BY URVIL JAMES VILLARUEL
Nov. 28, 2015, Toronto, ON - Whether it be music, video games, TV, caffeine, carbs, sugar, fat, cocaine, LSD, marijuana or mushrooms - we're all on drugs.
Drugs help us to power through the day and get what we need to get done, done. So how is our vice any different from the drugs that we perceive homeless people to "use"? Regardless of if it’s caffeine or crack, we all have a vice. The only separation being our own perceived un-attachment to our chosen vice. That is the key. Un-attachment to the stimulus. One step before over-stimulation.
Personally, if I go a day without caffeine, it may suck, but I don’t rely on it to the point of confusing it with a need. We all have a medium, a middle path, and knowing that middle keeps our set point from venturing too far from the stimulated into the over-stimulated.
For me, my middle path may be way different from another’s middle. What I deem as “acceptable” may not be seen as so in the eyes of another - and that’s OK. No one said that we were all bred to be the same. Similarly, the life of a person living on the street is conceivably much harder to endure than my own. Their middle will undoubtedly be on the latter scale of mine, simply because of their level of hardship; but that's up to them.
Cocaine has often been considered to be the stronger cousin of caffeine. It’s an upper. Now isn’t it conceivable that when waking up on a daily basis to the fact that you have no home, no secure source of food, no objects but the ones you carry with you, no help, no family, no community - nothing - that you may need a little something more? Who can really judge another person’s struggle when they haven’t even lived a second in that other person’s shoes?
We all despise being told that we "don’t really need that.” We resent the messenger for telling us what to do - as if they truly know any better (though sometimes they do) - and yet, we exercise that exact same judgement on those we see, but know nothing about.
So, the next time you see a homeless person on the street, I’m not saying to just go and give your money away, but simply be awake to the truth: we all have vices. We are all living in a world of stimulation.
Maybe then we can begin to look at life a little bit differently.
No better, no worse. Only same-same, but different.