Martin Luther King

Of Friends & Foes

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ~ Martin Luther King

It has now been 50 years since the iconic speech of Martin Luther King, I Have A Dream, delivered on the 28th of August, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Five decades later, and that dream still remains a dream, far away from reality. The racial discrimination has definitely sunk down since, but one can still see the ship right beneath the surface of the water. Even if racial discrimination is ever left in humanity’s past, what about discrimination based on age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, looks, disabilities, and all the other forms of this venom humanity has been using daily for millenniums now? Is there any possibility that every human being can live a single day without the fear of being treated differently? The answer to that lies within each of us, but only when everyone chooses the right answer it can truly become reality.

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” ~ Bob Marley

We mark our lives and history with nothing but labels. If one is persistent to put a label on other people, then obviously some can be friends, some foes, and some can remain unlabeled. But are our friends fully “friends”, and are foes fully “foes? My personal opinion, which is similar to Marley’s quote above, is that there exists no human being who completely fits the description of a friend or a foe. Every human being we interact with will, eventually, in some way, hurt us and help us. We might not know how, we might not notice it, but sooner or later it is bound to happen and it is everything but insignificant. Every little details counts toward shaping our lives and with that shaping ourselves as a character.

People are going to hurt us, sometimes more times than they’re going to help us, because it’s how the world works. If they are truly our friends then it will always be unintentional, and if they are our foes then it will always be intentional. But the worst kinds are those in-between. Friends are great as they’re there to return to you the help you give them in times of need, and foes are brilliant as they’re there to keep us motivated and moving forward. But those in-between, there is nothing good in them and relying on them will surely bring you to your downfall. They’re not reliable, they’re never there where you need them but are always there when they need you, they’d never even have anything to do with you unless they didn’t have some use of you or see potential use and are simply keeping you around in case they need you. Those are the folks that would be happy to see your downfall so as long as it ensures they keep going up. Treachery and pain are their main skills, and they’ll use them often and freely.

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

To trust someone means to be willing to put your life in their hands. It means trusting them with the greatest of all responsibilities — keeping you soul intact. But in this world that is nothing like the one Martin Luther King envisioned, how do you decide whom to give that responsibility to? How do we decide the worth of a human being? The answer is, sadly, you can’t. At least you will never know unless the opposite happens. The saying “innocent until proven otherwise” is how we often see people. We try to keep the best of them in front of us, we try to make friends before making foes. And, although many people say forgiving is all, doesn’t one have to be super naive and frankly a bit stupid to forgive everyone and for everything? Doesn’t that only lead to more pain and suffering? Or well, forgive, but do not forget. If you’re fooled once, make sure you’re not fooled twice.

As it happens, I tend to do the opposite method of seeing everyone as “guilty until proven otherwise”. This was not always the case, but over time in life you learn that nothing is as it seems, it’s usually worse and the worst has yet to come. I’m a Weeping Angel statue ready to send to oblivion anyone who turns their back to me, or even blinks (read: lies) to my face. Once, humanity’s goal was to work together and advance as a species, but nowadays we’re trying to advance our gadgets and technologies and while doing those upgrades we’re downgrading our value as species. We’re no longer what we are, now we are what society wants us to be. I only pity the dreamers such as Martin Luther King, who will likely never see their dreams fulfilled.