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asleep at mal 9/09
7/7/10 23:10
asleep at mal 9/09
A month or so ago a friend asked about what we thought was the "American Dream. And earlier today vicar posted about among other things, dreams...

I wouldn't go back, I wouldn't go back to the ignorance, but I had all those hopes and dreams
hopes and dreams of what? I didn't know what they were then other than lights, sounds, colors
now it's all just a blur and I can pick apart each thought
each hope each dream
show the hues in the colors I didn't see, pick apart the sounds from the background
smells can be replicated and the feelings predicted,
the reactions controlled. Subdued, always stifled, restricted, controlled and held in check.
but i think I remember that hope, those dreams...not the dream but that feeling
the want and the illusion that out there was an answer
I'm not even sure there is an answer in here anymore
but if there is one that's where it is.

Which got started my brain wondering about how my dreams have changed over the years, how my hope for the future has shifted. Somewhere along the way I stopped believing that I could change the world, and accepted that I may only able to make my corner of it somewhere I'm proud to live. But I'm frustrated with that acceptance, and want to make the world change too.

We as a species, and USAians in particular (from my POV) seem bent on hurting each other and our planet. I don't know how to make a difference, but I do think that if we don't start changing (and for those in the US, that change needs to start here, not in Afghanistan or North Korea or Yemen or...) future generations don't stand a chance.

There are things that seem so obvious to me but we can't seem to comprehend: basic needs that every human must have to succeed (not bare minimums but enough to live a full healthy life): food, clean water, health care, safety and shelter. We need equal rights for all - sex, race, religion, sexuality, physical/mental (dis)ability, age, wealth, and gender among others should not be a reason to treat anyone as less than. Everyone should be entitled to live and love, to worship or not, to learn and dream and be happy so long as they do no harm to others. Basic education should be available to everyone; rooted in reality and science not religion or mythology or wishful thinking.

But in addition to humans needs, we need to start taking better care of our world. Less pollution, less environmental destruction, less toxic waste, less trash. Make more intelligent use of our limited resources and protect all life on earth.

We should also start seriously working toward settling those planets and moons within our limited reach which can support life, and direct our energy toward the stars. I don't know whether we're the only sentient creatures in the universe at this time, but unless we encounter other life on the worlds we reach I believe we should settle them.

But those dreams and hopes cannot be reached unless our culture changes dramtically. Our constant need for newer, better things; our refusal to accept those who don't look like us or share our beliefs; our treatment of women as second class citizens; the way we refuse to accept those who are LGBTQIA; the poor treatment we give to our disabled and elderly; our racism and classism and homophobia etc; our lack of stewardship of our home planet are all clear indications that we have major issues.

But those are dreams I have held forever; in many ways I am still the idealist I was in the 80's when I started working with the groups that evolved into Act-up, Amnesty International, etc. And I still want to see humanity both in the US and worldwide make more strides toward meeting those human needs head on.

So then the question becomes what do I dream about for myself, and that is a question that I've never been able to answer well. The things I would like to be able to do are pretty simple - eat good food, surround myself with friends and loved ones, learn new things until the day I die, work at a job I enjoy, love & laugh & dance, and maybe ride & climb & travel again. A lot of those dreams are within my grasp, even if the way that I go about them has changed or even been wiped from my mind due to my health problems and limitations. And those I may not ever be able to do will be missed, but I think I can live without them as long as I still get to be me and am happy and fulfilled.

I'm going to end this with a quote from another friend, feistydiva... This is something I struggle with a lot lately; it's become increasingly difficult to fight with my body and maintain a positive attitude, but I'm trying and I'm sure I will eventually get it down (this is something worth cultivating forever):

I will not spend the rest of my life in the pursuit of happiness, but in finding happiness in everything along the way.

That's something I need to be mindful of and actively work toward everyday, and it's a good thought.

What are your hopes and dreams? Do you have concrete ideas on how to make them come true? Thoughts on how to fix the social and societal problems we face?
7/8/10 9:54 (UTC)
I'm afraid while I share many of the goals you state, that I've met some incredibly foul people and found even people doing wonderful things foul in other ways - myself included of course. I have not given up on those goals but I don't hold the goal of world change because the world is made up of so many people who are each doing what is in their selfish interest. It's a rare trait to do what is not an immediate benefit for the actor and I can't just make myself miserable trying to fight 6 billion. I do what is right, hope for better with no real expectation for such, and try not to care about that international flushing sound.

