Stuck in a rut? Boxed in? Force to conform in a world that makes no sense? These are questions most of us ask at one point or another in our lives. And the answers are often less than satisfactory, but what then are we expecting? Actual change?
Perhaps a better question is why are things, life, social conditions and structures, the way they are? We preach freedom and opportunity as though they are available to all, that they are sacred to the American creed, and they are what separate us from the weight and dross of our, mostly, European heritage. It’s our great overriding myth.
But is it true?
Just enough, otherwise it falls into legend or fraud. The fascinating part of modern life, of the impact of capitalism into every cranny of that life, is that we the people have been removed from existence to mere observers and bit players; this is true of those who we presuppose to be running the show or being the locus of our interests, to those who are lost to all but their immediate interactions. How much of our life is directed to our own immediate needs and pleasures? Aren’t they all? Are they?
Ask yourself this:
Of the work that you do, how much value or payment do you derive as apposed to who you work for or the government? How much of your time is spent watching other in activities you yourself are capable of doing? How much of your time is demanded by your community from which you derive some form of support; do you have an identifiable community? How influenced are you by people and events that do not affect you directly in any way other than to provoke in you an emotional response? Why do you do what you do; to live; to survive; to create? Do you have time to create?
We live in an environment that more and more asks for our time and energy for purposes from which we do not materially or emotionally gain. We are workers and spectators; creating wealth of which we only secure a small portion and of our “free” time, we spend more and more of it in passive observation.
Don’t think so?
How much of your food do you produce; how much game or livestock do you kill or butcher? How many of your possessions are of your own creation? How many are functional, necessary for day to day living? Clothing. Furniture. Machines. Could you entertain yourself without your phone, TV, computer; without even books?
We are the products of our time and the systems that invariably control us. The vast majority of people in the modern world are long divorced from the land, from the dirt, from the vagaries of simple existence. We are, instead, part of a very large intertwined and interconnected international commercial enterprise that we are led to believe cares for us, but is in fact the source of our dread and worry for we know, whether intrinsically or subconsciously, that our welfare and the basis upon which it is formed is never as stable as it pretends to be.
Yeah, yeah, yeah; what’s the point here, bub?
The point is understanding why we’re here, how we got here, why is my little plot of heaven what it is, not to mention the world, and what that tells us we can expect in our days of future past. Please see part 3.
© David William Pearce