Wednesday, August 20, 2008

from the ground up

We imagine an issue as something we can separate out, with a beginning and ending: issues like child care, water pollution, gay rights, money's influence in politics, and so on. But actually, there are no issues, distinct and finite. There are only entry points into the network of life.
- Lappe & Perkins. 2004. You Have the Power, p.160.

The network: it's more than the network of life. It's the network of the universe and particle physics. It's the network of sociality. It's the network of sympathy. It's the network of history. It's the network of food, waste, and death.

Since I must enter and I must enter somewhere and some time, choosing something and starting it as soon as possible is the right decision. I don't know what the next step will be. I try not to get hung up on doing it right or the way someone else (such as Frances Moore Lappe) does it.

Derek Jensen says he can't/won't advise people what to do, because every great action is only great/right in chronotopic context; it won't work in another place and time, without appropriate adjustment for place and time (from an issue of Ascent magazine). This seems about right.

Just doing something can be a big deal for me and my sense of life and my place in it. It can be a big deal for others' senses of life and their place in it. It can be a big deal for how whole systems function. No matter what, it's all part of big systems' functioning.

Not doing my something feels stultifying, it's frustrating, it's deadening, it's unethical. Some things I sometimes do:
  • write a letter
  • have a pot-luck
  • ride a bike
  • turn off the air conditioning
  • display a political pin or sticker
  • boycott mainstream media
  • get outside
  • buy local
  • meet my neighbours
  • listen
  • meditate
  • speak from experience
  • eat fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains
  • participate in my labour union
  • call out prejudice

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