Well hello there,
Here I sit, early in March- a month passed before I got back to writing on here. My goodness time passes quickly. This weekend was absolutely lovely – cold, clear, and so sunny outside. I spent my entire Sunday cleaning, cooking delicious food, juggling, and running up and around Mount Doug in the sunshine. I felt like myself again – a clean home, a nourishing meal, and being amongst the trees for a little bit.
Well, what have I been up to lately, hrrrm? I am getting more angsty by the day – learning all sorts of interesting things in school, from the internets, and from some very interesting and engaging friends. Topics that keep popping up:
Topic # 1: What exactly is the point of university?
If you aren’t in a faculty that has some obvious end point – like engineering or business – what are you doing here? If you are one of the many kids getting a Bachelor of Arts (ie. Geography and Enviro. Studies) you probably aren’t too sure who will hire you, or what you’ll be doing. Much of the time this whole university experience is not based on some sense of certainty that you are working towards an expressed purpose. So… why the hell ARE we here?
It seems as if uni kids come here to learn more about what they are interested in and have some sort of experience…. but then end up having to take all sorts of required courses that they aren’t particularly stoked about, once they pick a faculty. That seems a little contradictory to the whole purpose of learning about what you are interested in, hrm? Why do we need university then – you can learn all you really need to know from other means, such as the internets or books. I don’t think university is this great waste of time or anything- there are definitely a lot of learning, growing up and community building that goes on within and between classes – I just don’t think students *really* think through why they come here in the first place.
Topic # 2: The problems associated the Western notion of individualism and rampant, required growth for success.
In the Western world, we base our economy, and our vision of success, on the premise of relentless growth and the idea that individuals can make it on their own without having to consider their impacts. This whole topic is just downright depressing. I really do believe this entitlement to individualism is what has gotten the world into a big ecological and social justice mess. How did it become successful to acquire large amounts of capital through (direct or indirect) exploitation of undervalued (or unvalued) natural or human resources? How are the acts of slavery, war, coercion, and destruction the building blocks of success in any sense of the word? It boggles my little mind.
The thing is – so much of what we covet in the developed world is built precisely on exploitation of either raped resources or raped populations. I refuse to believe this is the only way to live happily as a global society. Mindless consumption and irresponsible capitalism is what our global market currently requires – and these aims are not compatible with stable ecological systems or social equality. As developed nations with an ugly history of colonialism and coercion, our grand successes are built on the backs of others, and they still are today. We steal resources from countries too poor or too weak to fight back and from future generations we won’t have to confront – commoditizing and privatizing resources that squarely belong in the public domain. In what twisted world did we collectively agree to put something so abstract and so ridiculous as profit, wealth and status before the welfare of people and planet?
This is our home, these are our neighbours. As hippie as it sounds, think about it. The humans that are displaced, the families that are destroyed, the lives that are being lost are real people. Imagine your mother being raped. Imagine your brother being shot. Imagine your sister wasting away. Imagine your father being tortured. Imagine it – think about how you would feel, how this could destroy your family, ruin your life. It is a reality for people all over the world – the difference with you is that you can stop thinking about the reality and turn to your assignment, your television, your bike ride – the reality doesn’t go away for them.
So what can you do? Get informed. Go read about what is happening in the world – ecologically, politically, socially – genocide, war, exploitation, coercion, slavery, climate change, poverty, AIDS, neocolonialism, Neoliberalism – pick anything, really. Then, apply it to your life. What are you doing, everyday, to contribute to this mess? And what can you do, everyday, to alleviate it? Learning, thinking, acknowledgement is the first step. Denial and ignorance is usually the second step – instead, remember what you’ve learned, don’t ignore it or cast it away as too hard to look at, and be diligent. Do what you can – always keeping in mind those realities that your neighbours must face, everyday.
… well I have other topics, but it’s 2:32 in the AM and this post kind of got hijacked by that wee existential rant (which is cross-posted on FB. We’ll see if anyone cares… doubt it). I will chat later about the other topics I had planned out:
– the internal struggle of knowing the world is probably fucked so you should a) just enjoy it v.s. b) you should devote all your time to fixing it
– Patriarchy, attraction, sex, love, discussions about boyz.
– Traveling – getting out of your little Western bubble, you white privileged person you.
– Music. Dance, techno, “house” (whatever that means), Brazilian Capoeria music!
– Politics, eco-socialism, social democracy… lots of stuff here. Bolivia and South America in general giving a big F-U to the traditional neocolonialist Western control over the area’s autonomy, resources and ideologies.
– The economic crisis and why it’s either the best thing ever to happen to the planet or the worst thing ever to happen to the planet. You decide.