If you’ve talked to me anytime, for any length of time, in the past three months, we’ve probably shared at least a few words regarding #occupy. I am so intrigued by the movement! It has taken me a long time, but today I think I came a lot closer to understanding my fondness of it all.
It all comes down to the idea of a collective.
People quickly dismiss the #occupy movement solely based on the fact that it is decentralized, ambiguous, unclear… etc, or shoot it down saying that it is based on greed (which makes me want to scream). At this point though, I’m not sure that really matters. What matters, is that there is a big group of people who are banding together for something. I think you can sum it up and say “a collective dissatisfaction” which I believe is safe to say, but what is important here is “a collective.” And the fact that they aren’t just fighting for themselves, but for you and me and everyone else and everyone that is to come. (Edit: As far as #OWS goes, it’s pretty clear, take a look here, the many smaller #occupy’s are a little less clear)
The whole idea of a massive group of people coming together for something is in direct conflict with the American Dream. The American Dream says that the purpose of my life is to be happy and successful… that we would all own 2 cars and have our family with 2.5 kids and a dog and a cat and a house with a flat screen TV and a bunch of laptops and iPods inside. The American Dream says that I will do this, on my own. We have this idea of entitlement and “rugged individualism” and if it is best for ME, then it is best.
Well, individualism is a joke.
We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong.
–Karl Popper, philosopher and professor (1902-1994)
I think about the phrase “what do I have that I have not been given?” Where, yes, we do have to work, but where did our concept of working even come from? What about our abilities, our skills and talents? Did we come up with those all by ourselves? Everything builds on something else. Why is this so hard for us to grasp as Americans? Why can’t we embrace our connection to everyone around us and start fighting for one another instead of just “looking out for number 1?”
Messy, scary, crazy, unorganized, crass, ridiculous, masked, pepper-sprayed #occupy… who are here to say they aren’t happy with the way things are. It’s easy to pick things out, like big corporations and the tax breaks the government gives to them and their CEOs, and how messed up that really is (See: Wall Street Isn’t Winning… It’s Cheating) but it’s harder to pick out suggested solutions. I get the frustration with that, but isn’t that what our government should be doing?
All I’m saying is that the reason that I am so fond of #occupy is that they are reminding us that we are in this together. We are in this country, codependent on one another, whether we want to admit it or not. So why not band together instead of trying to reach the top of the corporate ladder so we can be the CEO with the ridiculous tax breaks?
In Makoto Fujimura’s A Letter to Occupy Wall Street Movement Fujimura says,
We need to stay humble, stay compact and nimble, to intentionally re-release resources for the greater good. Wendell Berry implores us to “think small” and that requires love. We need to stay small to move into the “nurture” sphere. Love requires a greater sacrifice and ample time.
For me, that’s what this all boils down to. This goes from loving success and a big paycheck to loving the people around me. To loving the earth and its resources. To loving the future generations. To loving those around us and fighting for one another, instead of against one another for our own “success.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this below.