A Few Solutions
I’ve been born without smoking in bars. Without a “real'” war with a “real” enemy, rather these Middle Eastern spectre hunts, and interventions in littler conflicts, surely for some advantage to be gained therein. I’ve always grown up hearing “this is fucked“. And in the last 5 years (or so long as I’ve been conscious of more than the contents of my pants) social and political and change-oriented conversation and media expressions have gained a lot of popularity in the social media. New ways of life are bubbling. I personally see this social-ecological-political-militar-industrial not lasting more than 20 years. I feel as though that number may recede as time passes, but it’s impossible for me to say. Change in our lives in a very “disruptive ” way (if you haven’t foreseen the need) will be necessary. I don’t know if every age is one of “its all changing!” but this is hard to extricate the thinking processes from. It’s an infectious zeitgeist in which to embroil one’s puff of life, but the search is barren of one thing: a basic goal.
We want more rights, better rights, for the resources of the Earth to benefit all who lives upon it, and for those things we can control as humans to provide for and accommodate all of us, and an efficient system of learning about and adjusting to our environment to avoid calamity, cause we don’t do well (especially in herds) with bad things happening. H.G. Wells’ “The Shape of Things to Come” (1933) pointed to the general agreements among common-folk that shit’s fucked up and bullshit, but such an over-specialized way of viewing the world, that the vantage necessary to arrive at a workable conclusion on any objective terms was unimaginable. That first must come the ability to see the system to which we contribute, and the repercussions outwards of our collective effects, for this concept map to be a common reference, as it has in many areas of more or less radical social, scientific, and political life. Even if only in lip-service at this point. But any time anything too specific is mentioned, it’s undercut, for the presumption that x-current-condition must/will continue and there’s no workable way to fit that into this new conception (ex. “human nature”, war, greed, laziness, etc.), and a way to salvage what is ultimately the problem is always undertaken with much fervor.
Fuck that, here are some solutions as they occur to me.
- Pursue sustainable technology alternatives to preserve the internet’s free market of ideas (make more free!) I have lived for 2 years now in a very sustainability-minded community within Toronto. One very common point raised is the unsustainable practices needed (socially, but also ecologically) and that discontinuing this is necessary in any new mode of operating. This is said through blog posts, tweets, texts, and conversations in everything from wifi enabled cafes, to well heated, ventilated, and stocked houses and even some sustainably powered ones. So the actual boiling back of usage will likely be by necessity if our race decides not to plan around that, and I don’t doubt we can do that. If we recycled what we’ve used, strategize remaining reserves toward the homeostasis and healing of humanity and the Earth, and continue the vital process of ephemeralization, or doing more with less.I don’t think that for our planet this needs to mean a drastic reduction in population or the utility of what we use today. I think less people would be easier to educate properly and give us more time (less mouths, longer resources lasts), and so would be ideal until we could increase the amount of people sustainably carried by our systems. I don’t think any decision making on our behalf will be involved in any population adjustments should they occur. I don’t rule it out… But I think that the potential for creation by humans has been worked toward for centuries by too many people to decide “we’ve had enough” of scientific development and achieving a closer approximation of the reality completely, and adopt a pre-industrial, involuntarily-localize
- (Re)start small? The need to be forced into dealing with each other really, possibly facilitated by dwindling oil economy, etc. I do, despite not seeing technology as guaranteed addiction, consumption, domination, and destruction if handled responsibly, see the great benefits in increased proximity and personal interaction as a long-term investment in the vast nature of modern cosmopolitanism (or “multi-culturalism”, though for me this points too much to the people, and not enough to the universality that they are related to). If people who are fundamentally the same, but groomed in all manner of different cultures and perspectives, are to work together with constructive friction (the muscle breaks down, and it rebuilt stronger), then getting past our enclaves and in-groups and xenophobia is fundamental. The business-barrier. The anonymity of urban life and especially in our legal interactions, Dispassionate stances are not indifferent ones, and this distinction needs much more expression in our social decorum. Such tools as group communication in high schools to resolve bullying issues. This book will serve everyone quite well. And this one, if you’re good at looking past presentation to content. Make “sharing” and active communication and self examination part of our interpersonal culture.
