Homelessness in America is a scandal and a moral crime. We are the wealthiest country in the world, and yet, in every major city I’ve been to, I’ve noticed the homeless population rising.
I have written about affordable housing enough in my day job to know the housing problem is complex. But after every story I write and every real estate professional I talk to, I come away with the feeling there are endless excuses as to why the homelessness problem can’t be solved or at least significantly diminished. I mostly get the feeling that most people who can truly solve the problem don’t care, and greed is the primary factor. Increasingly, these injustices no longer shock me, and they seem commonplace and almost inherent in the human species, something that will never change.
We are in New York City for a few weeks, for the 4th of July, a holiday I don’t feel much like celebrating this year. We’re very close to Central Park and Harlem. NYC is amazing; everything is on a grand scale. And I think every type of human being or variation of the human species is represented here among the millions in the city. The diversity is startling, and the amount of bizarre and outrageous things I’ve seen so far is impressive.
I have made a conscious effort to disconnect from social media over the past week, and my mental health has improved dramatically. I’ve concluded that social media has some benefits, but, for the most part, the negatives outweigh them. The platforms are designed, I think, to make you angry, unsettled, and afraid, and I’ve had enough of that.
The arguments about what’s going on in America and the world right now have gotten to such a fever pitch that it almost doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks anymore. There are forces at play like a giant wave or tsunami wiping everything out, all sense of decency and decorum. For a while, I was shouting my opinions until I realized the noise and ambient hatred around me were so great that my voice was drowned out and mattered not at all.
This journal entry, which I will post online, is but a small decimal point in the ocean of data and words on the global internet. It will be read, forgotten, and then swept up by the sea of constant content generation. It will be forgotten by me, too. Everything happening all at once, all the time, in real-time. Sensory overload, brain filled with bytes, our future is a cyberpunk one: high tech, low life.
I am preparing myself, mentally and emotionally, for The Great Catastrophe, whatever that happens to be, and I think my pessimism and anticipatory anxiety lessens the more I disconnect from the internet hate machine.
Walking through Central Park, the first time I’ve been in nature in a while, I was reminded there’s much more to the world. Under a canopy of trees and greenery, things make more sense. Nature, too, can be vicious, but it is mostly not, especially on a bright summer day. Each moment like this passes so quickly and collapses into the future, yet a memory remains that can be accessed in my mind’s eye. I have many memories like that from times not too long ago that suddenly feel distant and like someone else’s life.