If there is even a single little habit that I am unwilling to change in myself, I have no right to expect anyone else to change their own habits.
People come up with phrases like: “We ought to follow the universal laws of nature. We must follow the God’s will. We need to make the world a better place.”
What “world” are they talking about? What “universal laws of nature” do they have in mind?
When I look at the world I see it is a good place already. It’s a fabulous place—just take away (civilized) human beings.
With our civilization on-board perfectly harmonic world including human beings is utopia, for harmony is possible only without humans (as we perceive and define humans today).
But could we find any kind of compromise between humanness and “wildness” that would at least resemble Eden? Would that be the Eden that we have been told to search for by religions and spirituality? Do we even know what we’re after? Or are we starting from the wrong premises and asking the wrong questions?
Wake me up, please!
I am sitting on the airport of one of the richest cities in the world, Doha, Qatar. As we were landing I looked through the window and saw a myriad of bright lights by all the streets and around all the houses (heavy light pollution does not seem to bother anyone down there).
Why were all these lights on?
The answer is simple: because people can afford it. And because of how they feel about being able to afford it, to feel rich.
The view from the window as we were taking off from Kathmandu was totally different. Not nearly as many lights, even though it was Tihar, or Diwali, the holiday of lamps and light.
This will change, of course, when (if) Nepal gets rich(er) and then the electric lights will brightly illuminate the sky and maybe even the Himalayas. Why? Because Nepali people will be able to afford it! Will this make them happier? Maybe it will, but on the expense of making many living beings unhappy or even extinct.
The logic in our affluence is simple: if you can do it—do it! If you can jump from the edge of the universe, do it! If you can climb the Mont Everest, do it! If you can wreck a hundred cars just for a two minute movie scene, do it! If you can travel around the world with a balloon, do it! If you can manipulate with the entire humanity, do it!
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
People, could we please wake up?
Could we please let common sense guide our lives?
Could we set the limits to our madness?
Setting healthy limits is the foundation of survival of life. No limits means no future and thus no brains.
As I observe all the airplanes flying off and landing on the huge asphalt surface in front of me, I am wondering: is oil serving us, or are we serving the oil (the big business owning the oil corporations)? Are the inventions we’re using really enriching our lives? Do we even want to know the answer to these questions?
The air in Kathmandu was horrible. Not that the air in Milan, Trieste and Koper will be outstandingly good, it will only be somewhat less bad. Should I be more happy about that, or less sad?
I am tempted to answer the above question for you: the vehicles and their fuels are not actually serving us; they are merely keeping us dependent on the system that’s draining out the entire planet’s resources like a really ugly terminal disease. I was tempted to write this, but maybe I shouldn’t have. For too many a reader will say: “But…”
Being a part of the disease became our biggest habit. And huge collective habits are extremely hard to break.
However, if we don’t intelligently change our habits we’ll simply self-destruct. It won’t be the first time for a human civilization to destroy itself, but this time the destruction will definitely be the most dramatic.
The RESETbutton is already half way down. We can press it down completely ourselves or let the nature do that. I think I don’t need to explain what difference is either of these going to have for us.
Let’s get real…
In the beginning of this post I mention people who want to make the world a better place. Then, the very next moment they go to the toilet, sit down, take a dump, wipe their bottom with toilet paper and flush.
They know of no alternative to this stupid behavior. And even if they do know, it is merely a theoretical solution.
People are untouched by their feces going down the drain into a nearest river—OK, sometimes they first go through a filtering plant, but with or without the filtering plant the fact remains: we can’t change the world without changing our habits.
A few days ago in Kathmandu I saw all the sewage from the city being simply flushed down into the rivers Bagmati and Bishnumati; all the waste is being dumped on their banks. Even the locals are saying these are not rivers anymore—they might just as well be called Shitmati, for they are actually sewage and waste from the Kathmandu households. Nobody cares, nobody knows what to do. And even if they knew what to do, they have no idea how to do it.
As somebody on the last week’s World Cleanup conference said: “When people throw away things, they don’t realize there is actually no away.”
Everything is interconnected in closed loops. Every bit of shit we threw or flushed away will end up in our air, water and food after a few loops of bio-chemical transformations.
What to do?
How to change this?
Every change begins with listening.
Hearing the truth.
Some people say that the truth hurts.
But B. C. Forbes said it so well: “The truth does not hurt unless it ought to.”
If we want the change to come without pain, we should be willing to take in the truth about ourselves. If we really want the change!
And the truth is that our culture is no culture at all. It is vandalism.
Our religion is no spirituality. It is materialism.
Our politics do not support unity of people’s interest. They support opposition and division.
Our technology is no science. It is entertainment.
Our medicine is not about health. It is about disease.
Our ethics is not about values. It is about allegiance.
Lying and concealing are the core values of our civilization. But we call it the right to intimacy and the protection of personal data. But what are we really protecting—us, the natural persons, or us, the clogs in the machine?
We mostly conceal and lie about stuff that has to do with social agreements, norms, dogmas, liabilities. We lie about the money, job, social status; we’re trying to conceal our cheating the system; we hide our taxes, weaknesses, pains and dishonesty. We’re lying to escape from being what we intuitively feel we’re not. We’re lying to shun madness.
But this madness has become closely intertwined with our primal survival instincts. We are trapped!
I think we can be smarter than that.
I am the change!
Thus I come to my last question: are we really designing our world?
If we are not designing it, we’ll never succeed in changing it. If some force, outside of our control, is designing our world, including the innumerable meticulous patterns of our subconscious, than we have already given away our power and we’d better forget about the change.
The equation is simple: No real force, no real change.
I say we have no right to demand anything from the politics, industry and market as long as we are unable to change our own life’s policies and move away from the detrimental actions of our own—detrimental for ourselves or for our environment.
We must break the crazy habits of our civilization, such as education habits, employment habits, recreation habits, travel habits, eating habits, toilet habits…
Then, and only then, will I believe anyone when they give me that overly (ab)used quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I will believe them, because they will actually be saying: “I am the change and I am not looking for excuses anymore!”