- Meditate er’ry day, y’all -be at peace. When practiced continually, (especially?) in a purely secular way, meditation is a massive boon to the mental atmosphere. The practice of mindfullness, or the same thing you do while shooting, training for sports, playing a videogame, or await a lover’s text, only directed to much more subtle stimuli. Sam Harris will tell you about the perceptions shifts possible in not what you do but how you do it, and his experience with Vipassana meditation (free 10 day courses available in India, Asia & Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe, Australia & New Zealand, Middle East, and Africa!)Very simply: the concept of “I” is a process, not a noun. The illusion of the “consciousness behind the eyes” plays out in the many social insecurities and their resultant ills, and can be first identified, then worked upon, by using straight-forward self-observation and the practice of equanimity. Watch Sam.
- Resist unhealthy practices in the workplace (over-working, repression, servitude, etc.)
Or elsewhere! But any change you feel you need to put into practice needs to happen now, not later! The time and attitudes are right, and the need is very dire. The aspects of our lives that prevent us from properly living them (not enough time for kids, hobbies, social interest, continuing education, or breathing, anyone?) are not healthy, and they are socially destructive in aggregate. Unless the norm becomes workers demanding not the minimum, but a good standard of health in the hours and times they work, in the social customs they uphold, in the expressions they are permitted amongst staff and with clients, and the alternatives to the general dictatorship model of employment. This model, teamed with how we educate, how we parent, how we mediate conflict, and how we deal with our personal demons: we squash into shape at the cost of undertaking necessary growth processes to fit our fucking invented economic cycle!!! So educate yourself on healthy models of macro & micro social nucleation and then act in a way that you feel upholds and protects the needs society has that it’s your responsibility, as the conscious and able, to do!
- Have one child, and adopt – live with others This is a controversial one, but I feel it needs to be practice that we do not confine our children primarily to our prejudices and biases, only pass on what the change can use to create their outlook and determine their environment, not the conclusions they should arrive at. We are fleshy science labs, like the computer-program idea from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We are ideally suited to continual update if we orient ourselves in that way (and in a continually updating reality, wow, how fucking handy). Our current rate of growth needs to be leveled if we’re to afford an investment in a new planetary way of being, and the best investment we can make with our children rearing is to reduce impact in a certainly tumultuous future with a globally lowered birth rate, and with super-educated children, reared by a community of experiences who encourage the independent inquiry of the child, and it’s co-operation in explorations with peers.
- Be scientifically and mathematically literate! Listen to Neil Degrasse Tyson tell it, yo. By using your “left-brain”, or more accurately, by using specific organelles of the brain, you are more enabled to function in the ways that those constructs are specialized, and depending how they are developed, you will become a new person in that process. Even if you never use trigonometry. The perspective and understanding you are capable of with a solid foundation in math and science will enable your thinking profoundly. It’s what social change in it’s biggest ways to date, have been built on.
- Prevent crime without an “anti-criminal” attitude; resolving bullying without an “anti-bullying” stance. This is self-explanatory, and self-evident if you are familiar with how little moral judgement has play a role in the reduction of crime, prison populations, and stolen cookies everywhere, ever, in the long run.
- Either allow religion, or don’t. Some don’t like gay people. If we’re allowing the equal expression of opinions and it’s promotion through public subsidy and accommodation in the realm of religion, then the Westboro Baptist Church, sadly, gets to play too. And Catholic schools can discourage sex, or just certain kinds of sex, to their content. And all sorts of Abrahamic offshoots are perfectly within their rights to convince their children that God knows the world was created 4 or 6 thousand years ago, and that’s proof enough. And many many many anti-social, hindering, ugly beliefs (along with and not denying the charity, community, and stability of religious associations overall) are given safe harbour under the roof of God. This illustrates to me the dire need for community-identification and accountability, if that sense can only be fostered enthusiastically under the auspices of an imagined judge. I certainly do not advocate widespread superstition, but neither widespread hypocrisy, which is precisely what it is to allowed religious freedom “until it’s too much”. I could (all will) spill more on this one specifically later, but really. They’re social control and education programs for the illiterate ages, and probably not much else. No go fuck someone.