Monday, June 16, 2008

Its a balancing act

So in what ways could I make the world a better place? First off, does it have to be the whole world? I have this strange feeling that the world exists inside each of us and that that each person’s world is different. We can only interact with anything (including our own world) through our own senses. Bear with me here. For me, once I know of something it becomes part of my world. For example, I have never been great at geography and I have only in the past few years become aware of a place called Darfur. I still don’t know much about it. But I have heard that some pretty heinous things have been going on there. But for me, circa 2005, Darfur did not exist because I did not know about it. If I could wave a magic wand and make it better I would. I believe that no one deserves to live (or die) like that, but it happens. And can I do anything about it? I don’t know. To me, that problem is too big. And it is abstract. I can only imagine the problems that exist and therefore any solutions I have may not actually have any bearing on the real problems. What is the underlying cause of the conflict? What is really the problem? Short of getting on a plane and living in Darfur for a while (and I am white, so it would not even really be the same...) I cannot understand the problem. If I try to take on the huge problems that are not familiar to me then I will get ground to dust. I think the most effective methods of change are those which we can personally control. If you can experience the problems with your own senses then you might be able to be part of a solution. I know that is a very cynical and possibly selfish view. But hey, I’ve earned my cynicism and I freely admit I am selfish.

So I choose not to focus on things like world hunger, war, homelessness, or other societal ills, but rather on the micro-scape of my own world.

I care very much about the environment and I did so before it was the “cool trendy” thing to do. I have devoted most of my free time to working on my own mini-farm and not using products synthesized in a lab to kill every creature in the garden.
Instead I plant flowers that will attract insects that will feast upon the creatures that will in turn feast upon my plants. I have also tried to implement a practice where I am responsible for my own waste removal and I try to reuse and recycle as much around the house and farm as possible. Just because something might not look shiny and new any more, if it still can be used for something, even if it is not what it was originally designed, then I use it.

I also believe in being kind to all things, both human and non-human. It might be naive but I sincerely believe that most people are good.

People learn to mistrust one another and I think that is a great deal of our problem. Not everyone is perfect but if you genuinely extend yourself to them and try to understand their views/problems/ideas, your will get along better than if you expect them to fit a mold you created for them... It is just like my approach to gardening. Take the time to get to know someone or something and be willing to change if you need to. I believe in balance and harmony and if you can observe and use nature in a balanced way you will have sustainability.

The same usually goes for human relationships. Just allow things and people to be what they need to be. I think too much of our society is based upon the idea of conquering everything instead of taking the time to become part of the cycle. If we can work in harmony with nature (and bend our own desires to it if need be) then we won’t have to come up with ways to “Save the Planet.” Believe me, she will save herself. That battle cry should really be “Save our Selfish Little Asses.” Which, of course, comes back to my idea that we are our own world, and if the planet tries to re-balance itself and eliminate the offending species (us) then it would be the end of the world, at least for those of us who are eliminated.

I think if I can raise awareness of this balance and harmony and show at least one other person how living in the cycle instead of dictating what the cycle will be will garner better results for myself and the world in which I live, then I have done a huge favor to my fellow humans. And by sharing the beauty I find in working in concert with the environment I can share this idea. And by helping others to just think about their own world, I think I can make the biggest difference of all.

2 comments:

Tristan said...

Wow, I miss being part of your classes, Beth! It looks like you're in some very interesting territory, judging by this blog.

As you say, the world exists in each of us. I believe everything is relative, and worrying about making the entire world a better place without concentrating first on your locale is a huge mistake, and one that I made for a long time.

I used to get so worked up about what was happening in the Middle East, in Asia, etc., and felt like there was nothing I could do to change anything. But luckily I've realized that change starts at home, and having a positive influence on those around me in my home, neighborhood, school, work, etc. will have positive ripple effects much larger than I probably suspected.

Cheers to positive change through local action!

Maleah said...

Good post.