I’m currently sitting in a park in Lisbon, reading a book by one of my favourite authors, lifestyle philosopher Roman Kznaric: Carpe Diem Regained. The book discusses how the idea of ‘carpe diem’ or seizing the day has been wrangled from us and corrupted in a way that it has lost its authenticity and presents us with arguments and cases in which it can be regained in the modern day.
Coincidentally, I had a moment where I found myself in a situation that called upon me to seize the day. A situation in which I did nothing. And in doing nothing, I made my choice to allow an opportunity for change to slip away. As Jean-Paul Sartre insisted…
“What is not possible is not to choose. I must know that if I do not choose, that is still a choice.”
Here’s what happened:
There are two mothers and their children kicking a ball around when the ball flies awry and hits one of the kids in the face. The child, unsurprisingly, reacts by crying to which the mother says to ‘stop crying like a girl’. The moment those words were uttered from her lips I found myself suppressing a very strong urge to interject with a comment about toxic masculinity. I stopped myself. Why? Maybe out of a respect for the autonomous agency she has to parent as she deems fit. But should I have? Could I, by interjecting, have brought this mother to realise the effects that her throw away phrase could be having on her son. That she’s actually putting herself down by instilling a belief of male superiority in her child, perpetuating an outdated notion that comes from the centuries of female suppression at the hands, and mouths of the patriarchy.
There’s the argument to be made that we should always stand up against subconscious acts of discrimination because unless it’s being called out at every turn, widespread societal change is going to move at a glacial pace. It’s an argument that I’m inclined to agree with. That I should have chosen to take action as opposed to doing nothing, regardless of the potential immediate consequence of awkwardness or possibly being told to mind my own business. Because really, isn’t how we craft our future all of our business?