Let’s say ALL the dire warnings about an economic collapse come true and a DRASTIC change in lifestyle will no longer be a choice, but a mandate, for all but the richest among us.
I believe all but the most vulnerable would not only survive it, but would emerge from it incredibly richer than they were going in. Richer in what really counts: the intangible, immeasurable richness of learning how to actually “live together” again. I think the long lost spirit of collaboration and concern for the “common good” would get resurrected from it’s premature grave, and rise up to take it’s rightful place among us.
While I long ago saw the futility of maintaining faith in any of the man made systems and political structures that make up the foundation of this country, the only thing I have never lost faith in is the awesome power of the individual human spirit that is present in all of us, that when called upon, can and does rise from ANY pile of ashes. Always has, and always will.
But sometimes, it takes chaos. Catastrophe. Disaster. Some force outside our control that is more powerful than all our imbedded illusions and all the perceived security we have accumulated. We seldom chose to make any drastic or difficult change, unless our present realities become uncomfortable enough.
I do not expect the family with the 4 bedroom suburban home and three car garage full of expensive vehicles to ever let that go voluntarily. I know that very few who are used to stopping in for four dollar lattes are going to suddenly start carrying thermos jugs of coffee made at home, while riding public transit to work. Ain’t gonna ever happen. Not in America, where so many honestly believe being able to have all these material comforts is their rightful destiny.
My heart goes out to people like this, if this house of cards does come tumbling down. Especially those who have only known material abundance as a way of life, from childhood on: those who have been taught “entitlement” to all the best, as a way of life. Their learning curve will be very steep and hard.
At the same time, my heart rejoices for them, for when this does happen, they will have a chance to grow into authentic human beings, with access to human values they may not have even been exposed to before: the kind no market forces can ever touch. The kind no one can ever again take away.
Ask any American who once “had it all”, (or at least had way more than “enough”) and lost it all through forces beyond their control. I mean those of us who have not only survived it, but who DID harness the authentic power of the human spirit, and chose to learn from it all, and then to change whatever needed to BE changed, inside themselves, to create a new and wonderful life outside the “American Dream”.
Yeah, I know. We’re kind of hard to find, aren’t we? Understandable, because most of us are considered part of the “lower class poor”, thus have been rendered completely invisible and voiceless by the powers that control all public information sources.
Those powers TELL you who we are, rather than let US tell you who we are, because then they get to control the color palate of our lives. Of course they choose the darkest, ugliest shades, as they want you all to believe that ending up like US is a fate far, far worse that DEATH! They love to lump us together in boxes with labels written on in big black print: mine has lots of labels! “Poor.” “Old.” “Disabled.” “Woman.” These are among the biggest ones now, and they completely cover up all the other labels that once made me quite “acceptable,” such as “young,” “beautiful,” “health care professional,” “tax paying, productive citizen”..etc etc. Gone, all gone. As if they never existed, to most of the world I walk in now.
So it stands to reason then, in a culture with values like this, that Americans who were born poor, not white, or otherwise “disadvantaged”, are stuffed into boxes from the second they GET here, and piled in stacks far outside the public eye, where what happens to them can’t disturb those busily chasing their American Dream.
That, friends, is the outcome of a society build on false values. It is the outcome of a society that has embraced competition and greed and acquisition of material status and wealth as it’s primary human values. It is a society clearly based on achieving power over others, at whatever the cost,by whatever means necessary,and then calls this “success”.
So I present you with this question to ponder. If this truly is “success”, and so many of us have “failed” to achieve it, or had it and lost it, how come so many of us are so damned happy? How come so many of us feel like our lives are rich and full and free at last?
Granted, there are multitudes of us who are suffering terribly from deprivation of basic survival needs, oppression, violence, homelessness, addiction, lack of health care, decent education..all of those things and more. There are multitudes of us who will die from this, way before our time.
But mixed in with those suffering multitudes are a growing number of Americans like me, and our numbers are increasing every single day. It may not have been our chosen destiny, but it’s the one we got, and somehow, we survived it, and in that process, we’ve rediscovered each OTHER. And a hell of a lot of other things this country seems to have abandoned as “not profitable enough” to bother with.
Like the need (and the immense shared rewards), of taking care of the common good, not just ourselves.
Like meeting the essential human need to feel a sense of “belonging” with others,joined in the shared challenges of life.
Like honestly learning at long last, how to “use what we have”, because when all is said and done, we DO have all we “really need”, once we realize it, and tap into it fully. And then learning how to share these things with each other, rather than hoarding them, or just trying to “sell them” to the highest bidder for more money.
It has always been in the best interests of the power elite in this country, to DIS-EMPOWER the masses. Gotta hand it to them, they’re done a bang up job of it,too, and have done a helluva good job of collecting all the marbles for themselves.
But when this ship finally sinks under it’s own bloat, guess who will sink, and who will survive? Those marbles are damned heavy. And there are multitudes of Americans like me, without that ballast, who have learned the long distance swim.
It’s an invisible revolution: a very quiet one, but it is very, very real and the current conditions are recruiting new members every single day.
I love sitting here contemplating the deep satisfaction I know will come, in time, to those who one day look around their simplified lives, and know again, the incredible relief of finally understanding the concept of “enough”. That is, in my view, the beginning phase of reaching for authentic “freedom”.
I love contemplating Americans, at younger and younger ages, questioning, then rejecting the mass hypnosis of the market place and political propaganda, in favor of investing in relationships with others across class, gender, race and age barriers, to see, and then to claim for themselves, incredible and permanent riches this is certain to give them, that simply can never be lost or taken away from them, ever.
It me over 60 years to understand what FREEDOM really is, and this is it.
It’s being able to wake up in the morning, and know I OWN the choice of how I spend my precious life energies on this day. No. One. Else. Just me.
It’s the absolute freedom to choose, as I did a few hours ago, to suspend my original plans for this morning, to allow myself the time to write this diary (that seemed to arrive from nowhere,) and know I do not have to account to ANYONE for doing so.
It’s looking around this small and humble abode I share with another, because it makes really good sense to do so, financially and companionship-wise, knowing I have all that I need, and feeling richer than ever, yes, even on this very tiny fixed income.
It’s knowing that when I go out to get groceries today, most people I meet won’t even see me, because lil old ladies with white hair and walkers are pretty much invisable here, unless we slow people down too much in check out lines, but being able to handle this better now, because “I” finally KNOW who I am. (And it’s one hell of a good “undercover” disguise” it’s really fun to put to very good use!)
Don’t let “them” scare you. Don’t bite the bait. Spit out the crap.
(I know I am preaching to the choir again, but hell, no one else will listen to me!)
Just please trust in your own potential to “become” whoever and however you need to become, to have a REALLY good life. Create your OWN life. As early on as you possibly can. Sure you’ll make mistakes and that’s just fine: mistakes make for a stronger weave in the fabric of each unique life. (Perfection is an over rated piece of dung.)
This is really an incredibly exciting time to be alive, because the biggest paradigm shifts don’t come along all that often. I am no longer worried about the future of my daughters or my grand daughters, because I know what powerful swimmers they are.
The sky isn’t falling at all.
What’s falling is the man made cloud cover.