‘The unknown’? Fuck no. Some of us forgot. Some of us never knew. And it’s because we rarely look back, at least collectively. Now seems like it could be a final chance to do so.

Let’s go all the way back to those times when we were nomads, in touch with nature, connected to it spiritually, privileged to be here, living off our surroundings, in tune with ourselves and what we were, when we were grateful, intelligent, skilled, savvy and free. Then compare that to where we are now. Devolution is the only word.

We got lazy. We stopped moving. We started having ‘things’ and those ‘things’ became animals and other humans that we treated like shit, and from there it got worse and worse. Nature gave us life. Nature allowed us to thrive. It gave us cognitive evolution. It gave us language, and thus meaning. But we forgot all that too.

And where does that leave the individual? It seems absolutely clear that the more ‘prosperous’ we collectively become as a species, the more the individual suffers. I’d go as far as questioning whether the individual even exists anymore. We’ve been in loop for a long time. We’re numbers, stats on a page. Now we’re static too. But it’s easier this way.

Individuality died long ago and anyone who still tries to express it suffers. Anyone who looks back suffers all the same. So, suffer away my friends. Choosing to suffer is choosing free will. Choosing to suffer is choosing to face a better past. Accepting this is not.

If you’re suffering, well fucking done. You are winning in the only way you can, and I salute you, as do your ancient brothers and sisters. That I am absolutely sure of.


Maté Jarai is editor-in-chief of cephalopress. He has a PhD in Creative Writing from Southampton University.  He has numerous online publications of poetry and fiction, and three poetry collections which you can see at Follow him on twitter and instagram @matejarai. 

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