Friday, February 3, 2012

How appreciation is activist

It is not hard to see that there is much that is not working around us--everything from government's continuing failures to a lack of community resiliency and a reliance on others to make decisions for our personal lives. Much of these failures arise from our continual cultural want for more. We want better infrastructure, cheaper access to things made around the world, continued materialism. And the providers of our wants can't keep up with our demands. Furthermore, there is a differential access to provisions, further exacerbating inequalities that currently exist. I will be the first to admit that this power dynamic must change, but maybe the way we are going about creating the change is futile. Are there ways in which we don't have to directly feed the system and cause these changes? Might appreciation be activist?

Activism as we currently think about it is about taking a stand for something, generally with political motives and outcomes. That something could be promoting firearms legislation allowing everyone easy access to guns. Activism can also be about taking a stand against something, like trying to block firearms legislation that allows such easy access to guns, again, with political motives and outcomes. But I also think that activism can also be about doing something we are not culturally programmed to do, and to appreciate is one of those things. And that's what turns appreciation from an acceptance of the way things are to something that is political.
This is a system, a culture, that is driven by a decided unappreciation of everything--of our bodies, of the land beneath our feet, the air we breath, and the water we drink. We cherish and respect the things we appreciate. We seem to violently demolish everything that we don't. And because this is a kind of activism, a way of being that this culture does not know, it does not know how to deal with it. If we are to change "the system" fundamentally, I think that we must act in activist ways that don't lend legitimacy to the system, but rather in ways that destabilise it. Appreciate what you have. This appreciation then opens up our lives to more positivity, and more control over ourselves, rather than continually giving proxies to others.

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