It doesn’t have to be this way.
I speak of all the world: the all-consuming engines of commerce, the self-serving political structures, the slow unraveling of the local communities and cultures. The enslavement of forests, of rivers, of land and the people within them in the name of “progress;” progress of technology, production and capitalism. Progress in the name of consumption and greed. Progress in the name of innovation, in the name of conquest. Progress for its own sake.
What we forget (I included) is that this decimation of culture and place is not inevitable. Our lives and communities are not set on a determined path. Even if it seems there is no way for us to turn, we have the ability to think critically, to analyze, to observe the effects and ramifications of our own doings in this world. We are capable of change, for the better. We are able to reverse the tide, to make up for the sins we have built up against this planet and our fellows. We have the power to heal… if we choose to use it.
The only time oppression wins is when we accept it. The only time manipulation triumphs is when we look away; we stop judging, we stop thinking, we stop feeling. We stop taking responsibility of our actions, be they personal or across an entire nation. How long can we possibly continue pushing off the consequences? How long can we wait with childlike faith for the utopia promised by such a greedy and fragmented society…?
Change starts now. Change starts with your intention to do good to others, to do good for the earth. To do everything to the best of your ability. To nurture not only those around you, but the world around you as well. To think of your community, and to respect unknowable greatness of this world we live in.
And most importantly: don’t stop thinking. The world doesn’t have to be this way… we don’t have to sit back and accept it.
The preceding is inspired by Wendell Berry’s book, “Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition.” I highly suggest it. It might just change your life.