It seems as though there are constantly two choices in most things. Striking that balance between manic and mania is difficult, I know. I’ve struggled with it for years. Still do. I’m no Elwood P. Dowd, not yet. Working on it.
Not that I think I’m bipolar or anything, I’d hate to have anyone consider that I’m making light of mental illness, regardless of the fact that I honestly don’t care how you interpret the things I say. That’s your business and I’ll thank you to leave me out of it.
But not caring what people think is a topic for another day.
I think a lot about how much I do to effectively benefit the planet. I talk a lot of swagger, it’s true. I sign petitions, I post video links on facebook, I stopped eating fish. Wow. Look at me go.
I’ve hesitated writing about this even though it’s been rattling in my brain for days because I understand how easily it could turn into a self-deprecating personal whine fest/esteem bashing/ justification for doing less, not more. I think as a species already, we are far too hard on ourselves. Not when it comes to pushing the limits of what we are capable of, I don’t think we do that enough. I’m speaking of the ritualistic justification of our lack of self-worth.
We are bullies, we are cruel, we are narrow minded, shortsighted, judgmental, scared little kids desperate for someone to tell us what to do, how to act, what to wear, who to hate today. And the cycle continues generationally. I have days where I hope that the apocalypse shows up, like a big fucking Poseidon adventure and turns us upside down and suddenly we have to come to terms with the fact that down is up and if you want to survive, you have to hold your breath, dive in and swim to the top, which is now the bottom and if you want to live to have to fight for it. Not other people, that’s too easy. It’s so easy to justify the him or me mentality. I had to kill him if I wanted to survive. Bullshit. It was easier to kill him than it was to work out how you were going to live together, sharing the resources you have and generally not being a dick. No, if you want to live you have to fight your fear of all those dark places inside of you.
Shite, now this has the opportunity to swing all the way over to the other side where light and love and co-operative sing alongs live. I’ll do my best to stay moderate.
It’s very easy to justify not doing anything because it’s difficult to see how it helps a lot of the time. You can sign petitions and take pictures and tweet it and make people aware and they’re still finding ways to be cruel, shortsighted and senseless in the name of money or sovereignty or business or..just being a fucking bully. So what’s the point? There are men like Stephen Harper ordering the burning of scientific data, changing the election laws, pushing through his religion of business agenda and no one can stop him. He’s a juggernaut of apathy towards the planet he’s leaving for his children (if they are children and not robots he had built to make it look as though he is capable of reproduction like a “normal person”) because it’s only about the how much can I get out of this because if I don’t, someone else will. It’s easier to kill it than to figure out how to live with it so we both benefit.
I don’t even know Stephen Harper’s kids. If they’re anything like their dad’s politics I don’t want to. I don’t even want Stephen Harper dead. In my mind when people post pictures of Japanese people killing dolphins (which makes me sad and angry) and other people write things like “Die assholes. Sink to a watery grave. You should not be allowed to breathe the same air we do. Let’s bomb them. I hope they die a long painful agonizing death.” <-actual things people have posted to cove guardians facebook walls. It actually moves us backwards as a species. Back to that place where it’s easy to justify doing nothing to help anyone because people, even when they think they’re being helpful are total dicks.
So what’s the solution? Move to a tiny island where there is no internet, become completely self-reliant, practice a mindful life filled with reducing and reusing (because recycling is a cop-out, but that’s a post for another time) and being the change I want to see in the world? It’s tempting. I’m not saying I’m the only person who isn’t a dick. Far from it. I am living a life right now where I justify throwing things in the garbage and eating food that is horrible for me because “my life is not my own right now. Living under someone else’s roof, I abide by someone else’s comfort zone, which is on a level far more processed and packaged than I am accustomed to or enjoy.” Would it be fair to impose my beliefs on this person’s existence? As a compassionate human, isn’t it my duty to do so? If I can impose my belief that hunting and killing dolphins for meat/entertainment is wrong upon a country I have never been to, filled with people I don’t know or care about, shouldn’t I make it my mission to educate and help those closest to me about what is (in my mind at least) sane and right and best for the world we live in?
Back to the original question. If I do decide to throw it, where does it stop? Should it stop? Should I jump on board with the sea shepherds and stop eating meat and petition the Dutch court in charge of deciding whether to free morgan and cruise to the arctic and get between weirdos with clubs and baby seals and head over to Tanzania and help rehabilitate chimpanzees and march on washington and march on ottawa and march on new york, boycott the cbc, sabotage pipeline plans, stop them from killing otters because there are too many urchins, stop them from deciding coal is a good idea because there are is too much mercury in fish already, stop the tar sands because we’re going to run out of water and it’s already turning into a scene from the goddamn mutiny on the bounty! Remember the premise of that? They took a whack of breadfruit plants from Tahiti to Jamaica so they could have a cheap source of food for the slaves they had there. As a result of taking so many plants to ensure that at least a few would make the voyage in good health, they reduced the rations of clean drinking water for the crew and gave it to the plants. When they got to Jamaica, the slaves tried one bite of the breadfruit and said, fuck that, it’s disgusting and I won’t eat it.
All that shortsightedness, heartache, abuse of power and overuse of fresh water for a conclusion that didn’t really benefit anyone in the long run. Is it strange that I just found a very viable comparison between mutiny on the bounty and the tarsands? No, it doesn’t. Because we are overrun with tyrants who think that “cruelty with a purpose is not cruelty, it’s efficiency.” And it’s really tough to not want to fix everything all the time.
But then I want to opt right the fuck out. Find a little place for me, a black dog and a piano. With a garden conducive to tea parties, trees for climbing, rope swings and movie nights under the stars. Be selfish with my time. Not necessarily my actions though. Live the life of the little footprint. Maybe learn how to convert an engine to biodiesel and put my carbon footprint where my mouth is. Because as long as I drive, or allow someone else’s comfort zone to dictate what I buy from the grocery store, or rally against the injustice’s of the world from the comfort of my room without a desk, I don’t have much of a leg to stand on. Is slactivism enough? It doesn’t feel like it. But deciding that I need to help fixing all the things seems like a pendulum swing back to mania again. Or is it manic? I always get those two mixed up. Perhaps the best place to start throwing in is to ensure I am living the kind of life I can be proud of. A far-sighted, cruelty free, broad minded, not too judgmental (I’ll likely never stop judging people, I embrace my darkness. Deal with it.) existence that benefits most it comes into contact with by example or deed or whatever. It’s idealistic to say the least and it might be more difficult than it seems on paper. But it’s a place to start.