There was this crazy woman. At night, she would sometimes wander through Columbia University’s campus in New York City where I was completing a Master’s degree in 2010. She always muttered incoherently, but managed to retain some dignity by her well-kept appearance. I wondered what secret lay behind her clean skin and clothes. Was someone left at home to dress her in the mornings? Someone who perhaps once loved her completely and therefore could not bring himself to leave her? Or did she still possess enough of her own wits to follow the hygienic protocol we would judge her harshly for breaking?
She walked the cobblestoned paths around these buildings of privilege, her feet shuffling through autumn’s leaves, her mind caught in an uninterruptible and unintelligible debate. It was clear in her eyes she had neither time nor esteem for us who could not participate in her internal dispute. Was this woman gone? Did she reside mentally in a different sphere of understanding than ours—her feet serving as the only anchors to our perceived reality while her spirit travelled elsewhere? The mind was no longer preoccupied with its self. Her soul belonged to the great universe. The interconnected universe.
But we narcissists, convinced of our importance, viewed this strange woman with scorn and pity. Oblivious to the notion that perhaps she only knew too well or too intensely that we are but an ephemeral amalgamation of cells among other cells, existing in a sliver of a universe so unimaginably vast, and incomprehensibly infinite.
Contemplate the universe by staring up at the sky, where a sphere of hot plasma and interwoven magnetic fields generate energy by nuclear fusion, as our solar system travels through the interstellar cloud it entered some tens of thousands of years ago. We are nothing more than a blip on the universe’s radar screen. So self absorbed, we cannot see the indescribable beauty of events unfolding before us every day, at the molecular level all the way to the galactic level, without us comprehending their meaning or being capable of preventing these fated events from gently, inextricably writing history on a timeline in which we have no words or place; in which we will be lucky to figure at all.
You may now be experiencing a revolutionary thought. Sometimes all you need is one for more revolutionary thoughts to emerge. You begin to question everything around you, and the absurdity, the lunacy gradually becomes impossible to ignore. Your imagination awakens like a beast coming out of hibernation. You begin to feel outrage and it is time for outrage. But once you realize our insignificance, you see that we could and should strive to do better if we hope to be around for much longer.
We are lost, caught in the self-reinforcing destructive cycle of human folly and brutality we have learned. It is a sickness for which we need a cure—a collective shift that will begin to heal and to transform the world. So that one-day, we will all live here with our minds and souls connected, always aware of what is out there in the Vastness.
We search for meaning. In my search I once sought out war. It was the sickest feeling of freedom to think one’s journey could be ended within an instant. The ethereal hung in the air like gun smoke. It was possible, to die, really. I wandered through Iraq without a plan. I wanted to see the dark soil of Kurdistan. I read history books, intently drawing on everything around me. I got stuck in cities, shipped off to police stations, searched, interrogated and held up at gunpoint. It all seemed so absurd at times. It seemed also very genuine, being closer to the violent nature mankind has adopted without the formalities and pretences of the Western world, where violence is more disguised.
We have lost our humanity. The pockmarked buildings of Beirut, those vestiges of war, serve as constant reminders of street battles that once raged. Wartime violence is the way-of-the-world undressed, unmasked, staring at you in the face: “this, is human?”
I lived in Palestine for just under a year. I witnessed the unending oppression the Palestinians must endure, the constant threat of violence and acts of provocation. As yet more land was being stolen, homes of Arabs who had lived, breathed, worked this land for centuries were being evicted by young soldiers with guns. Caterpillar bulldozers uprooted in seconds the olive trees that for generations had provided sustenance.
At nights, Israeli military Humvees drove through the nearby refugee camps, detonating sound grenades, yelling over megaphones, and firing at the streets, the walls, the cars, the stars. Resistance fighters sometimes engaged the foreign troops, and gunfights broke out. Often the next day you heard the funeral procession coming from far away.
