Thursday, April 29, 2010

29 April 1956 “My Place in the World”

I seemed to have lost my steam for the rant. I think, perhaps, the joy of Spring has wiped some of the indignation from my mind. This, of course, makes me realize how easily we, as a people, are swayed. Give us some diversion, wave a trinket and we are the cooing satiated baby.

I will find myself now teetering on the edge of sad and angry reaction to our over manufactured world of consumerism and the quiet reclusive escape of my solitary life. So often I find I want to just turn my back completely and slip into the ‘past’ and go on as if the modern world isn’t really there. For me it is rather easy, being at home and being rather unplugged. But, again, I will feel that pull and anxiousness of the reality of our world.

Hubby recently read ‘The Story Of Stuff’ by the same woman who had made the video I shared with you. She spent over 10 years literally traveling all over the world to the factories and villages etc that are impacted by globalized industry. She at one point was a member of Green Peace but found their politics to almost be so self-involved and more concerned with the whale than the human. Not that she did not care about the plight of the animals, but that our own plight, the human animal, was as sad. It again made me realize how everything is just so packaged for our delusion to keep quiet. How easy it is to simply say, “I am outraged by animal cruelty” because it is the popular thing and then to still do and live in the modern world in a way that continues to hurt the environment, the animals, and the human animal.

Diversion. The implied or presented diversion of mass produced culture that has us care for or hate or love or loathe whatever it is at the moment whose direct and exact response is through shopping and spending money. Even in our desire to help: we  donate money. It makes us feel good, or so we are taught. Here is $20 for PETA now I will go buy more plastic items, throw out my water bottles and sit in my car waiting for my child, friend while I burn up the gas/petrol. I will buy this pleather product to not wear leather as I support the petroleum consumption.

Hubby told me how much petrol it takes to make an aluminum can. We are not told this, of course and I think of how many aluminum cans are made and used just in our country alone. I will have to ask for the exact number from him, but to make one can it takes a certain number of gallons. So, even if we drive less, just drinking from an aluminum beer or soda can is contributing to the use of the natural resource.

There was a sad statistic in that the amount of ore’s and natural mining that has to take place to make our electronics is amazing and because the areas these things come from are often small warring republics, actual life is lost. During the launch time of the Play Station II there was an actual coup where in a village was literally stormed and yes people raped and killed (things we seem to think stopped after WWII) in order to control the ground rights to mine something that goes into the chip to make the game. Actual people had to die and suffer at the hands of real guns so that over fed bored children could shoot aliens!

So, the more my eyes are opened, the more I curl into my little protective shell. But, honestly, I don’t know how true even that shell is.

The increasing digitization of our world both fascinates and repels me. The digital book/information (to which I am currently contributing) is both interesting but also rather scary. When more media is simply available for our hand held i-pads (the type of product, I believe, which will be the next cell phone. Right now it is new in three years we will say, “how would I live without my digi-pad?). Are entire markets and jobs and industries to fall with this? That is part of Capitalism, in that you simply lose entire area’s of business to the new thing, the survival of the fittest. It is probably they closest monetary model to our actual animal base instincts out there. But, what does that mean for our country?

So, I hate to only be a peddler of doom. I don’t want to only focus on the bad, but it is hard. And when I slide more into the contentment of a time gone by, am I turning my back on my fellow man? What matter it, if I use less and spend less in the over all scheme. Is my need towards self-sufficiency just my own reaction to the current trend? Is it MY keys to be rattled before my crying face to settle me down and placate me? I don’t know, really.

So, I find myself in moments of blissful happiness as I continue to learn and do more for myself and use less. It is odd that my personal ratio of happiness seems to increase with the decrease of things and buying. I used to believe or was lead to believe it was the other. “You deserve it” was often the mantra I or others would say while standing in the long lines waiting to buy another decorative useless item, a Chinese remake of something that might have had real value in its original state. You deserve that video game, that new computer, that new phone, those pre packaged meals and treats.  And with every purchase, the initial high and then the eventual crash as you came home to your cluttered house and wondered, ‘Now, where will I put this’ only to often leave it in the bag and put it in a closet.

Even my old approach to gardening was more spendthrift. I found it easier to just buy the plants in an already well established state. The cost is easily 10 times what it is to start from seed, but instant gratification was the word du jours. Now, with my few dollars worth of seed packets, I have had so much actual joy and accomplishment from simply sewing seeds in soil and caring for them and watching them grow. Again, that imaginary graph in my head showing the increase of happiness with the decrease in spending or over stimulating myself.

Well, what have I learned? Where is the silver lining? What is the RIGHT thing to do? Honestly, I don’t know. Is it a balance of self responsibility and self-preservation of mind? That seems to be my own reaction. Not having children also makes it easier for me to slip into a world of my own making. Is that good or bad or also self-indulgent? I honestly don’t know anymore.

I am sorry if this post seems rambling or even rather sad, but the pure anger of righteousness seems to have ebbed to a sort of numb realization of the modern world and my own helplessness against it. I may have felt St. George to the Dragon, but now I wonder if I simply drop my sword, hide behind my shield to stop the occasional fiery breath of the beast, but lose my will and power to wield the sword to bring him down.

The more I slip into the feel and need for the sanctity of the past, at least my own idealized version thereof, the further back I often daydream of going. I would not want to give up the advances in medicine we have, by why do we have to have the good be so wrapped up in the over all bad? Are they mutually exclusive? I don’t know.

I was poking about in my barn building this past week, trying to organize and collect up all my ‘stuff’ to have  a large yard sale this summer. To cleanse myself of all that I don’t need nor want and to simplify my life so I can focus on creating without the connection of buying. In so doing I found this little drawing I did when still living in the city. I love pen and ink. I have always loved the 19th century and even as a small child would copy out or get my inspiration from the old engravings and etchings of old books.

mermaidkids These characters were simply odd mermaid-children I had invented one day. I had found them in a box of my city studio items packed away. I had forgot the simple moment in time when I put pen to paper and let my imagination just go. In my mind I wrote out a story of these children and an adventure, very 19th century adventure. I had intended to make them into a children’s book. But, again, my point of reference is all nannies and nursemaids, adventures in crowded 19th century cities, ladies who leave calling cards. How relevant is it today? So, I ask you, in my own simple and pure joy unfettered by what I ‘should do’ or how I ‘should be feeling’, could it result in something that could and would be a contribution to the world? Are aimless scribbling for my own purpose relevant, or do their need to be admired or even purchased by people at large give them value? Am I such a product of my modern world that true value really only exist in the item or idea’s direct value in dollars? Or, is that merely a way of showing you what you have to say or draw does matter because others would wish to give up their money for it? Yet, we are all so quick to give up our money we all are always looking for ways of spending it, does even that equation of money for goods=relevance or value also become devalued? Have we lost the idea of real value? What is our own place in the modern world?

All I know is I don’t want to allow myself to completely lose touch with the modern world but what is my own relevance in it?

Well, this was rather an odd and pointless post, but I felt the need to share. Having all of you (those of you who have found my bizarre enough to follow along on this odd journey) has made my friend base more interesting. There is a bit of the old ‘imaginary friend’ in all of you. I have not created you, but am so happy to have all of you. And, of course, there is that bit of magic in having ones ‘invisible friends’ come to life and talk with you. Rather scolding or praising or merely coming along for the ride, it is a fine and good thing. It is one of the best bits of the modern world, for me. Thank you for listening to my nonsensical ramblings.

As always, happy homemaking and enjoy the Spring! It is all too fleeting.

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