Can you hear that? That crashing? That smashing? That sound of a billion fissures?
It resonates across this infinite, global web of cash and ethics.
It’s ocean, air, earth heaving, overtaxed for far too long. It’s inequality as rampant as our rapaciousness.
Yes, we’re shattered indeed.
With every report of another collapsed garment factory, with each deregulatory act of the energy sector, as half a million consumers buy the harmful product because the greener one was too expensive –
It reverberates a bit louder.
We’re all just trying to make it through. But occasionally, we stop and dare to ask –
“Where does that sound come from? Who is to blame?”
At last, that dissonance finds its context in our rare bursts of clarity.
Too often, this age of post-truth politics means officials trade in our lives for their gluttonous profits and glory, steamrolling evidence and sending the opposition to voicemail.
Kings of commerce co-opt our convictions, positioning cheap, conspicuous ethics as a component of conspicuous consumption – neutral, ‘ethical’, minimalistic and expensive. Watered down social justice becomes the latest handbag, an accessory of our self-promotion.
‘Enough’ remains so elusive, as does a heart and real time for those suffering around us.
Oh! What a privilege it is to be ‘right’.
What a privilege it is to choose whether to fast or to feast.
What a privilege it is to be a member of a class and a nation that always has its interests protected.
Yet, our most broken, busted, desperate places remain so. Our grimmest, most warped systems continue on. And my voice is altogether inconsequential.
That reality wrecks me. I thrash, I foam, I seethe, I howl. I’m tempted to give in to the undercurrents. To let nature, that tortured thing, take her course. Surely, I’ll be gone before she does, and in any case, this isn’t really my fault.
Nevertheless, I’ve had a better idea. Perhaps all is not lost.
Here it is –
I need you, dear friend!
(This, my radical, rebellious yawp!)
I need you to keep me hopeful and daring.
I need you to feel acutely my trivial joys and heartbreaks.
I need you to give me grace as my own propensities toward greed, violence and power are unearthed and to choose to cling to my hidden goodness.
I need you to cry out with me because my faint whisper drowns among this cacophony.
I need you to help me reclaim my voice and influence within this so-called democracy.
I need you to move with me beyond mere words, to act boldly and compassionately, to tackle systems, not just personal habits and budgets.
I need you to challenge me to do my part in moving beyond consumerism into the heavy work of social justice and sustainability.
I’m trusting you’ll do this for me, and I promise to do the same for you.
Resurfacing, we remember we are the descendants of the ancient ones. The Minoans, the Slavs, the Shangs, the Arabs, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans. All, now, the rock and dirt we stand on, just as we will be for our children.
We’ve almost believed ourselves to be the authors and orchestrators of science. Or at least, somehow separate from it. Yet, my two feet, yours too, roam one of eight known planets, all gravitating around that life-giving orb of hot plasma. A small part of one of many galaxies.
Here together, we are an exquisite, mighty gale of sound and colour, flesh and bone. A classical element all our own. Earth. Wind. Fire. Homo sapien.
Here together, we take up the inherent responsibility of our species and assume our place in history and within this organic equilibrium.
Here together, we take this step forward, and we give our brothers and sisters, the forgotten ones, the opportunity to do the same.