Thursday 14 June 2012

The Hypocrisy of Change

There is no shortage of problems facing our society and our civilization,
both globally and locally.
Many are the natural growing pains of a fledgling species.
Other, more pressing issues, threaten our survival;
we may fail to realize our potential.
As individuals, we are entrusted with the responsibility to grow and to change.
Like any other species, it is a groundswell of anticipation that urges us forward to improve ourselves.
We belong to the inevitability of an ever-changing universe, and so our perpetuity is not implied; at least not as we know ourselves to be.
Within our time, however, there are choices to be made that will determine the nature of our existence.
We may fulfill our potential, or come to a premature end.

Most creatures have formed a consensus amongst themselves as to how to proceed.
Ants, for example, have proven to progress very well using the hive mentality.
Humans, on the other hand, have thrived using the gift of creativity,
which is dependent upon individuality.
Reaching a consensus, however, is virtually impossible.
As so we have differing opinions on how to best proceed.
Having reached a point where our choices have critical outcomes,
the lack of agreement is truly dangerous.

To be specific, each of us considers the many issues at hand from myriad perspectives.
Vegetarianism is a common example of a single choice arrived at from vastly different beginnings.
Whether it is for animal rights, or human rights, sustainability, or from countless viewpoints of healthy eating.
There is considerable consensus on climate change,
but the cause is more contentious.
Even more arguable is how to solve these problems.

Many of the threats have been identified.
Many more fingers have pointed out blame.
Solutions are at a premium.
Implementing solutions is a rare gem.

What's worst is the hypocrisy.

Here is a recent example: The Alberta tar sands.
( For the sake of brevity, this is a simplified perspective.)

The problem(s): Unbalanced carbon dioxide production, natural eco-system destruction.
The solution: Bring the profit margins below the point of economic viability.
(Thus ending extraction.)
Implementation: Stop buying petroleum products.
Hypocrisy: We know what to do, but fail to do so.

The failure to reach a consensus precludes taking action.
This example works on most of the current issues, such as food production, and government corruption.
The solution is there.
The courage to compel that solution is absent.

It is, of course, simple enough to find a scapegoat.
So many people rely on government to do the dirty work;
but change lies in the hands of the populace.
The government doesn't do anything without the blessing of the people.
It's like a bully; power lies in intimidation and apathy, but ultimately,
the bully is hopelessly outnumbered.

I face my accusers every day.
While I stand in the pulpit and point to the high-road,
I continue to purchase fuel for my combustion engines.
While I decry excess and affluence,
this household consumes nearly one-thousand kilowatt-hours of electricity
every month.
While I upsell the up-cycle,
I habitually purchase newly manufactured goods.

I can justify every action taken on the basis of fostering future change.
But justifications are purely arbitrary and a few degrees of separation between me and my peers creates a mushy lack of consensus that basically nullifies the potential for powerful and effective change.

Incremental change is not going to stave off impending crises.
Nor is working within the current system; economic, bureaucratic, legal, or otherwise.
For those people who have identified the problems.
For those people who accept the blame.
For those people who have solutions.
The only way to implement change is the wholesale slaughter of hypocrisy within our own lives.
Then we'll see about consensus.



  1. Lao-tzu the ancient Chinese philosoper is credited with having once said...

    "The journey of a thousand leagues begins beneath one's feet"

    A more modern spin on this saying is...

    "A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step"

    Tiny steps lead to big change. Sometimes big change is not the result of massive change on the part of a single individual but a mass of tiny steps by many.

    Walk softly...enjoy the journey and use fresh fuel in the roto tiller
    (a friend of mine is quite adamant about this because it can clog the carb!)

  2. .....enjoy the journey, it is too short and we cannot control how or when the end will come.
    Fight the good fight, treat you and yours well.

    1. Recall the story of the ant and the grasshopper.
      When my house is in order,
      only then will I rest.
      For the journey is not only mine;
      it is that of my children and grandchildren.