Self-absorption

“A painting is not a picture of an experience, but is the experience.” ― Mark Rothko

We live in a ‘me’ culture.

It’s not absolute but it’s hard to find something where the cultural narrative isn’t fixated on the individual.

Anthropologically speaking, perhaps this is how we’ve evolved. And it seems, despite the outpouring of angst at the world’s dislocation, no one is remotely interested in bringing us back to a place of community or connectedness, especially with nature.

Perhaps I can only speak for myself but it would be beautiful to be drawn into a space of love and connection where we felt recognised but had no motivation to be above any person or thing. How you start a conversation to manifest such a space I simply don’t know. I know when I’ve talked openly or behind closed doors about living in community or finding peace with my (earth) brothers and sisters, it’s like I’ve arrived from a different planet.

On a practical level, one thing that drives me slightly over the edge (in the UK at least) is our obsession with property/home ownership. Yes, there are still some people who enjoy a community feel but having lived in innumerable places in this country, my experience is that once the front door closes that’s largely the end of the matter: I’m here and you’re out there.

What if we were willing to have a broader conversation about village-mindedness, the gift economy and profit. Throw into the mix utilisation, namely how few houses are properly used and a mechanism for more people to benefit from the space, and I would hope that we’d understand that building more houses is not the only answer. On this latter point, my position is at odds with the planning system which favours development. If the earth/land had legal personality — see Christopher D. Stone’s article: Should Trees Have Standing – Toward Legal Rights for Natural Things — then I’m absolutely convinced that the pristine lands that have been decimated at the hands of profit-seeking developers would receive better recognition and hopefully not be so routinely built upon.

In the end, as I’ve said so many times, how we live is how we live; it’s a choice. And right now, the individual is in the ascendancy and will remain so until we need, for fear of death or loss, our fellow man/woman.

Take care.

Julian

schweiker-elfreda@mailxu.com