To the editor:
In the search to improve our lives and surroundings, ideas abound and the possibilities are endless, yet we seem trapped to live out the desires of ‘those-in-power’. How come we haven’t any power or control of the events surrounding our lives? We seem trapped in a world of reactivity rather than pro-activity. How can things improve under such conditions?
Are we not each the master of our personal destinies? If not, is it a wonder that our biggest problems persist? Since prehistoric times, the human character has recognized and moved beyond its disabilities. The status quo has never persisted for long, or else we’d still be trying to invent a better wheel. We must remember a problem is not a roadblock telling us to turn around and go back. It is an opening, an indicator, that we have an opportunity to improve something.
So what prevents us from taking action? Is it, as we’re told, the domain of specialists and policy-makers to decide which direction we are to follow? Under such limits, the possibilities will always be limited to the range of the speaker’s knowledge. As a species numbering over seven billion, this scheme lacks sense.
By leaving the decisions to the pros, we mute ourselves. What purpose does our intelligence and learning hold if not to improve our situation and discuss possibilities? The possibilities are most important, but taking the passive approach will only reinforce the belief that we are only consumers.
In other words, we must reintroduce authority, as in “the power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others,” into our lives. We have given the ability to author our lives over to the social institutions that are currently mired in the commercial muck of capitalist beliefs. This places our wellbeing on an economic scale rather than social, placing cost-benefits above their work for society. When we place a price on our values, how much value can they hold?
Where have we ceded authority to? Education determines the intelligence level of our children, yet when the number of failures becomes too costly, we lower the standards rather than step up the instruction. Economics determines our worth, yet the deck is stacked so the ultimate goals of wealth remain unattainable. Politics plays on ceding power to society, mocking us with the power to vote but not giving us a voice in the way that democracy is supposed to. Religion points us in a virtuous direction, yet plays the same game of economics, politics, and a convenient faith in their competition to be more correct than the other religions. Our intelligence, worth and faith? No wonder we watch so much television.
Are we merely the governors of just our bank account and possessions? Where lie the control mechanisms of lives? Surely not outside of our selves. People are regaining their authority: homeschoolers are fed up with our current system’s limitations; towns are creating local dollars and taking measures to improve their local economies, thus providing citizens with a sensible way to account for their worth. Other are protesting their government, or rewriting their participation in democracy. All of these movements toward regaining authority have revamped the concept of faith. So, how are we going to make our world a better place? By taking responsibility for our conduct, which includes what we choose to do, and what we refuse.
Darrin LR Fiddler,