Monday, September 12, 2005

Me, Myself and… Us?

Ministers threatening their fellow ministers to jail and “impossible situations” for exercising their freedom of choice! For having an opposing opinion and vote. Politicians campaigning for the “Yes” vote and, rather than explaining why they feel the proposed constitution is better and discussing its merits, insulting their opponents. Now surely people, they are taking us for fools. And the fact that they can do so alludes to the fact that we have been fools, to allow this continual desecration of how our nation is run.

Yes, our nation. I think that too many of us too often forget that it is ours, that we all have a responsibility towards it if we are going to claim it. We do not live in bubbles. Policies affect us even though we may not be sensitive to the manifestation of this in our daily life.

It often saddens me when I talk to my peers and their goal in life is simply “to make that money.” They want high-paying jobs (profession and company/organization is unimportant, as long as it is high-paying) so that they can live in mansions, drive expensive cars, join exclusive country clubs, drink themselves under the table and be seen as being able to do all these things. My father believes that my generation will be the one to enable a change for the better in our country. That we have the proper ammunition and education and consciousness to remove the existing antiquated mentalities and shameless corruption. I don’t know anymore. My generation seems predominantly concerned with the accumulation of personal wealth.

I’m not saying that we don’t all (don’t we?) wish to be financially comfortable. But there is more to life than earning for the sake of earning. You can make an impact on the world… and earn.

People apparently forget just how interconnected everything in life is. You can plunder public resources and funds, increase your wealth ridiculously and live the kind of luxury that the average mwananchi cannot even fathom possible. A recent article in a Kenyan newspaper interviewed a woman living in a Nairobi slum. They asked her what she thought the highest-paid Kenyan earned and she replied, KSHS 10,000. She added that if she were to come across such cash, she wouldn’t even know how to begin to budget it. She had this simple request for the government, to make her life easier: that they reduce the price of maize meal and paraffin. Meanwhile, minutes away in the same city, the gluttons are spending those 10,000 shillings on a night of drinking and general excess. It is insulting.

They plunder and plunder and steal and steal and build and buy and flash and boast… not realizing that the same people whose livelihood they are ruthlessly snatching are not going to just disappear. The illusion that they are raising their own personal standard of living may one day shatter when the people all around them decide to react to these injustices. They are creating great insecurity as they work on their individual financial security. What goes around indeed has a tendency of coming back around. But this kind of foresight seems almost extinct.

Now it’s sad if this is considered idealist but: being that we live among our fellow people; being that we interact with other people; being that our actions affect others — when we contribute to the greater good, we ensure better conditions for ourselves as well. But myopia pervades.

Eastern philosophies’ ideas of the greater Self constituting all our individual selves are notable here. Yoruba beliefs similarly revere the connectivity between all life forms. Where is our knowledge that was amassed over centuries? Where are our guides that are specific to and applicable to our unique contexts? Where is our desire to unearth these ideas and wisdoms? I will not presume that ancient is better, but I appreciate that it may help inform the present in ways that may allow for better decisions and better ways of being. Just as we do not live in bubbles, we do not live in time-free zones. It is the past and the future that make this current time the present. We can create a heaven for ourselves that will steadily deteriorate into a hell for our children. Can we call for consciousness?

Friday, September 09, 2005

New Drugs!

A pal just directed me to the Provisions Library. Haven't yet had much time to peruse but from a passing glance, this is the stuff that we should be smoking!

Friday, September 02, 2005

What's Really Good

What’s happening on the other side:

Today on the Woman Power Agenda: burn the (fairytale) books!

The truth about difference-making

and much more!
Happy weekends!

Dumped Again!

You see it coming and approach with dread – you can’t escape it now, you can’t change the outcome. You feel detached from your reality, as if watching from the sidelines as you ride into the crash! Your heart sinks and you can really physically feel it. You’re being dumped.

But this time was slightly unusual. I sat there blankly staring at the screen past the first few words, “Do you think it's time for us to move on…?” I mean at that point, I was pretty sure of what was coming. I believe that we always have the inklings but we, being the masters of denial that we often are, mostly choose to ignore the signs and bank on good ole hope. It hurt. It punched a great big hole in my contentment and rushed a spray of questions to my consciousness. Is it me? What did I do wrong? My carefully crafted world is falling apart! Will I never see her again?

Now incase you didn’t catch that or incase you haven’t yet put two and two together or incase you’re a really free-thinking being. I am female, I am heterosexual (so far) and I did say “her.” That’s why it was so strange and seemingly so much worse!

A little of background may lend to better understanding. I have this friend, let’s call her Porcelain. Porcelain and I have gone through a lot together and during what were arguably our most formative years. At the beginning of this year, Porcelain and I decided that we had to seriously and actively “do better”. We launched a self-actualization program that would allow us to enable each other to grow and allow us to share constructive ideas. It was Godsent! We spent hours together each week thrashing through the dense vegetation that is life, finding springs and reveling in those pure waters. Some weeks were darker and denser but together we struggled to make sense of the madness. Now she says she’s struggling to find the ‘right’ way to get her thoughts across to me!

She asks me if I feel I’m still getting out what I set out to be getting. I say yes I am. But one thing I agree with her is, it does sometimes feel forced. “I don't know if it's distance or insanity b/ there's been a shift.” And this too is true. And it’s not necessarily bad. It’s clearly that time when reassessments need to be made and change embraced. It’s that inevitable time.

It always is isn’t it? Change is something that I haven’t quite fully adjusted to loving. Before I even contemplate whether a change is for the better or for the worse, I tend to do away with sense and indulge pessimism (and Porcelain herself will tell you what a borderline-annoying optimist I usually am)! Yet change is one of the most beautiful phenomenona we have been given. It means we can improve, we can grow, we can learn different things and be nourished by newness. Change allows us to look forward to every next day because with it comes infinite possibilities. All that stands in the way of acceptance of this is our stubborn rigidity and fear of the unknown. We may claim to hate monotony and consistency but mostly those are aspirational lies.

And after all, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Porcelain and I teamed out to increase our individual odds and this is the level of the game where we must bid each other good luck and wrestle on to slay the grand dragons by ourselves. Our camaderie shall live on for it is a ‘piece’ of what constitutes who we are today.