The other day, someone called me delusional. They meant it as an insult and obviously didn’t know that I wouldn’t take it as such. It reminded me of the time someone called me crazy with similar intentions of undermining my resolve. Both these people were unconsciously demanding that I get back in line. They were obediently puppeting the popular social narrative that straying outside of the norm is threatening and must be stopped at all costs.
As creatives, our ideas can often lead people to question our sanity. Our work can do everything from make people uncomfortable to start a revolution. So of course folx want us to shut up and sit down. Change—even beneficial change—can cause us great amounts of distress. We are creatures of habit and would rather settle for the familiar than risk everything for something better. Even if the familiar is painful or dehumanizing.
So, yes, I am delusional in the way that all creatives are delusional. While I have a healthy grasp on reality, I also get that so much of what we consider “rational” is defined by current oppressive power structures. Being hopeful, curious, and empathetic feels like an essential anecdote to a world that is cannibalizing itself at a distressing rate. At this point, being delusional is what makes getting out of bed in the morning possible for me.
As humans, our capacity to try to avoid disruption is impressive and devastating. Rather than risk stepping out of line and challenging the norm, we confine ourselves to limiting beliefs of our own making. Then, we demand that other folx do the same as not to threaten the carefully constructed paradigm that we’re trying to enforce. In this way, oppressive power structures continue to thrive and we continue to suffer.
The human who called me delusional could have been doing so because at some point someone had done the same to them. Or they could be doing it out of malice. Either way, I doubt they were doing it because they could clearly see that they had a choice to think differently about a topic that was challenging their worldview. Their response was reactionary at best and more telling of their own delusions about reality than mine.
I frequently remind myself that no one knows what they are doing. Not really. We are too limited by our humanness to fully comprehend the complexity of ourselves and the world. Which is why we continue to discover new things and make new mistakes. While this could be cause for hopelessness, it can also be a cause for hope. Our world may be falling to pieces but maybe we can save ourselves and the earth before it’s too late, however delusional that possibility is.
What keeps you going when the future looks bleak?