Being a passenger in your very own life is bullshit

So here we are, just the two of us… well not exactly, but close. 

Whether you’re reading this seated on a log, rolled in ya swag or planted on the couch; perhaps sitting there on your own or surrounded by others… it’s still just us… unless of course you’re reading this out aloud to those around you and if so that’s kinda a weird, but each their own. 

Anyways, moving on. Today’s been okay, hasn’t it. Last night we slept in a bed and this morning we woke perhaps to the sound of others in the house moving around – perhaps someone was knocking together some breakfast for you like they did for me, very lucky… if so, that was a pretty good start to the day right there. 

We, you and I are older right now than we’ve ever been and as young now as we’re ever gonna be again… and that equation continues to evolve with every second… To some that’s a bit of a worry… but as worry is most definitely a wasted commodity I try not to focus on what is or was and more so on what may be. What we can do or say or be and less about what may have been, should have or could have been… and again because for the most part, it’s in the past and there is SFA we can do to change it. 

Unfortunately though we as a collective have a range of things we prefer to focus on, and rarely are those things of a positive or constructive nature. Sure we think and plan and scheme and worry but so much of it is about us, our life, our family, our stuff and how we can get more of it or ensure that we don’t lose any of it. Or it’s our increasing addiction like following of those whose lives we’re told and tend to imagine are either more interesting or more important than our own. Back to us though, we get up early and we work hard, really hard, we pay our bills and we pay our taxes… and that’s enough, ain’t it… isn’t it… well… isn’t it?

I say ‘no’; not ‘no’ to working hard and certainly not ‘no’ to paying our way, but definitely ‘no’ to that being enough. If we simply pay at the counter, so to speak, and go on with our lives with little more contribution than that, then we are nothing more than passengers… and since when have the passengers ever had any control over how the trip goes? You board a plane or climb onto a bus and away you go, you fully expect that the chosen mode of transport will deliver you safely and on time to your chosen destination… you rarely consider the conditions that the pilot or driver may encounter along the way and yet we are all so very put out and disappointed should we arrive more than a few moments late at either end. The journey of life and the part we play in the general passage of our evolving society is not totally dissimilar to the plane or the bus ride.

Sure life is more complicated than that, of course it is, but it doesn’t have to be when considering the role we fill in each other’s lives or as a member of an ever growing community. We, the masses, we the people, the mums & dads, the husbands & wives, the brothers & sisters of the human race on this planet have delegated away both our opinions as individuals and our authority as a body of people… and all this by doing nothing… nothing at all. We didn’t set out to see this happen, we didn’t choose it for ourselves or come together as a group to form a general consensus of opinion for a way forward. We just got so wrapped up in our own lives and partly distracted by the gossip, waffle and drama of some other’s lives that we forgot that to be in the game, you have to compete. We have to be willing to act on our convictions and focus on what’s important to us as a community… and not just to us as individuals.

We all know shit costs too much, but still we pay it. We know a lot of what we buy generates enormous amounts of rubbish and that that rubbish irreparably damages the environment, yet we continue to purchase these things and in many cases discard the wrapper, canister or packaging without a second’s thought. That may have been partly sustainable on a planet of this size when we numbered in the hundreds of millions… but at seven billion and growing this is becoming a problem.  

We’re well aware of the enormous amounts of wasted food that our selective and down right picky tastes have long now encouraged, but no change, we still need our fruit to be perfect and our vegetables uniformed and inside an acceptable margin for appearance. We as a planet produce on a nearly daily basis twice as much food as we require to sustain ourselves, but between what never sees the shelves due to alleged below par quality or a system that prices much of it out of the reach of many… we waste so very much of what we need above almost anything else to survive.  

Our journalists, commentators and elected officials do on occasion do and say things that we’re all appalled by and yet we continue to buy their papers, we watch their news programs, we listen to their radio shows and often we line up to re-elect the very same individuals who we’re convinced are lying to us or deceiving us to some extent… AND worse still, we don’t speak up, we don’t call out the behaviour or stand against these folks at the next election to provide the population some very real choice when it comes to candidates to represent us.

I studied recently a little about the human mind, the human brain, and it turns out that our big old brains are so efficient that they have put a large part of what we do throughout our lives on autopilot… they (our brains) have created a manual of sorts for so much of what we do so that we need not bother wasting time thinking through each and every action or activity our hearts and minds compel us to undertake. Now that sounds pretty cool I guess, certainly when it comes to walking, talking, sleeping, drinking, driving and a what I presume is an endless list of other things that fill our days. But, and unfortunately it’s a pretty big but! our brains have become so good at this that our society has gradually adopted a very similar approach to life, and in time if not already we will all be the weaker and lesser individuals because of it.

We (me very much included) all want things and want them now. We desire and almost need instant resolution and or satisfaction for each and every request, action or inkling our minds consider. Making this worse, if it’s not already a rather sad and very disappointing situation, is that we’re no longer as willing to work for this resolution and satisfaction as we once were. We’re born into homes and lifestyles that are more comfortable than those of many of the generations to come before us, we’re protected as youths from many of life’s hard lessons even though we’ve formed a strange relationship with these lessons though our parents, even though we’ve not truly experienced them ourselves. We’re schooled less and less by the village and more and more by the system as many members of the village are too busy now to assist in the raising of the children as they had once done.

