by Ruby Sara
So…last week, I took a very large breath and looked at a lot of material regarding the Gulf spill with my heart wide open. It was awful. It was beyond awful. In response to the feeling of being spiritually punched repeatedly in the chest, I wrote the post that I am now reposting below. Then I took it down. I took it down because it was very raw, and felt too emotionally expository. But, I’ve changed my mind again (mercurial me…it’s been that kind of a week I guess…I apologize for all the reposting, y’all), so it’s beneath the cut. What inspired me to repost it? Two things. One, to remind myself and own my emotions. And two:
Sustainable cultures are not built overnight. Generations are required—not only for particular skills and techniques to be developed, but for the social and philosophical and spiritual values that underpin such cultures. We have lingered an extra hundred years in our adolescence, binging like teenagers: find oil, use it all up; get the most toys; get the most money. Profligacy has been our mark, and not in a sacred manner.
Amen. Grok rawness, friends and beloveds. Pray without ceasing.
On the Deepwater Horizon Disaster
Dear Privileged Members of Civilization,
Wherever home is, go there.
Go home and sit down.
Go home and sit down.
Go home, and think about what we’ve done.
This is what I want:
Functional people, whole and encouraged. Communities, support structures. Art, ritual, harmony. As best as it can be done. I want the Earth to be reverenced and loved, and I want ecosystems to thrive and for human systems on Earth to be sustainable. I want compassion to be the general rule, and for justice to be restorative. I want people to be unafraid and strong and full of creativity and reason, born out of solid, loving and loved lives. I want loneliness to be mitigated by love. I want pettiness to be massively outweighed by wisdom. I want people to give food to other people. I want people to be simply and justly fed, simply and justly clothed, simply and justly housed. I want there to be an awareness of the Other as Self while still Other. I don’t want Eden – some farcical innocence that never existed and will never exist. I just want the best we are.
Yes, I understand that mental illness and physical illness and violence and death may always be with us in some form or another. But there is no justification for rampant, global mental and physical illness, horrific torture, planetary disaster, mass violence, suffering, and murder for profit. And also? Jesus was wrong about the poor. The poor will NOT always be with us. Crushing poverty is the invention of civilization, and it can be eliminated. Do I know *exactly* how that might be done? Of course not – who the hell do I think I am? But I will tell you what I do know, and that is that crushing poverty WILL always be with us as long as we insist on living industrial lives of enormous, ridiculous consumptive privilege. Because ours is a lifestyle that necessitates living at the massively disproportionate expense of others. Giant systems created to benefit some above others are wrong. The depletion of finite resources to maintain excessive, exorbitant and unnecessary opulent lifestyles is wrong. The wholesale slaughter of the achingly perfect beauty of the Earth is wrong. The destruction of entire ecosystems and coastal communities to fuel the pocketbooks of a minute few and continue a culture of excess for a larger few is wrong. A moral goddamn wrong.
Am I being simplistic and irrational? Well I’m terribly fucking sorry. Am I being hypocritical? Probably. I can hear the air conditioning from where I sit. Yes. But I defy that bullshit dismissal. People who accuse anti-civ activists on the ‘net of hypocrisy are the same people who accuse neo-primitivists living in the woods of escapism. Dismissed if you do and dismissed if you don’t. It’s uncomfortable to deal with culpability. I know it. I read about the Horizon Deepwater disaster – unprecedented disaster – and I go to the refrigerator to get milk for my coffee, and the culpability overwhelms me. I feel helpless, and disgusted – with myself, with my inability to save anything, to make any real change. So I do what I can and it is never ever ever enough, and I fail at even that and have to come back to it again and again…and I throw words around and feel small and stupid, and I live with that. What I don’t understand is why more people, a massive amount of people…all the people…everywhere…aren’t outside hacking up their paved streets with pickaxes and planting food there, just for one example. Or hey, just planting food in their goddamned yards. Why isn’t it the mission of every city everywhere to garden up every available vacant lot? Why aren’t the owners of those disgustingly enormous houses converting them into communities? What am I doing? Whose side am I on? What have we done? Amends? Amends? Ever? Yes, these are simplistic questions. Yes, systems are complicated and terrible and monolithic and seemingly unbeatable. I know it. I get despair. I despair every day. I’d much rather watch movies on Netflix and eat frozen pizza…and I sometimes do…because I am not a fucking saint. But can I do that anymore? Can you?
Don’t get sage on me. Don’t feed me bullshit about reason and logic and call me over-emotional. Don’t tell me to calm down and save my energy for the fight. This is a goddamn emotional fight. How can it not be?
A massive movement of people can make things happen, but they have to want to. People are shit alone, and gold together. They are also shit together and gold alone. So what it comes down to really is a big, important, massive, worldview shifting choice. A shift that should take time, but we’re all goddamn out of time…good job wasting all of that, us. No time left. Just the choice: miracle or tragedy. So I say to you, people: Go home. Go home and choose. Miracle or tragedy. Which do we want to be?
Go home and think about what you will do.