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All measures of progress always begin with looking back at what it is we are trying to improve upon. The American Revolution was set against a back drop of a previous system of organized civilization that wasn’t working for a lot of folks so a few thoughtful and well organized people overthrew the system that wasn’t working, the British monarchy in this case.
Or on a personal level one might seek to get into better physical shape because the performance of their human body isn’t what they’d like it to be so they do something about it. There are endless examples. In order to improve we must be aware of what it is we are improving upon. I think we can all agree on that.
In our lives there are thousands of choices we make in order to optimize the human experience ranging from the mundane to the extreme. These are usually well intentioned and valuable however, in the course of our self determination we may sometimes loose site of the global connections that we all have a stake in. For instance, in the midst of my striving to be a better father to one’s children, the father may loose site that the food he is buying to please his children’s taste buds in the short term but has a negative effect on the planet in the long term. That’s a very pedestrian example but we all share in this sort of behavior. Most of can’t claim that we are in 100% of the solution all the time. There are endless necessary evils that we participate in simply because the way our options are presented in society can’t be escaped without great difficulty or inconvenience. Unless there’s a massive shift in the collective conscious we are very slow to make any huge changes at once.
Occasionally we do simply because enough is enough. Take civiil rights for instance – the insanity went on long enough so a forceful change came about in a very short period of time. This happened because a collective spark was ignited that resulted in most people realizing that they had enough bullshit and hypocrisy. Of course, many people even today still can’t accept this and choose hatred over love. Still, some progress was made.
This is the insanity quotient. Ask yourself how much collective insanity must we continually engage in that is comfortable for you? Since the beginning of recorded history there has always been an accepted level of insanity that we as a society can seemingly accept. War, poverty, religious crusades, racism, environmental neglect – choose your poison. Most of us just proclaim “that’s just the way things are.”
Ok. Fair enough. I just drive a hybrid car that still uses gasoline and a toxic battery, it’s slightly better for the planet that a conventional car but still not ideal. Why? Because that’s just the way things are. I can’t (or am not willing) to give up my car entirely to put my money where my mouth is. I simply do the best I can even though it’s not good enough. Or, when I dine out I eat institutional food and meats that are in no way GMO free or cruelty free. Why? Because I’m not willing to not be social and source 100% of my food responsibly. I do the best I can even though it’s still not good enough. This, again, is the insanity quotient. I engage in some mundane levels of insanity simply because I can’t be bothered to completely disengage from these common behaviors.
These are personal day to day life decisions. What about the BIG collective species decisions? Take climate change or war in the middle east.
Why is there a certain group of people so intent on denying there is a problem with the human impact humans are having on the environment? Best I can make out is that changing our behavior is simply to expensive and problematic. To have a course correction at this point would change the way we conduct business and government in a way that simply can’t be tolerated by some people who control a great sum.
Or why are some people rationalizing an excuse to go to war with Iran in order to defend Israel rather than taking a road of negotiation? I won’t even attempt to answer that one, but it’s happening and anyone can read about it on any given day.
This post is one of observation, not of answers per se. Yes, I believe that changing our consciousness is the first big step. But there’s still a problem – even when we do that we’re still not doing enough. How much insanity are we willing to live with before it’s too late?