With a reduced focus on contribution and increased attention paid to entertainment often we’re led into situations where idle hands certainly do provide a challenge for us all. When we leave school we’re now promised the world to be our oyster and at ages younger and younger offered access to parts of the grown world that had once taken many years to fulfil. We desire and soon achieve nicer and newer vehicles than perhaps we’re due, same for our homes, with us often moving into homes similar to if not better than those we grew up in with less and less people completing an apprenticeship of sorts of home ownership. With all these new shiny possessions and often considerable debt and almost lifelong commitments we’re driven and even forced to chase bigger more demanding and hopefully higher paying jobs to assist with paying for everything we’re rapidly compiling…

Due to these now unavoidably busy lifestyles we’ve become almost immune to the realities of life and with ever reducing attentions spans we now require more and more rapid stimulation to get the exact same high or sense of satisfaction that previous generations managed from far simpler activities and pastimes. We’ve no longer the time and to a degree the patience for investing in relationships or understanding the world around us. We don’t ‘take our time’ or ‘enjoy the ride’ anymore for we’re often either too worried about missing out on something better or too distracted by the many and varied devices and temptations that are constantly paraded for our possible consideration.   

We don’t donate our time, efforts or money as much as we used to yet are compelled to offer opinion where ever possible when the basics in life fall below our expectations. The same can certainly be said for amount of time we choose to invest in challenging or for that matter supporting those that we’ve elected to lead us… These folks are a reflection of us, if you want better leaders you need to not only put better candidates forward, but support them when they’re in office. The higher number of people stepping forward to lead will in time give us better leaders, and leaders that feel supported are more inclined to go the extra mile, try that bit harder and hold themselves and their actions to far higher standard than those that aren’t supported. We’re now a society of opinions (like this one) but not leaders, we comment and critic but rarely act to improve or resolve.

Many of our local community groups struggle to have enough people attend to even form a legitimate quorum. The local council or chamber meetings often invite the public to attend, but rarely see any great number of folks come along… as is the case with elected officials at a state or federal level. We are busy, we are not always in a position to contribute or attend… but for the most part we have lost faith in these conventions and are simply not interested. My grandfather on mum’s side was in local government for almost four decades while my dad’s father stood atop flatbed trucks on street corners and rallied the people prior to all elections to have more  people involved in the conversation. Both men were very much from the opposite sides of government, but what they both embodied was that ability, desire and commitment to get involved with the decisions that were being made that in one way or another impacted them, their families and the world they lived in.

Many will argue that life is far busier now than ever before and we as individuals simply don’t have time to do all the civic minded and community sustaining activities that those that come before us dedicated their time to… and while I’d love to agree… that’s crap. We (you and I) have to a great extent chosen the lives that we’re now living and filled those lives with all the issues, items and incidents that tend to dominate our days (and nights). We are so focussed on the here and now and have somehow developed a level of confidence that the weeks, months, years and even generations ahead will take care of themselves… and we really have lost sight of the long game… Those that came before us lived by sayings such as ‘saving for a rainy day’ and ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’, while we’re more of a ‘work hard, play hard’  and ‘borrow now, pay later’ type of animal.

The greatest thing we can do as a people and as individuals is to get involved… take some responsibility for what we have now and what we desire for our lives ahead and actively work within the community to see these come true for us all. By that, I mean we need to get back to voting with our feet and not with our mouths… if we don’t like something then discuss it, form an opinion amongst us as a society and then take action to see it changed. Don’t pay through the nose for stupid stuff or load up on debt just to do and have all the same shit that the folks have next door. Don’t buy the perfect fruit and veggies from the big shopping centres and instead seek out farmers markets, co-ops and private sellers… and let the Woolies and IGAs of this world know why you’re not spending with them like you used to. We can stop filling the oceans, rivers and country sides with rubbish by buying less disposable crap and of what we do buy, seeing that its reused or at very least finds it’s way into a bin.

We the people have the power to greatly impact if not totally dominate the way our world moves forward from here… but we have to get involved, even at the most remote or minute level. The top ten news stories of this year around the world are so far removed from what you and I know as our daily existence and have little if anything to do with the improvement and sustainability of us as a global society, yet they have seduced us and drained us of so much of our time, energy and inclination to act. Between the Donald’s latest tweets, Prince Harry’s love interest, gay folks getting hitched, our pollies family heritage and some rich or powerful people in Hollywood and around the world being royal shits to mostly young female staff… we’ve become drunk on the gossip and innuendo. Half the world’s population lives below what most of us western world people would accept to be a liveable living standard; millions starve annually and thousands if not tens of thousands continue to die in conflicts… yet our news and in turn our conversations are dominated by gossip, waffle and bullshit.

2017 has seen yet another year of the same; for every good deed done, dollar saved, mouth fed and life saved or improved countless more have been destroyed… and 2018 will be the same. I don’t know where, when, what or how I can change any of this… but I do know why, and the why is because if we don’t try it will only continue and in time get worse… and eventually see the end of us all. So if you don’t mind I’ll keep my festive season well wishes to a minimum and leave you with this… being a passenger in your very own life is bullshit, go to bed early tonight for a change and then in the morning, and in the new year… get involved… just get involved.

This is Black Rat’s Back Chat, thanks for reading and for playing along. JM xo


Categories James Blog | Tags: , , | Posted on December 31, 2017

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