60. A Soul’s Project

A day spent doing two jobs in my firm and writing two job applications, with the best will I could mobilize.

I did laundry also and then walked to my cousin’s cafe in a foggy north-west part of the capital, only to find he wasn’t there.

Instead, behind the extremely diminutive bar, a 28 year old good-looking woman with a master’s degree in philosophy and some trauma from meeting the real world of unemployment soon after.

She did make an excellent cafe latte, though, and we talked quite a bit about her situation. Some of her friends arrived and I decided to go home again and leave them to their friendship.

A friend, JM, texted me this evening – a sort of in-joke between us – about another company like his own, failing to make a buck. This time:

Snapchat – loss 514 mill dollars or something this quarter or year or whatever. But still investors pour money in it. They believe.

Like the child, who could have been our child, in Somalia believes that someone will save it from hunger which could be done for about a dollar per day. Which will be done a bit this Saturday with the national fundraiser for Africa.

The child believes, because it has to. Until proven otherwise by stark reality.

It hurts to write this.

And belief … it is many things.

It is also one man’s belief that he has the right to be a dictator in Russia.

It is another one’s belief in the US that he has a right to use presidential power to fuel business deals. And much more.

The world is an unjust place and you better believe it. It is insanely unjust in many ways, if you just zoom in on some of the most egregious examples.

I could be a cynic and say it doesn’t matter that a young woman meets me with thinly veiled despair about her joblessness and just earning a few measly bucks making coffee when she spent years of her life for a degree.

So many people are in worse shape than her; in a worse place.

She’ll make it. If she want’s it enough. I guess …

I could say that. About her.

I could say it. About my own fears and problems.

But I find that, despite the heartlessness of the child suffering in Somalia or the idiocy of president Trump and its potentially lethal consequences for the world, I do care.

I do care about that young woman. I do care about her sense that all that she learned of deep insights at university about the world seems to matter not once she is out in that real world.

I do care about dreams being challenged and turning to temporary despair, like my own did years ago when I left university; and even before. When I came out into a world that didn’t really care much for my dreams.

And I suppose it matters that I care about such things, like all things that have to do with other people’s happiness, because … what else is there?

What else is there that makes sense to care about?

It won’t make anyone in Russia, Somalia or the US any happier that I don’t care about a single person’s not-so-life-threatening-loss of a single dream. Including my own losses.

We have to care about more than survival. Even when others don’t survive.

Because just like we need to live a life in general which is a beacon to those who are struggling over the finish-line for survival, we also need to show them what that life is going to mean – once they are there.

And I don’t mean getting a life with two cars and three iPhones, once you stop worrying about getting bread.

I mean a life in which you are ready to get bread for the soul. And damn well fight for it, because you know just how important it is for that soul to survive.

And an education spurred by passion is a soul’s project. And it can be made useful and even profitable given time, and without ‘selling out’.

If it is knowledge you love then there are ways to live from that. It starts with trying to see how you can make that knowledge useful.

Because that is what the soul really wants, I believe.