September 28, 2012
Have you ever stopped to think about what you do every day? Not for what immediate purpose you do it - but what you are literally doing. Does it make sense? I assume you are a rational actor in your own life. You must first satiate your immediate physical needs. You've gotta eat.
When you eat - what do you eat? I do not care to know literally what you eat, whether it's Animal, Vegetable or Mineral; or why you eat it - because the reason is of course Hunger. Instead I want to know where it came from, and how did it get to where it is when you eat it?
A clever and ecologically conscious reader might snap back that they eat "local" and "organic" foods. But those are very relative terms.
If you have food you did not steal or grow or were given then you bought it. If you have money that you did not steal or were given than you earned it. How did you earn that money? The truth of the expression "Money doesn't grow on trees" cuts both ways - so to speak. Money can not in face be plucked from the trees the way leaves can - instead you must travel, sweat, work, save, and travel again to get it - even if it's not a physical good, and only exists on a computer somewhere. We are surrounded by great wealth yet we earn miniscule returns. Our jobs are things which Rob us and traveling to and from them is something that Robs us all.
In another sense, all money grows on trees - that is to say - in the same way that workers create all wealth. Money, even cotton and paper and metal money, is picked, mined, and harvested from the natural world's resources.
This entire modern world is built on oil. "Burning gas" is something we are compelled to do for money that only exists because of Burning gas. My friend, can you see the madness yet?
A reactionary against the industrial revolution, or a progressive against neoliberalism, either of which you may very well be, would at this point wish to scream:
If only it were so simple. Many of us, perhaps all of us, deep in our psyches, recognize that there is something wrong. Something terribly, systemically wrong. Something's wrong that voting, activism, cheer-leading and hero-worship can't fix.
Is the best idea. It's the only new idea. It's not a book or a philosophy or ideology or anything else. Stopping is not giving up. We Stop so we can Start again. Like waking up from a nightmare in a cold sweat... it is Morning in America. Or ought to be.