Jan 18, 2008

Is It Worth It?

Sometimes, it's hard not to lose hope in processes and in people - it's hard not to feel that it's impossible to find some kind of truth in this system that's twirling around us (or spinning with malevolent intent, depending on your particular point of view at the time).

It's also hard not to feel like people have become so shut off from whatever impact their actions and (in)actions have upon the world. Learning about injustice is only one step, but putting some of the things we've learned into practice, well that's not so easy. I suppose even taking small steps like becoming a vegetarian is not an easy thing, but people who aren't born into that system take the steps to make that happen. It's just that I can do whatever I want to reduce my energy consumption, carbon footprint, and waste, but the next person is going to do double and wipe out my effort.

In a bit of a leap from there, I guess that while anarchists and rigid marxists are often labeled as nihilistic (and maybe that's true for anyone who questions the status quo), I think that capitalism and mass consumption is far more nihilistic. In focusing only inward, in thinking only about how something will affect yourself, you've taken the rest of the world out of the picture - it's as if it doesn't exist, or it doesn't matter that it does. That's scary stuff. Billions of individuals, all acting under the false premise that they are alone, or that the physical ramifications of their choices, decisions, and actions don't really make a difference of any kind, freeing them up to do whatever they want.

It's funny - on one hand, the universal conceit of humans is that we believe that we are the pinnacle of what natural processes (or intelligent design if that's your cup of tea) have created and therefore, the earth and everything on it is ours for the taking/breaking/making. Because we think, and we rationalize our place in this world, we are above the "beasts." On the other hand, though we are more conscious of the impact of our actions upon the world, when it's convenient, the majority wants to believe that the best and most efficient system is the "free market" system -- the economic and social equivalent of an empirical natural formula: let things take care of themselves without regulation, and there will be an equilibrium in which we can all exist. Feels like of like sticking your head in the sand after you create the desert. Knawimean?

It's not like I'm immune from this or that I'm speaking from up on high. But people get so entrenched in their thinking and are better at rationalizing why they should continue to live their lives as they do than use this miracle of thought and reason to make something of their small place on the planet. But if this were to become a lament of the futility and idleness of human beings, well, this would be a very long, sad rant. And this whole frustrating thing makes me sad enough. People wake up!

I may have to watch an inspirational video or something to get me out of it.

1 comment:

abaran said...

Let's go to Atlantic City. That way, we can thumb our noses at the man -- we don't need his stinkin' money!