Circular patterns of growth on a pine tree

Are we wise, living this way?

Of all the ways we could conceivably be living in this world, how is it we’re choosing to spend our time? Out of all the options, suggestions, established or hypothetical patterns of behaviour, and thoughts we can choose between, what methods are we using to determine the course our lives will take? And, how aware are we of all those decisions come to represent within our environment?

Wouldn’t it be interesting to “see” all the forces that are reshaping the world to meet the demands of the Western marketplace? All the lives impacted by our choices. The insistent chipping away at global resources. This sense in which, instead of the free unfolding of whatever interests lie within each of us, we’re living with a distorted suppression of individuals to fill the seemingly endless demands of others. (Notes One)

Doesn’t concern over efficiency and productivity tend to squeeze the life out of things, until we’re just the carefully managed faces of the machine? Forgetting, perhaps, that “all this” is only “there” to meet the genuine needs of human communities. Justifying all manner of things on the grounds that they’re simply part of the economy – this inevitable cycle of people seeking ways to make ends meet. (Notes Two)

If we stopped with it all, wouldn’t whole chunks of all that’s been built around this way of being come grinding to a halt? All the livelihoods, projections, expectations and identities constructed around the idea of this continuing. This strange bubble of unnecessary, indulgent, wasteful, impulsive consumption that seems to constitute so much of what’s going on.

Beneath it all, how many reasonable, constructive things are still happening? What’s left of those earlier notions of restraint, balance and harmonious coexistence? How much of our planet’s being consumed this way? Relationships between people and their countries strained as global production strives to fulfil our every whim.

Is it really the best way to be mapping our physical and psychological needs to the finite resources of any environment? Thinking that what we’re wanting somehow defines, completes or enriches our lives. With so much money and so many products changing hands on this basis, might it not be that we’ve taken a perfectly sustainable, beautiful world and decimated it with unbridled insecurity and greed?

Imagining, also, the bubble of all we’re thinking and feeling within this way of life, what are we generating? How meaningful is it to be living alongside one another like this, spending time as we are, with everything that’s running through our heads while we do so? If we were to strip all the nonessential, manufactured psychological elements out of the picture, what would be left? (Notes Three)

While we might, in many ways, simply be picking up where others left off, does that mean we shouldn’t be thinking things through for ourselves and deciding what we truly want our lives to be part of? Hopefully, finding ways to actively uphold the principles needed to construct and sustain a healthy way of being.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Do markets create strange social forces?
Note 1: Values, compromise & how things are
Note 1: How would we like to live?
Note 1: Who gets to define us
Note 2: Value and meaning in our lives
Note 2: Does it all come down to money?
Note 2: Humans, tangled in these systems
Note 2: The value we’re giving to things
Note 3: Solving all the problems we’re creating
Note 3: How much is in the hands of the market
Note 3: Lacking the human side of community?
Note 3: All we’re expected to understand

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