So many lives are lived in an instant. From Brazil to the Congo, you can be sure a million lives have been irreparably changed in the time it took to read this sentence. This word. This period. We have actually become so deranged by our egocentrism that we fail to keep our perspective of the scheme of things. We forget to walk in nature’s forest cathedrals, to listen to the throbbing life and to observe the divine beauty of a leaf or flower. We no longer taste the water in our mouths when we drink it. We have desensitized ourselves to nature’s affections. We subconsciously think her beneath us.
We are constantly repeating the same experiment, expecting different results. MORE. To want it, to have it, to make it, to always need, more. More at any cost. Without reason, without cause. We want more. We form nations of consumers. Profit is the creed. We have become number sequences on performance charts.
So we gave it a name: economy. It doesn’t actually exist. It is not a thing you can touch. It is a system. A force. It affects everything you do. In an economy some are given the powers of gods to create and to destroy value in an instant—numbers in an account, turned into more numbers in another account. We are ruled by pieces of paper with no value fixed by anything other than the impulses of the men in control. In this dictatorship we falsely believe we are free. The more of it you get, the greater you think you become. And, of course, for one to have more, another must have less! It controls us like the junkie’s fix. We want, even dream about, having enough of it to never have to worry about not having enough of it again. Jobs people hate. Lives people can’t tolerate.
But, thankfully, the system is beginning to break because we have reached what has been coined the Keynesian endpoint. The point at which time governments can no longer rescue their failing economies due to endemic levels of pre-existing debt. This concept we call economy will eventually be as shattered as the atheist’s disbelief when god appears before him in everything. We will wonder how we could have worshiped these pieces of paper created and controlled by man more than life itself? We will feel shame for ever living in the type of world where men hoard food in warehouses to artificially keep its price inflated on the stock market, while elsewhere the biblical spectres of famine suck the life energy out of communities.
Our cities are structured like giant shopping malls. Consumption is the lifeblood of cities, but it only makes them cold, unsustainable and ultimately toxic, like cancer spreading. We need to begin at the beginning. We need to reconceptualise life, and to build our cities as our most sincere expressions of our reverence for it. We will decentralize everything. Electricity will be produced on a smaller scale throughout our areas of organized living, utilizing technologies that do the planet and us no harm. We will do this not because of potential profits, but because it would be safer and benefit everyone. We will develop technologies that cause no harm to nature, because it will be an ideal for us, as a species, to attain. We will think about others, and strive to better the lives of all of mankind, not just our own. We will get to know one another in the balance of nature.
Nowhere is our collective insanity better epitomized than in the way we produce our food. We took what we learned in WWII and applied it to our agriculture. The corporations that laboured assiduously to develop the nastiest, deadliest chemicals now turned their attention to food production. It is with war in our minds that we douse the land in chemicals that will kill all the life forms that once made a soil rich; we destroy the balance and order of nature not to produce a vegetable that is healthier or tastier, but to prove to ourselves that we do not depend on nature. We are terrified of the thought that nature is above us all—though she is real, and she sustains us, teaches us and heals us.
The result is that we have poisoned our food, our water, our land, our bodies and minds. We are killing ourselves, remarkably unconcerned with our suicidal outlook.
Yet we all know, at least in some small part, that this is not it. This is not the point of it. This is not it, at all…
Open your mind to what is beyond you, you who cannot explain what lies there. Look further than you understand. Marvel at the infinite space and energy, not at the matter. There is something larger than the universe, despite you.
I am starting this blog as I give this system the finger. It is a revolutionary act to reject a system and to believe we can do better. I am moving back to nature to build a home and community on land I will love and protect. I am moving to another country to do so, because I see Canada clearly headed towards state corporatism and eventually authoritarianism. But I am convinced there will be a global uprising, as more people demand more of life, and as the system’s rot is exposed for all to see. The Arab Spring will one day be the Human Spring.
We need to be outraged and we must begin somewhere. Let us begin with giving voice to our emotions and concerns, so that ideas and new concepts may emerge.
Let us begin with these revolutionary rants.