Friday, July 9, 2010

What's on my mind

I'm done. I give up on the status quo. Western society as it is known is a lost cause; a failed experiment; a flop.

Look at us. We are more emotionally and physically unhealthy than anyone has ever been. Depression, diabetes, PTSD, asthma, suicide, obesity, autism, alcoholism. These are not flukes. They are the results of lifestyles we as a society lead. Some of these issues (like autism, diabetes and depression) are hard to connect with specific causes, but I can't think about them without thinking that generations now of sedentary, fast food, unnatural light, 69 degrees, rat-race lifestyles is messing with the way our bodies are composed.

But we can't stop. We are on an unstopping roller-coaster ride that we didn't choose to get on, and can't get off. Do you see those fire boats in the picture? The fire boats are part of the roller coaster. To every problem we create, we throw solutions. We spill oil because we use so much, but no one is really gonna stop using so much. All we'll do is spray the results with water. Another example: our carbon emissions from plane trips is ruining the atmosphere, but we wont really stop flying. We will hope for another fire boat when catastrophe comes. We will hang on for the ride.

I want off. I will question as many decisions as are in my power to question. I will question work, spending, consumption of food, clothing, waste, travel, war, the use of money, food, care for creation, where I shop and eat out, entertainment, the origin of every item that enters my home. I will monitor as best I can my time, my spending, my patterns of life, my consumption of art. I will not buy any gadget that is the latest thing, and laugh at the notion that it could have made me happy. I will read the Psalms every day. When something breaks, I will do without it for awhile, and enjoy having life a little simpler. I will not work on the Sabbath. I will not be too busy to help someone in need along my way.

I am not trying to be holier than you. I am trying with all my might to resist the schemes of the evil one; to throw off all that hinders and run with perseverance the race marked out for us; to test everything and hold on to the good.


joan.ekimball said...

I hope we can converse about this some fine day.

Brian Stipp said...

Sounds good. Maybe in September after your son gets back.

chad said...

is it really worse now than it has ever been?

chad said...

is it the "west" that is bad? or just the fact that "everything" is bad (east and west)

holly kimball said...

At least we aren't chopping women's noses off when things don't go our way. But I agree with you...we shouldn't swallow it because it is. Let's seek the good and live it.

Brian Stipp said...

Good old Kimballs. I really appreciate that you make comments. I have a lot to say to your comments.

First of all, as I re-read my post, I realize that I should have gone about posting the thoughts entirely differently. The thoughts kind of came to me in a swirl, as I drove down I-55 one afternoon, looking at one billboard after another, and listening to stories on NPR about Homelessness and the oil spill. The thoughts were sort of in my mind as a poem, whose recurring line was something like "run for your life, boy" or "take cover, child."

I think I tried to turn what came to me as a poem into an little mini-essay, and when I wrote I wasn't in an a place to be expository. Maybe someday, I'll make it into a poem. The problem with writing poems like this, is that Wendell Berry has already written them really well.

Chad, to your first question, I guess I don't know. I think as far as our emotional and physical health, we probably are worse off than anyone's ever been, but I don't know. Maybe at some place it's been worse. The scale of the unhealth is overwhelming to me.

For your second question, I can't really comment on the health of the East. I know that we in the West are rich and comfortable and oblivious and entitled and (crap, here I go again). I'll just say I don't know to that question, too.

Holly, I didn't understand your point about women's noses. Maybe you were reading me saying there were not benefits we have derived from the West. I meant more that the West as it is is a mess. It has not always been so bad.