Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Relativity

It's good to have friends with a variety of political opinions, because the ones who seem crazy to you make you realize how crazy you seem to some of the others. I used to think that living in cooperatives and communes and things was wrong because if you're living on one you're not changing all the people in suburban isolation behind their picket fences. Ideally one should be a kind of missionary, talking one's neighbors into sharing lawnmowers and communal vegan dinners. But the older I get the more hopeless that seems to me (except for settlement houses, which some Jane Addams-wannabe part of me still loves). And I've started looking at co-ops to move into after Peace Corps, becase at this point I'm ready to admit that I can't change everything and on some fronts it's okay to eat my vegan meals in peace and try not to make the situation outside worse.

I swore it would never happen, but I'm starting to feel like the realist. Maybe it's just coincidence, but three conversations I've had with friends in the past 48 hours make me want to yell, "Do you have anything we could try now? Do you have any theories that don't require the overthrow of capitalism, the mechanization of all labor, the demilitarization of the country, the colonization of the moon, or the word 'hence'?!"

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

not sure i like the idea of being crazy among the crazy, hence i hope you talked with three other people in the last 2 days too. your friends sound like real nutjobs.

Val said...

I must admit that I've got a great solution to fixing the world's problems - the one strike against it is that it does require the mechanization of all labor, but scientists have known how to do that for years. Anyway, the main brunt of my theory is to kill 99.9% of men on the planet, which leaves the women to just be chill and groove with one another. Doesn't that sound nice? We can talk more if you like it.

roomie said...

well--i think just living in peace and not making the situation outside worse is a good goal. to live for yourself and those close to you isn't a bad thing. it's not selfish...it's human and natural. it's one of those small goals that are good to have (that zhivago doesn't have) and that i think we can't live without. anyway...the commune is very transcendetalist of you...shades of ricky perhaps?

Julia said...

Andrew - the demilitarization of the country one was you, but that's one of the more reasonable ideas.

Ms. Solanas-
Amazing! I was under the impression that you died in the 1980s! I told the friend in question that he sounded like you, though.

Sandy - living alone in the woods is pretty much the opposite of living in a commune, so no Thoreau influence, no. I'd say one's lifestyle is more a medium-sized goal than a small one.

*M* said...

i don't know. you definitely have to keep in mind that you can't forcefully convert someone to a more eco-friendly way of living, but many times living by example can change how those around you act. living in a commune would be less depressing though - you wouldn't have to watch your neighbors driving off to their middle management jobs in excessively large suvs. (also, if you get kids when they're young they tend to latch on to the theories better. have you considered kid-work?)