The sociological phenomena that follow the day of mass waste picking inside the World Cleanup 2012 project could easily be a theme of many ph. D. papers; especially in observation of the core group of organisers in contrast with the rest of the society. It would definitely lead to extremely interesting conclusions.
It is also true that psychological research of individuals in the leading group would give unprecedented findings. It takes a special kind of person to persist in the organisation of such a volunteer enterprise that unites up to 15% of the population of a country—special in the sense of being both childishly naïve and profoundly discerning at the same time; being able to exert one self to physical, mental and emotional extremes; maintaining inner enthusiasm even in the face of evil forces that erupt from disturbed, bossy, controlling individuals in power; it takes a person that does it out of deep, sincere incentives, not for money or material gain.
The whole system of social organisation gets a slap in the face because the loose, self-organised way of leadership that relies on trust proves to be so much more efficient than the way of closed, bureaucratic administration that relies on control.
The people say: “Hey, system! You’re falling behind what needs to be done so we self-organised! We’re doing something important here! Back us up! Serve us, the people, as you’re supposed to.”
The system replies: “I can’t, there is no money.”
To this I say: “As long as hundreds of football stars are earning dozens of millions of Euros each, just for kicking a leather ball up and down a green field, I don’t believe there is no money. It’s a blunt, impudent lie.”
But really; just add up the budgets of 100 biggest football teams in the world and I guarantee the amount would suffice to solve the most imminent world’s problems, what to speak if the overall budget of global sports was tackled and utilised to fix all the problems the media are yammering about 24/7. To me this is a sign nobody really wants the problems to be solved. If they did, they’d have to change something radically, and nobody has the balls to do it.
Yes, I know what you’ll say: sports are a substitute to war; it is better to waste money on sports than on war.
Then they add there are so many unsolved political questions, more important then sports.
Can I get an allowance to swear, please?
We just had a referendum in Slovenia, one day after the cleanup, about the institution of family, question of homosexual relationship, rights of children etc. I wasn’t dragged into the meaningless wasting of energy on this question because I know that trying to impose legislation on basic natural elements of society like family is a proof there is something terribly wrong with our way of life in general. It is like imposing a set of rules to the functioning of a cell in the body without even trying to understand how it is actually designed inside the natural organism and ecosystem. This inexorably leads to disease. Someone noticed so well: “People go to war in order to prove, which religion is the most peaceful.”
I see that we live in a screwed up artificial system, and fixing it is a task that even the most progressive thinkers are hesitant to take up out of fear for personal security. Opposing economical forces can be very, very dangerous. That’s why nobody dares to do it.
Thus, we continue blinding ourselves and tangling in referendums on political questions, occupying everyone’s minds and preventing them from seeing the actual problems. They get entangled in the common denominator of all problems—wasting. Wasting individual and collective energy, resources, emotions, intelligence… and feeding them to meaningless structures that only add to wasting.
Like global professional sport, per example.
Can you imagine a referendum on banning professional sport? Globally! Imagine a huge number of people around the world saying: “We don’t want our money to go to all those gladiators any more! We want that money to solve the existential problems we are facing right now… due to your short-sighted and self-centred management of resources.”
With football stars losing their job we might see the day when “football fans” would stop spending hours a day in front of TV watching how others play it and rather go out and play it themselves.
The football stars might continue to kick the ball, but now only for entertainment; for the rest of the time they would participate in the society in a meaningful manner, and not as overpaid professional gladiators, abused as a hypnotic tool for the entertainment of the dumb crowd.
I don’t think we’re mature enough for such a vision; we will, rather, continue wasting and destroying the world, hypnotised into thinking that that’s our only choice.
The leather ball is just one of the items that hypnotises the masses into quiet passivity. People just sit down and obey, like dogs—even without command. They surrender their minds into custody of guardians of public opinion.
And then a bomb hits this status quo!
Some people say: “Let’s do something about this! Really! Let’s do it! Something small: let’s just clean the world, per example.”
It’s a tiny little proposition, really. But when a surprising number of other people begin to follow this initiative, it becomes a threat to the status quo.
