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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

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Atomic man

An argument for health

I’m atomic, man. Imagine being wrong, all the time. Everything that you hold near and dear to your heart is readily disproven by some contrivance of science. Your peers are constantly comparing your character to what is conventional, or really that which seems, and you are invariably a blatant deviation. This eccentricity is universally noted and takes the form of prejudice against you; there is nothing you can do to save face. You cannot own anything, property or idea, unless at the permission of those around you. At every moment you are under attack for the deviant thoughts you conceive, sometimes even the thought of having a deviant thought is under threat. The possibility of personal objection is rightly objectionable. A positive act of objection is nearly impossible. Your reality is simply an illusion granted by some mighty act of another’s gratuity. It is unnecessary that you are here, really. 

And so you sit down on your cushioned leather recliner to reminisce. You think of what could have meaning. You think of your friends; the bad outweighs the good. The weight of the years worth of interactions hardly moves the needle of the scale of mutual understanding in friendship. You accept the fact that your friend’s deceitful slander erases the value of your personal experience, and only the superficial formalities remain to be weighed. 

And so you sink further into your cushioned leather recliner to contemplate. You think of your romance, something that used to have meaning to you before everyone told you otherwise. What was once a limitless affection is now a carnal desire worthy of humiliation. Instead of your previous disposition to give, you are conditioned to take and keep. Romantic relationships are strictly transactional and zero sum, at best. It would be more useful to cash out at the expense of the other before the other cashes out at the expense of you. There is an inevitable limit to the romantic relationship, but you choose to bring it about prematurely. 

And so, you remain inert in the cushioned leather recliner to subsist for an eternity. You think of your job, then your career. What once was a brief two years of necessary misery has become a lifetime of unbearable misery. Your decision to stifle your intellectual passion has reduced you to a slave to another’s passion for wealth. At the moment of realization of slavery, it is far too late. You question if the tradeoff was worth it: lifelong flourishing for a growth spurt in your youth. You are not allowed to answer. No. 

You affirm that your existence is meaningless. But in an unprecedented surge of energy you jump up out of the seat with a pugilistic body language. How can this be? The myth of the volatility of man’s heart has long been undercut by social consensus coupled with fact checks. Could it be that you were the first anomaly? Your emotional rush, the frenzy, elicits glaring stares from the friendly entities in the room. And so, you gently rest yourself back onto the cushioned leather recliner and fade into nothingness. 

I’m atomic, man. What would it look like if your identity was worthy of praise? Imagine if it were possible to announce your worth to the masses, and some, not necessarily all, could agree with you. Your eccentricity could possibly be a point of commendation, rather than contention. Though there were some who could disagree with you, there was nobody who had the ultimate authority to limit your thoughts or thoughts about thinking. Your peers could compare your character to that which is, rather than that which seems. Your reality has the capacity to be aligned to a universally objective reality of truth. Perhaps, you could even find meaning and value in friendships, romantic relationships and a career. 

Is this second scenario too idealized? Is it too lofty a goal to ask of society? The same society that has taken preference to the first scenario is bound for self-destruction. It is characterized by an absolute commitment to disenfranchise nearly half the population. This half is disincentivized, punished, and even barred from acting on their deviant thoughts. They cannot do what they want to do, rather they can do what they are allowed to do. One should think that it is preposterous to stifle the unruly, volatility of the human heart, but it is attempted and with great success. Such is misery, and there is no end to it. A culture of silence is one achieved through deliberate suffocation. A culture of evil is achieved through subjectivism. We once knew right from wrong, but now we are told to just smile. 

Jonah Tran is a sophomore at Notre Dame double majoring in finance and classics with a minor in Constitutional studies. He prides himself on sarcasm and his home — the free state of Florida. You can contact Jonah by email at jtran5@nd.edu.


Jonah Tran

Jonah Tran is a sophomore at Notre Dame studying finance, classics and constitutional studies. He prides himself on sarcasm and his home — the free state of Florida. You can contact Jonah at jtran5@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.