I am astounded by the blinders many of us wear in an attempt to make our lives more personally livable. We close our eyes against our lies and denials all the while building up barriers so that we don’t have to face the obvious. And we buy self-help books to rearrange what took many of our parents the vital first years of our lives to derange.
We fill our lives with things - those material things that are bought with our sweat and debt to feel more worthy yet in the end they prove to be worthless. We go shoulder to shoulder, grabbing and pushing for that sale item that will make us feel better than we do as we try to keep up with those who already have it and still feel like crap.
“You know, it was important for me to do something like that (Butterfly?), because nobody ever really thought I could do anything except look sexy on a poster and go shopping.” - Pia Zadora, actor, singer and humorist?
We lust after famous labels to advertise our value and yet we do so without compensation therefore belittling our value. Oddly, we fail to see that the only ones getting compensated are the famous names on the labels whose value becomes enriched.
We seek protective warmth in the pelts of the cruelly killed when there are humane and fashionable alternatives of equal protection. It’s in the end really a shallow pursuit of fashion and elitist insensitivity to the suffering of countless animals whose lives end in agony. And yet the wearer is still cold in appearance and in defiance to the crime.
“The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.” - Marya Mannes, More in Anger, 1958
We seek food to fill our stomachs from the bodies of farm animals that are treated like insentient product without a life but for what we have provided. And what we have provided is an assembly line of living creatures exterminated after lives lived in tight cages, crates, and cement floors. We stretch the necks of geese to daily force feed them for just one highly valued organ that is eaten by only a minority of shallow, self-proclaimed foodies who spread it on bread before reminding themselves of their diets or high cholesterol and sending the rest back.
We love the landscape of our country and hoot and holler about the superiority of its beauty to any other country, yet we frack into it and cement onto it. We allow the erection of billboards on every corner and graffiti public transportation with even more advertising. We deface our mountains and sacrifice our wildlife with the building of communities lived in by those who wished for or insisted on a “view.” It becomes the untenable conflict of wildlife and their natural means of survival versus the human wild life who deny their own destructive and predatory status.
“The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago...had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.” - Havelock Ellis,The Dance of Life, 1923
We join churches and change religions as if they were social clubs and so might be. We are pulled in by the beauty of stained glass windows strategically allowing in the spiritual light and are entranced by the religious icons meant to welcome us like committees. We join to belong to a group and are met by standards that are meant to be kept whether we agree or not so as not to be ostracized. And we tithe for being allowed to belong and for the very thing that should be free – belief.
“Lighthouses are more helpful then churches.” — Benjamin Franklin, author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor,satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
We social network like Prairie Dogs, counting hundreds/thousands as our friends. Facebook and Twitter providing us a sense of knowing and being known. And yet, no one calls and Saturday nights and New Years are spent glued to a computer screen social networking making more friends.
“For the past few years I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and occasionally on the phone with women I have met online.” - Anthony Weiner, former U.S. Representative who served New York's 9th congressional district from January 1999 until June 2011.
For those who claim to live the life of enlightenment; to whom none of the references made above apply, I say get an agent and write a book. I probably won’t read it because I despise self-help books by authors I’ve no reason to think are any more enlightened than I am.
“I do believe in self-help.” – Clint Eastwood, actor, director and man who talks to a chair.