Money begins to lose the primate as the key motivating agent, without which nobody would do anything. A sharp contrast between the effectiveness of an enterprise driven by inner fervency and freedom compared to an enterprise driven by greed and anguish becomes obvious. It becomes evident that polarised parliamentary governments mostly shuffle opinions left and right, focused on money, money, money, without ever really caring about people, what to speak about other important issues. And not actually being able to solve anything.
Governments are mostly about protecting the interests of the banking mechanisms inside corporatocracy, while human values and ethical norms are a side issue, subordinate to the forces of the capital. This is not just wrong, it is downright evil. The money keeps pushing the world towards the abyss; ever faster and faster it goes, while those of us with the open eyes stand in the middle of it with disbelief and frantically attempt to snap the people out of the hypnotised state they are in.
As a matter of fact, lethargy, apathy and self-abnegation are so prevalent, that I have no problem in describing the mental state of citizens as mass hypnosis. People’s dull state of mind gives even more space to corruption, centralisation of power, unfair distribution of goods and abuse of power just for the sake of maintaining it. If we put the problems of the world in one word, it would definitely have to be: WASTING.
Once you do something about this problem—on your own—the system can’t avoid showing all the flaws there are in its marrow. The cleanup of my own country made me realise how crooked the system is and how blind the majority of people are. That’s why, despite the success, I am down.
13.5% of population is still a minority. Nothing major has changed yet. Human society continues to waste massively and we can’t change this with a one day project. I know that now.
Basically, the main contribution of our cleanup project was raising awareness of a few people and educating some children that all kinds of wasting are a sign of social madness. The sad fact, on the other hand, is that vast majority of people didn’t move even an inch towards saneness. What to speak of the system itself. It is even resisting the change towards sanity!!
I see this, so how can I be happy?
* * *
Such thoughts have been in my mind in the last few days after the 24th of March.
Today I called my dear friend Marja. It was the right thing to do! She didn’t dissolve my inner dissatisfaction, but she at least brought peace to my mind.
She told me about her professor of mathematics, Mr. Kač. The professor was a very dedicated, very moral and openhearted person, who used to say that teaching, or awareness-raising is the effort with the lowest efficiency rate, but it is also the effort that simply needs to be done by someone in a long-term perspective.
His words made me understand that people engaged in this effort have ethical sense so deeply embedded in their spirit that they are the only real leaders of the world who don’t do it for the sake of personal gain. The results of their work are not proportionate to the amount of energy they invest in it. It is not easy to go on conserving energy and values while 99% of people go on wasting them. But these people intuitively do it because they know it’s the only right thing to do.
I spent hundreds of hours in volunteer work in the last months. The result of all this work seems meagre to me. (Was it a waste of time?) I am not fulfilled. I am not happy. What gives me hope are those few people that I work with and a few others that dare to speak out and do something real! They are the ray of light that gives me hope.
My subjective feeling is that accepting my own emotional states, no matter how I feel, is a sign of saneness. But what I can’t and won’t accept is the madness in the society that’s compromising our mere existence.
Thank God, I am among that special kind of people I mentioned in the beginning. I persist and I am not afraid. I can’t let anyone bully me anymore. They have no power over me because I have a clear sense of ethics and I am not bound by sick contracts with their abusive system. I know what needs to be done and I am doing it! I am sane because I don’t conform.
I’d love to see the sociologists and psychologist diagnose me, and be baffled by the lack of terms to describe my condition. Hearing their diagnoses I’d be forced to ask: “Am I mad or is everybody else?”
I know their answer wouldn’t be the truth. They’d be trying to comply with the consensus not with the reality.
Thus I can sincerely allow myself to be down; open to the world, without hiding the truth and playing smug. Hitting the bottom gives me strength to rise to the top. I am accepting myself as a collegial leader, as someone honest about my ups and downs. I am not a leader in the false sense of the word, I don’t need to pretend to be cool to be respected.
I know I am only starting to regain my sanity, our sanity. I am stopping to waste my life and the lives of my fellows. I am learning as I go on and I am making many mistakes on the way, so I am down.
But that’s alright, because that is a proof that I am sane. I am dedicating my energy to shifts that really matter because I am not afraid. My conscience is cleaner day after day, as is the space I inhabit in this world.
I am a part of something bigger than I could ever imagine. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau said: “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”