A Different Take On The Occupy Movement
|November 21, 2011||Posted by Jenny Ann Fraser under One Sweet World|
A good friend sent me an email last week with this photo attached. The subject heading said: “A Different Take On The Occupy Movement”
When it comes to the numerous issues we are facing at what I believe is going to prove a defining point in the history of mankind, what saddens me the most is that even the so-called educated elite seem to have little ability to maintain intelligent discourse. Even valid questions like the ones posed above all too often end in name calling and derision. Is this the best we can do when it comes to solving problems?
I could probably write enough to fill a book contemplating why this is so, but for the purpose of this post, I will simply settle for answering the questions on the page. Sadly, (and I hope I am wrong about this,) I really dont believe that the person who asked the questions is really interested in hearing any answers. Too often, such questions are asked with the assumption that there are no good answers, and too often, we are more interested in maintaining our point of view than expanding it.
In all fairness, if my family was supported by my husbands working on an oil rig, I might have the exact same ideas, however, this is not my situation.
My situation is one of a person who is seriously committed to the idea that we can create a better world, and we had better get on with that if we want to have quality lives in the future. I have no doubt that if we really wanted to, we could create a world where people get paid living wages for the work that they do, and live on a planet that is not at risk of complete destruction from carbon emissions, dwindling resources, (including precious oil) pollution and war so that a few can benefit.
Call me a dreamer and you would have hit on an accurate, though not complete description of Jenny Ann Fraser. Everything human beings have ever created started with a dream and so now, when we desperately need to create new ideas that work for everyone, I am as committed to dreaming as ever.
Absolutely everything on her list, and so much more of what we depend on to live, does come from oil. Without it, the civilization which we have built around it will collapse. So we do owe a debt to those who do the awful hard work of producing it. As I wrote earlier, I think we owe a debt to everyone who does their job, as everything contributes to the lifestyles we tend to take for granted.
That said, it is not news that oil reserves have been dwindling for a very long time, so green alternatives, and other changes that affect our oil consumption are an absolute necessity.
Sadly, most don’t see it that way and in fact, prefer to pretend that it is not true. We will never run out of oil so why not increase our consumption? The graph below would be one of many reasons why increasing oil consumption is a dangerously misguided idea. And it doesnt even cover the environmental and human costs of oil production and use.
Oil companies have a vested interest in blocking green alternatives. Alternatives would seriously cut into profits and our current Corporate value system (as well as many of our personal value systems) demand that profits come first. First before people, and everything on the planet at any and every expense. It is not in their immediate best interests that the rest of us wise up and start seriously working to protect what we have.
But the questions asked in the photo are valid and they deserve to be answered. The woman holding the sign has a point.
The truth is, that we have consumed our way into this situation where the Corporate Giants hold the wealth and it is becoming more and more difficult for the average worker to get by. The more cheap goods we demand, the more power Corporations have to underpay workers in order to provide and maintain ever increasing profits for just a few. We have outsourced ourselves nearly to death at the expense of people we chose not to care about and now were paying the price in so many ways that it is overwhelming. If we want developed countries to become 3rd world, we should just keep consuming at our current rate until we run out of resources entirely and we cannot obtain the materials that we need to produce. It won’t really matter. If wages keep getting lower, or simply continue to remain below the rate of inflation, the majority wont be able to afford anything anyway.
The whole point, is that we dont need to use this much oil at all. We had ink, guitar strings, clothing, shoes, glasses, tarps, tents, clothing, houses, and lives, long before we had oil. We have simply forgotten that there are other ways to do things and ignored the wonderful potential we have to develop better. Even though we have already developed many viable alternatives. A disposable society is completely unnecessary, but we have bought into the convenience of the life. Consequences be damned.
Those things that we truly need and have not yet discovered how to make without oil provide all-the-more reason to conserve.
We might choose to believe that alternatives would diminish the quality of our lives, but the truth is that were obviously not all that happy now.
Im sure that there are some who are active in the Occupy Wall Street movement who haven’t considered their own contribution to the problem, but but I know from the people in my own life that this is not the case for everyone.
This movement is young, and in many ways lacking direction, but it points out a serious problem for all of us. Even those who have everything are affected negatively when poverty increases.
If increased crime, health care costs, and less economic activity are your idea of a good time, then by all means, support the idea that workers don’t deserve a decent living. The positive side of increased poverty is that you can lie your way into believing you are superior to those who have less if you are not suffering. It really seems to be what all of the cool kids are doing these days.
My only question would be: How can someone plan to maintain superior earning power when the majority of the population cannot afford services no matter how important they are?
It seems to me, that on the whole, we are so short-sited that we cannot see the reality of our current situation. Cannot, or don’t want to or a combination of both. I’ll refrain from speculating, at least for today.
What I do know, is that change is really the only option. We can commit to creating it now, or have it forced upon us as everything, including our only planet deteriorates to the point that change becomes a matter of survival. Choice is by far the easier option.
It would be incredibly easy to believe that we are powerless to do anything about this, but the truth is we are far from that. Whether we are the 99% or the 53%, we, are still the majority and we have many more options than we choose to believe. No one is putting a gun to our heads forcing us to keep up with the Joneses. Surely we havent already forgotten this years Arab Spring?
The good news is that being part of the solution becomes easier when we admit that we are part of the problem. We are powerless when we deny both our power and our responsibility. We are powerless when we refuse change and ignore reality. We are powerless when we decide not to even try.
Corporations may be responsible for so much of the worlds problems today, but we cannot forget that they only exist because we so willingly support them with our hard-earned dollars. The reality is that much of what we buy is not necessary for survival or even quality of life. More does not always equal better. We have been programmed to consume, and conned into believing that consumption equals happiness. Were still towing that line even though happiness has been declining since we started this mess in the 50s.
We are also powerless when we choose to name-call and criticize those who oppose our positions instead of engaging in intelligent discourse. Name-calling never solves anything so why are supposedly intelligent people doing it? (This is where I acknowledge my own sarcastic name-calling post where I targeted myself to make a point.)
As I said at the beginning of this post, I believe that this is a defining point in the history of mankind. Being that it is 2011 and we have more knowledge than ever before, is it too much to expect that we know enough to scrap the nasty insults and get down to the work of creating solutions? If you believe that you really are superior to those whom you disagree with, then prove it with your intellect.
Hold up the sign with the valid questions minus the insults, and be prepared to listen to, and discuss the answers. You don’t have to agree with someone to understand where they are coming from so why not be willing to expand your thinking? It certainly improves the chances of finding solutions that work.
Thank you Anonymous woman with the excellent questions…
Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.