I asked myself the other day if I knew what starvation felt like. The slow decay of the body as it eats itself until there is nothing left, the lack of energy and motivation, time slowing down and meaning nothing without food. I thought about if I knew what that felt like. I tried imagining the Oxford Dictionary’s listings of starvation; I used every bit of imagination I had. I added adjectives in front of starvation to create abstract meanings: intellectual starvation, cultural starvation, artistic starvation. After all that effort, I still wondered if I had any — even a remote — idea what starvation felt like?
In an uncertain time we generally point fingers whenever we feel starvation, raising our voices so that our opinions are a bullhorn to a mouse point. “Why you can’t cut education, that’s starving a child’s mind,” or “The cause of starvation here is special interest programs, we must cut these,” and so on and so forth, you know the rhetoric. People do get hostile quick whenever they think the table’s going to be empty of their favorite dish, however abstract or literal you want to take that.
So as we go further along with all this starvation (I’m not getting any more specific, that’s your job) happening around us, I look to my peers and see that most of us are expecting to be fed. We sit with mouths open, tongues out, anticipating someone else to cure our starvation. A miracle hand that also wipes the excess off our lips and tells us we’re angels. Aw.
As a generation we cannot understand what starvation feels like and as we encounter this numbing, this silent protest from within ourselves at the empty table, I cannot help but wonder why. Why can’t we be resourceful? Why can’t we feed ourselves? Have we been raised so long with too much that we can’t go without luxuries? That we can’t fend for ourselves?
I asked myself if I knew what starvation felt like. I’m fully aware that it’s something I must make-do with, which I also should understand a drought before I accuse a food shortage. I understand that for the shortcomings on the table, I’ll have to make up on my own. I understand that the world is bigger than I am and I think that’s the best way to be prepared for starvation.
Daniel Purdy is an English senior from Oxford.