Saturday, January 7, 2012

Step outside your life and thoughts

One of the reasons why it is difficult for us to make changes in our lives is because we are too immersed in them, and people of different socio-economic statuses (SES) are immersed in them in different ways.

Many people of low SES live day to day, paycheck to paycheck, and always live in the uncertainty that the government will make some stupid decision to further trample on their lives "for the greater good". As an outsider to this group, it seems to me that it can be difficult for many people of low SES to think differently of their lives because they struggle to make ends meet. Although it may seem difficult to blame them for this, Wangari Maathai did, with incredible outcomes.

Many of the people of middle SES, like me, are caught up in their lives differently. Although we do not struggle to make ends meet, we are immersed in our lives because we are now constantly distracted; there is no time for us to think about anything other than our material gratification. With constant streams of stimuli and minutiae from things like Facebook and Twitter and e-mail, it is easy to get caught up in cycles of unawareness of what is around us. Tim DeChristopher, more famously known as Bidder #70 believes that this stream of stimuli has been concocted precisely so we remain unaware of what is truly going on around us, so that we do not question how we ought to be living or changing our lives. (Read this revealing conversation about his life and thoughts with Terry Tempest Williams.)
But also just my views on how to live, and what actually makes me happy; how to form a little community out there with a few people; how human actions really work when there isn’t a TV telling us what to do—that all formed out there. And I think that’s part of why some people fight against wilderness, fight to extinguish all of it. I mean, I think there’s definitely a lot of folks who don’t understand it, and have never experienced it. But I think some of the opponents of wilderness really do understand it. They understand...
Those of high SES, like the one percent, are caught up in glamour, glitz, and fashion, and, well, "work". Many of them have purposefully been involved in the creation and coercion of policies that have taken away the wilderness, that have produced the streams of stimuli and minutiae, just so that we remain unaware, uneducated, illiterate, a few steps behind the curve. There isn't really much that I can say about these people, for many have known nothing other than lives full of material and monetary wealth.

What got me thinking about all of this was my time home with my parents, and a claymation video that Acacia showed me a while ago based on Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger. My dad and I have very different views about the world, which makes conversation very interesting and challenging for me. Below you can find the video to Mysterious Stranger. While it is a little freaky and portrays humans in a rather negative light, (at least) I found the manner in which the little village was outside of the children's lives to be a very compelling way of communicating how immersed we are in our lives.

I, too, get caught up in my thoughts, it seems. Over the past years, as I have become more and more immersed in writing and thinking that you see on this blog, I have been guilty of not viewing events from different angles. And I think that this can do a disservice to my advocacy, to the advocacy of the justice movement. It is only if we understand the forces at play from all directions that we can come up with meaningful steps and actions and find chinks in the armor of this culture.

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