Sometimes it’s really easy to rationalize doing things that I know are hurting myself or the world. With many things I tell myself that I’m only doing them because this is the way our culture is, but if civilization were to collapse tomorrow I would gladly make do without them. I can say the same thing when feeling bad about my idleness in the activist world. Sure, I pretty much just sit at home reading, writing, and watching movies on my computer, but if shit hit the fan, I’d be out on the streets in a second. I wonder how many people make these same excuses.
How many people are conscious about the fact that no material possessions can make them happy, but continue to fill their oversized home with useless items anyway? How many people read about a neighbor’s house being foreclosed, and want to organize or take part in some sort of resistance, but don’t make the time? How many people are just sitting around, waiting for shit to really start to happen, so they can finally sign off of facebook and get in on the action?
I’m sure there are as many reasons as there are well-meaning but inactive people. Some don’t want to lose what they have; some honestly feel like they don’t have the time, some are introverts who feel too insecure to join an existing group. Maybe it’s fine that we’re like this, maybe it’s what we need. Maybe it takes only a few groups to get things rolling, and then the rest of the people can step in and make it unstoppable. Maybe it’s not fine though. Maybe all that’s needed is for half of the people who want to get involved, to actually do so. Maybe it’s time now for everyone (myself included) to get off their asses and act as if.
We aren’t guaranteed anything beyond this second. As soon as the past ends, we begin to change it with our thoughts and opinions. The future may never come. Here we sit with all we have, this moment, so why waste it by thinking about what to do or planning what we might do if something happened? Why not just do it? I’m not suggesting that everyone who has ever had the thought of rebellion should go out right now and smash a bank window (although, that would probably help), my only suggestion is to do one thing to get towards where you want the world to be. If you’re waiting for something to happen before you act, pretend that thing is already happening. Whether we realize it or not, the revolution has started and it’s waiting for us.
I wrote a little yesterday about accepting the fact that we have no real control over most of our lives. We can control our intentions, but not the results. I think this plays a part as far as why many people do not act on their anti-authoritarian impulses. It’s something that is hard to overcome, but it is also something that is absolutely necessary to overcome if we ever want to see any kind of change, either in our own lives or in the world. Even though acting with good intentions does not guarantee positive results, not acting at all certainly guarantees no results.
What would the world look like if each of us simply tried to make our lives a little bit more revolutionary today than it was yesterday? For some of us this means going to a meeting with their local Occupy group, for others it means giving up their car or closing their bank account, for others still it means quitting their job and unplugging. For thousands of other people it means thousands of other things. For me, today, it means spending time thinking and talking about my personal relationships. How would this collective revolutionizing change what we see and hear every day?
Will taking a small step change the world? Who knows, but I feel confident in saying that it will change you, and that’s a huge difference. If enough people do this it becomes as contagious as a yawn and unstoppable as time.
WHAT I’M READING
I’ve spoken about this in the past, but is there really a difference between a serial killer and a CEO?
My newest hero, Bruce Levine, takes on television and other glowing screens.