“Religion is, in reality, living. Our religion is not what we profess, or what we say, or what we proclaim; our religion is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think – all these things – twenty-four hours a day. One’s religion, then, is one’s life, not merely the ideal life but the life as it is actually lived.” ~ Jack D. Forbes, Columbus and Other Cannibals: The Wetiko Disease of Imperialism, Exploitation and Terrorism
How should we live our lives?
I asked myself that question when I was 14. I went through that quest while trying to sustain myself in a place with few or none opportunities for a girl like me. A difficult task: how do you work for others, find a place to rent, start a relationship and make decisions every day when the society around constantly bombards you with messages and expectations that go against your inner voice, your call, your nature?
It took me a while to realize that it won over me. That I’ve been living the life they expected me to live.
Until I woke up.
But it doesn’t let you go so easily: it clings around and hurts you with its tentacles, sowing excuses all around your mind. It takes years to discover again your true face.
When none of our schemes and paradigms can keep standing, is there something to turn to?
What makes us so lazy and negligent, so easily distracted, comfortable and complacent around the horror that is today’s society? How can we not see that we are part of it with every small step we take, every choice we make, every word we speak?
Is this relentlessly further going into social, economic and even spiritual collapse something expected, inevitable and the result of an evolutionary “mistake”, a sort of “human nature” we can’t help or is this a bad turn taken centuries ago (even millennia) by a group of humans that spread out to all cultures through the formation of empires and forced immigration?
When and why did we start accepting as “normal” to take other peoples and beings lives, lands and resources so we could live more comfortably?
When and why did we start the arrogant conviction that “our” concept of right and wrong, how to live and who to be are more correct, important or worth than those of other peoples and beings?
Why do we passively accept that in order to get a “high” from a coffee drink, we also need to accept the human and land exploitation behind those coffee grounds, the pollution and damage to lands, oceans and life caused by that little stupid “recyclable” cup and its horrendous plastic lid?
Why do we passively accept walking through so many homeless; having cookie-cut neighbourhoods built where pristine forests used to live, reading horrific stories of discrimination, pain, destruction and terror; knowing that all is crumbling around and falling apart and still we can go to our offices, sit on our chairs, plug our screens, laugh at a joke…?
When it became “right” to give our children to strangers so they can teach them a culture while they (our children) lack the basics of life? To give away our elders so someone else would bath them, listen to them, provide company to them? To lock our tamed “pets” so they are there when we come back, after spending (them) hours laying on the floor, desperate for company and life? To lock ourselves and our loved ones inside dangerous machines that run every way on paved roads and sometimes crash? To lock ourselves in offices and sell our hours for a fee so we could buy our food, pay for shelter and entertain ourselves till we fall asleep?
When did we start seeing as normal and acceptable to strip other species from their homes and ecosystems, corner them to increasingly smaller spaces and polluting what’s left? Or taking some of them and completely changing their life-cycles, food and reproduction to finally kill them without even saying thanks so we can feed ourselves till we explode of glotony?
Depression, anxiety, isolation, bi-polarism, psychotic episodes, back pain, cancer, impossible fatigue, dysfunctional families, abuse, crime, terrorism, wars: aren’t they the natural outcome of all this detachment, this careless un-living?
“The “norm” for humanity is love.
Brutality is an aberration.
We are not sinners by nature.
We learn to be bad.
We are taught to stray from our good paths.
We are made to be crazy by other people who are also crazy and who draw for us a map of the world which is ugly, negative, fearful, and crazy.”
~ Jack D. Forbes, Columbus and Other Cannibals: The Wetiko Disease of Imperialism, Exploitation and Terrorism