We believe we are a fickle and ephemeral people: When our skin color is too white, our mothers tell us to go out into the sun and get some color. We laud the “Californian-tan” look and relate it financial prosperity and good health. (1) When we are dark, however, we shade ourselves from the sun and lather our skin with creams to lighten its tone. Temperature is a lot like this. Many people prefer the cold over the hot and welcome a brisk day. In opposition to this are those who prefer the “chaleur” of the tropics. In truth, however, no one likes extremes: everyone can probably accept -5 degrees, but -55 degrees would be quite something else. Why then do we accept extreme points of view in our world?
At present in our history, while millions of people are thrown out of work, a tiny few are making more money than God. We conclude that this is just a part of the way things are. “‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’: as the Corona Virus pandemic sweeps the world, America’s 1% have taken profitable advantage of that old saying. Some of the richest people in the US have been at the front of the queue as the government has handed out trillions of dollars to prop up an economy “it” shuttered amid the Corona Virus pandemic.
At the same time, the billionaire class has added $308 billion to its wealth in four weeks (four weeks). … Eight of those billionaires have seen their net worth surge by over one billion each … The billionaire bonanza comes as a flotilla of big businesses, millionaires and billionaires sail through loopholes in a $349 billion bailout meant to save hard-hit small businesses.” (2) Obscene would be an understatement, wouldn’t it?
I just don’t get it: is it because we all believe in “the tooth fairy?” I too am going to be a billionaire so the system is fair. No, you are not and no, the system is not fair. And yet our educational system, worldwide — I might add — drones on producing more eager bright-eyed recruits to slave away in colorless offices and live out bland, and pointless lives. With the promise, yes, the promise, that you will be rich and if not rich at least financially secure. Why do we accept this chicanery? I relate it to a lack of critical thinking and time. Average human beings, swept into the maelstrom of modern capitalism, (3) have little time to take a walk in a quiet “endroit,” such as a mountain path and reflect on where they are going in life. If they did, they would soon realize that we each possess five basics human rights: the right to security, the right to a home, the right to an education, the right to health and the right to a basic income. These are innate. I also, however, am obligated to contribute my efforts and a large part of my income to this – the much-maligned — Common Good.
I know this sounds utopian, but we all must question how long the underclasses (4) will tolerate being “shut out” of even basic levels of the affluence enjoyed by the rest of the society. Most American people, for example, are living paycheck to paycheck. (5) Revolution is only suppressed by the belief that things can get better. Life is fickle, so I am willing to take a chance. When you have no chance at any financial or societal improvement, revolution is certainly in the offing. The poet and writer Audre Lorde (1934-1992) leaves us with a thought:
I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you. … What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.
I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.
Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman (6) said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.
A closing thought: We must all take some a moment to develop our own belief system – and this takes time. I have a friend who makes a point of walking every evening to reflect and reposition his mental processes. He is becoming more and more erudite as the walks progress. This certainly attests to the power of something as simple as walking. (7)
To sum up: This week, we spoke about the fact that we must stop being fickle and become more determined.
To be noted: This from Baltasar Gracian (8) — All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that.
Just for fun:T. Rex – Get It On
For reflection: Art of Walking – Great Ocean Walk
This week please think of how you will find the time to reflect.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful
Quote: Every day, I am given the gift of a new beginning.
6) Emma Goldman