A recurring thought, in my stream of consciousness as of late, centers on the all encompassing desire, virtually every human being has; to engage in various forms of escapism. I’ve noticed this at various times in my life and kind of swept it under the rug; but this idea is becoming apparent once again.
Realizing this has got me somewhat depressed and I just have to get this written down; in writing this, I hope to figure out more about this phenomena and my relationship to it. I’d really like to know what we are trying to get away from, what we are hoping to find and if there are any lessons we can learn from these observations.
Maybe it’s a good thing that we are trying to escape, maybe not, maybe I’m totally off base and we, as humans, can’t do anything but escape. I’m not saying that I know anything for sure; I just want to explore something that is, in my mind at least, begging to be explored.
The sad thing about these kinds of thoughts, is the fact that it is very difficult to discuss these thoughts with anyone else. Most people don’t really give a damn what I have to say about anything like this; they either change the subject, ignore me or try to act like having a seemingly “negative” observation about something means that I’m not focusing on what I need to.
That may well be; but it doesn’t change the fact that I am extremely curious about this. I want to know why so little is said about it and why so many engage in this vacuous practice that basically consumes most of people’s lives.
Absurdities in Everyday Life
Why is it that people would rather spend the better part of their free time, frittering away, and/or watching a fictional, or highly controlled, reality via a television screen; when there is a huge glut of unaddressed dilemmas which threaten our long-term survival as individuals and quite possibly as a species.
Why is it, that in many social situations, individuals choose to smoke and drink, often (but not always) in order to escape their daily lives; even if it means that they may not remember the experience, or worse, may even harm their bodies in the process.
Why is it that, when we become activists, who want to see “change” in the world, we often focus our efforts on issues, which we stand little to no chance of having any effect on; while there are other issues which we can have a major impact on, right under our noses, that we simply ignore as if they don’t exist.
Prime examples of this, are the attention given to relatively small scale man made ecological disasters. These disasters get most of the press and activist attention, while most of the damage wrought by man takes place routinely and meticulously planned, in broad daylight, with the massive system of government subsidized, corporatized, monoculture agriculture.
All of this large scale farming is happening, while hundreds of millions of individuals are living atop perfectly productive land on their 1/4 – 1/3 acre lots; usually growing nothing but worthless grass on it.
Since we aren’t using the land that we are on, and we still must eat, we visit the restaurants and supermarkets and spend most of our monies on highly processed, additive laced, genetically modified, franken-food.
What Are We Running Away From
It is starting to become clear to me, that we tend to shy away from self examination and especially the examination of our own personal contribution to our personal survival. Society has given us so many tools to escape this responsibility, namely money; that in just a few decades, we have largely lost the skills which helped build great nations of free self sufficient individuals.
Not only has society given us tools to escape our responsibilities; but it has also given us plenty of red herrings; so that we are less likely to discover a method of curing the underlying cause. We become polarized into phony political, religious and economic paradigms; which only serve to divide us and pit us against each other.
Instead of cooperating amongst ourselves, forming real communities, creating genuine, robust, bottom up, solution-oriented, changes; we expect someone else to take on what is ultimately our own responsibility. We have a solemn responsibility, as individuals, to take decisive action in our daily lives.
What Can We Do?
The most important thing we can do, is to first identify what we really need, to survive and flourish as integrated individuals; while doing so, we need to also determine what we don’t need.
Once this is sorted out as best we can, we need to determine what we can do to get what we need, what impediments if any are stopping us from meeting those needs. Then we need to organize a plan, for how we are going to meet our needs on a continuous basis.
We have to regularly re-evaluate our lives, so that we are eliminating unneeded processes and focusing more energy on those which are necessary; else we will live lives which are not as meaningful as they could be.
Let’s Get Started
As most of us realize, deep down inside; we are facing some serious problems, on so many levels. Many of the problems are already effecting us, while there are many which will only affect us years down the road.
We can’t keep delaying the solutions until tomorrow. If something is not going to be done today; it is probably not going to happen tomorrow either. The desire to escape is addictive and infective. The more we engage in escapism, the more we are likely to do so in the future.
Conversely, the more we engage in decisive individual actions, the more we are likely to do so in the future; especially as we begin to see the effects of our efforts. Each day is like a sliding scale; we either make some progress towards our goals, or we move away from those goals.
We know for certain that if we choose to ignore our responsibilities, they will not simply go away. We can’t just pretend that they aren’t there and they go away; because they are real concrete problems; they will remain with us until we each address them as individuals.
Once enough of us address these problems as individuals, we will undoubtedly see more synergy in our communities. Once successfully kindled, this synergy will have a momentum all its own; which will help to continue the process.
All of this is up to us. If we aren’t willing to do it, then who will.