Idle Culture

Writings of a cultural dysfunct

Location: Seattle, United States

Friday, September 03, 2004

Make it Count

When I see their faces full of fear, I do not think of furthering their pain or placing more burdens on their heavy lives. I can see their pain, their shock at the intersection that life has left them haphazardly balanced in and I cannot help but feel responsible for having caused them hardship. Anyone who sees an enemy in their despair is no human with reason, with compassion. These are people that live, breathe, love, and die. They are no different than anyone else that has been given a life. They were once children with hopes and dreams of life after childhood. They ran with smiles on their faces into a life that should be more than what has been given to them.

Those of us who are fortunate to have never experienced first-hand these realities are hard-pressed to understand how people are capable of surviving in such an extreme environment. How can a person deal with such great loss—loss of loved ones, loss of homes, loss of identity, loss of a future? There can be no stronger willed person than one who is capable of regaining his or her life after such tragedy.

We who sit safely from afar and judge from our living rooms cannot understand this strength and determination, this will to rebuild a life after losing so much. We are fed images and not emotions. We see the destruction but do not smell the decay, do not touch the shoulders of those grieving to provide consolation, do not connect the destroyed lives to lives before the ruin. Those images we see are frozen in time, in a perpetual state of ruin and despair. We do not know what living once meant to these images that provide entertainment to an emotion-starved world. We see their tears but only those that shed them can taste them.

With all tragedies such as this, there is a call to senses that eventually stirs enough people into realizing that the falsehood that we live in must change in order to move forward. The time to move forward, to wake up to the unnecessary pain that is all too familiar to these hurt people, has come. We can no longer surround ourselves with leaders that randomly point fingers at people in attempts to justify their own obtrusive behaviors, creating a world full of enemies through their greedy and dynastic plots. There has been enough destruction of values, morals, and lives in the name of all that is supposed to be good.

The next time around, We need to be more careful in who We choose to represent Us. The next time around, We need to be careful in who We choose to be to the world. We have the ability to be kind, to be generous, to be compassionate. We are one of many within a world that does not belong to only the chosen few who lead. This is Our world. This is Our life.

Make it count.

Turn On Life

Remember the days of the hot wind ripping through your hair as you sped down a big hill on your BMX? Remember closing your eyes every now and then as you made your descent, braving the risk of hitting a pothole at the wrong angle and colliding with the asphalt? You let go of the handlebars occasionally, something that, if she had seen you, your mother would have grounded you from your bike for a week for doing. You rode your bike like the speed demon that you thought you were, oblivious to the rest of the world, in a state of utter exhilaration. You felt powerful against the world, you on your single speed. That is what it was, too—just you and your bike. Nothing to prove, nothing to lose, and everything to experience. That bike took you to places that were not only real but also to those places in your mind that you dreamed. You do remember those places, don’t you?

Fast-forward a generation.

Give a kid the option between having his own bike, his own means of transportation, or owning a television that will ensure that he is never in harm’s way since he will become one with the couch. Give him the choice to go outside, look at the nature that we are lucky to still have surround us given our propensity to squander our natural resources, or to hook up to the television where he can be transported virtually into a world created by adults and requires no more imagination on your child’s part than staring at a box.

Do we really give our kids a choice, though, between a bike or a video game or television? Look at the way adults run their lives, setting the examples. Who has time to actually ride that bike down hills now? Time is money and riding a bike is not going to give you anything besides a sore butt. We have to make more money, more money than we used to, more money than our parents, more money than our siblings, and even more money than our neighbors. We cannot afford to take time from making money to ride a bike, to look further than the space that we occupy. Speaking of the space we occupy, it has to be big, it has to scream, “THIS IS ME! I OWN THIS! THIS IS MINE!” This space includes our houses, cars, and our own bodies. How will the world recognize us if we aren’t screaming at them to take a look, take us in, envy our status, want what we want since what we want has to be what is wanted by all?

So we make more money, push more toys on ourselves and onto our families out of greed as well as the shame that we have to work so hard to provide what is “needed”. Our kids do not even have to ask for the latest gadget that keeps them indoors because you have already bought it for them in anticipation. You want them indoors, where the climate is controlled and they are safe from the dangers of the world. After all, how can the world “get to them” if they are never actually in it? We will replace this world and all of its problems with a world that can be controlled by it creators and manipulated by the many hands that have bought it. What could be better?

Life is not on a screen, it is not to be manipulated by anyone other than the person who was born. Life is not a series of events that can be coldly calculated, with levels of achievement that will bring you to a final level that allows you to “win”. It cannot be paused or have the channel changed for something better, something more exciting with a better cast of characters. There is nothing better than to live a life, to see the world without the vertical lines cast from the screen, to be a part of the grand scheme of things.

Remember looking forward to getting off of the school bus and jumping on your bike, ready to explore the same places that you saw the day before? Remember the daylight suddenly disappearing, another day over, a sense of dread of having to return home rushing through you as you went up that hill that earlier had given you so much joy? This was the world and you knew it, you saw it, you felt it. There was something outside of you and you saw it. It was real and you looked forward to it.

It is still there and your kids have not seen it and you’ve been away too long.

Value of Life

I wish that Life could be Beautiful all of the Time.

I wish that Life could be what Life should be for Everyone.

I wish that Everyone could see the Value of Life before it is too Late.

Life is not Religion, it is not Race, it is not Country.

Life is not Money, it is not Politics, it is not Human.

Life is a Synergy of a collection of all that Lives and will Live.

One Life has the Power to improve the Whole.

The Whole has the Power to improve one Life.

One Life in these Parameters is as Valuable as the Whole.

I hope that Life will one day be Beautiful all of the Time.

I hope that Life will one day be what Life should be for Everyone.

I hope that Everyone will see the Value of Life before it is too Late.

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