Yes, We Can!

By: Bela Johnson

Sep 05 2011

Tags: ,

Category: culture, politics, psychology

4 Comments

It’s easy to extol the benefits of freedom if one has nothing much to lose. Harder minding that course when loss is both significant and sure. Concepts are helpful conceptually, but once we are old enough to recognize that certain themes seem to recur cyclically, we are less disposed to blindly cast our lot to the winds of change; more inclined to reflect and determine if we are about to commit the same errors yet again without benefit of the learning.

Knowing the extent to which we are liable for our own impact on the state of the world, it is difficult to stay with the pain and uncertainty of it, to remain centered in wholeness while encountering profound loss. And yet this is our challenge. Stay appeared more the cognomen of my mother’s generation. Stay, despite hardship, another’s substance abuse, in spite of one’s own emotional and physical wounding and utter loss of pleasure in any corner of life, stay. In marked contrast, my generation rebelled, some say rightly so, as we cultivated gratification at any cost; as we exhibited flagrant disregard in maintaining any sort of connection that smacked of self abnegation. Those who protested the Vietnam war and expatriated themselves did so with hardly a backward glance. Idealism reigned; freedom was ours for the claiming. We ran screaming from an impracticable past and the rest of the world noticed and took heart.

Not surprisingly, ours was precursor to the Me generation that followed. Pendulums swing. Now as we surf the long tidal wave of overdue; as it breaks onto shores, severing restrictive bonds especially pertaining to minorities – women, children, the dispossessed – we simultaneously face crises of global proportion. Our own government is corrupt and many social services past generations struggled to establish, including the sacred cow of Social Security, stand thigh deep in jeopardy. As a species on Planet Earth we are running perilously low in available resources, including food and water. Natural disasters further rattle the underpinnings of the collective. Developing nations are rapidly escalating their expansion, striving toward the template of “free” enterprise an adolescent nation created. In the end, who can be held accountable?

The best may yet lie before us, but certainly not without taking stock of what we have shaped and wrought upon the rhythms of the natural world. Denial or justification cannot replace honest soul-searching. We must begin, in earnest now, to actively model and implement sustainable change at a grass roots level. If we wait for our fractured government to make sweeping changes, if we infantilize ourselves before Big Daddy, we stand disempowered; helpless, hapless and ultimately hopeless. The world is watching, it hasn’t given up on us so much as we have given up on ourselves. Like lemmings off a cliff, we’ve been marching into blind chasms of overwhelm and despair. We throw our hands up when they are most needed to work at correcting our trajectory. Can we do it? I’m betting, with a little self accountability providing impetus, we can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concrete is heavy; iron is hard – but the grass will prevail.
  ~ Edward Abbey

4 comments on “Yes, We Can!”

  1. Morning Bela: I read this a couple of times earlier, pondering it in between, then coming back to read it again. Seems to me after reflecting on it that it’s a tough call. The problem with words such as disempowerment is the implied antithesis and it’s defined. That definition and the directions of focus it’s bounded by is, in itself, disempowerment if examined carefully.

    A premise can be made [if I make it, which I’m not about to] that anytime a human being handcuffs himself to any definition of the word, “we” it’s disempowering and inevitably shaves off personal options, molds priorities in directions absent until the self-imposed captivity of ‘we’ forced compromises.

    For instance, I was thinking about this at daybreak when I went up to Gale’s to turn his chickens loose for the day. One of the things he asked me to do while they’re gone is feed the herd of deer he’s made pets of. I’m firmly opposed to making pets of wildlife for reasons I might have explained, or mightn’t. But there I was, peeling hay off a bale and scattering it, scattering corn and range cubes, cooperating in an endeavor to which I’m fundamentally opposed, disempowered by a tiny ‘we’.

    I’m not certain this will make any sense, but the best analogy I can come up with at the moment is the old Charlie Brown/Lucy football one. Each of the two pieces of ‘we’ making up that 40 year repitition had a part to play, each had a fixed role. Locked into those roles Lucy could only be Lucy and Charlie Brown could only be Charlie Brown. Each was disempowered by the strengths, or weakness of the other.

    And for each the only way break the spiral would have involved the self empowerment resulting from dissolution of the ‘we’.

    Lousy analogy.

    Good post. Thanks for sharing it. J

    • Aloha Jules:

      Thanks again for taking time to comment on one of my posts. One of the reasons I write at all is to get people thinking, and that you take the time to both read as well as ruminate and then comment so thoroughly on a post of mine is a huge compliment. Thank you.

      I’m trying to wrap my mind around your thoughts, which I’m sure are as valid as mine 🙂 In the way I use the term disempowered, with regards to those of us who prostrate ourselves before an all-powerful yet certainly corrupt government, expecting changes to be made for and not by us, I’m going to stand by. A democracy can only work if ‘by’ the people as well, and many have become disillusioned to the point of paralysis. Perhaps it would have been best to use the word ‘many’ somehow, but given my premise of ‘if,’ the only word it seemed logical to follow with was ‘we.’ The ‘if’ seems to provide the needed loophole to exit the collective on that particular point should one wish not to be included.

      Writing is such an interesting craft – we can read, reread, reread again ad infinitum, and still read again later to realize we have made an error with words that might imply or condemn or confuse … not my intention, for certain. Thanks for making me a better writer.

      Bela

  2. Hi Bela: I made a couple of typos up there and left a word or two out of sentences. No wonder what I wrote was difficult to understand. But you and I are on somewhat different philosophical footing, as well, which complicates communications I expect. Gracias, J


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