I don't even think things are necessarily going to stay as good as they are - internationally religious forces are trying to enslave biology and as countries such as Iran and North Korea show us - a tiny insane hateful minority can rule a miserable populace forever. China shows the new environmentalism?

My hopes are dreams are that things hurt people soon enough that governments regulate behavior in such a way that the environment is kept from spiraling completely out of control, that I'm wrong about human nature and practice to the degree that people start detectably doing things that are good for life in general without being forced at gunpoint...of course I don't really have a goal or specific hope because I think for every hippie there are 50 hateful churchgoers and 100 selfish actors.

My only concrete idea is to listen to these dicks and reject them outright in the hope of being heard in turn rather than rejected as a freak with no valuable opinions whatsoever, to show that it is not that difficult to live an environmentally acceptable lifestyle or be cruelty free/reduced, let "them" know they can live in my world with their own practices without threat and that I want to do the same, but that I'll fucking go out-closeting and religious terrorist on forces that seek to persecute me based on my private behavior.
7/8/10 18:47 (UTC)
I know what you mean; I think that's what caused me to lose so much of my drive for social justice in college. All we can do is try to make a difference and hope that we can eventually vote in a government that does make a change for the better.

The world is falling apart around us, and it seems like religion (at least in/for the USA) is a big part of the problem. One of the blogs I read posted a solid rhetorical question for Christians that asked something like (paraphrased)
You keep talking about doing what Christ wanted, but all you seem to have gotten from his teachings is that abortion and gays are wrong. If Jesus Christ even said such things (they're directly discussed no-where in the gospels) he mentioned them in passing; what about the things he harped on and nagged about - helping the less fortunate, treating everyone as you would be treated, 'loving' all men no matter their religion, job, wealth or...?
It seems like a very valid question from my POV, one that I try to pose whenever someone gets in my face with xian prejudices.

The tea party scares me a lot as well - they seem totally out of control and I fear what will happen if they actually vote a large number of candidates into office. I mean I'm less than happy with President Obama and our current congress almost daily, but I still think he is/they are doing less harm than McCain and a republican controlled congress would be. I especially get furious with the backpedaling on things like Guantanamo, "open" government, the bullshit security crap that has trashed our rights to privacy, and the persecution & prosecution of whistle-blowers and reporters who tell the truth, but there are sooo many problems our country has to deal with.

And I kind-of agree with you on the paragraph that ends with because I think for every hippie there are 50 hateful churchgoers and 100 selfish actors. Although at the same time I feel bad about thinking that maybe a few more disasters will cause people to re-think their behavior; the gulf oil spill and all the other environmental damage being done by our need for fossil fuels that news agencies are suddenly talking about in its wake seem to be doing nothing more than hardening peoples' opinions. In the USA, we have the right apologizing to BP for Obama holding their feet to the fire, the center blaming everyone except themselves, and the left unfortunately preaching almost exclusively to their already converted choir. I fear we're doomed as a country and as a planet if people don't start actually hearing the truth, believing the scientists, acting like rational thinking adults; and it doesn't seem to be happening.

Feh - the amount of rampant stupidity and willful ignorance is infuriating, and I feel absolutely powerless to make a difference in any significant way. Yes, some things have changed incrementally for the better, but overall it seems like we're (USAians) stuck in the same place we were in the 60's and 70's. The one thing that seems to give me the most hope is today's youth appear to be more accepting of reality than their parents are, so in another 10 years (provided they vote that is) we may see a real change in our federal government - if it's not too late.
7/8/10 20:01 (UTC)
Yes, it's highly amusing that all the "help the poor, be humble" stuff that fills the jebus writings is not found in the practice of his self-proclaimed followers - but what is the option? Muslim religion, with all its associated violence? Religion is just an excuse for people to let their id run a muck.

I think there is a point where people find things have gone too far and are willing to do something to change it - I just hope, with no basis, that it is before the point of self-extermination.

You know what though? Thank god or the diety of your choice that you can't change it! Imagine how bad that would suck - we're lucky to be such little unimportant people that we even have time for our own happiness. We're considered moral for just not causing as much damage as is the norm for our time periods and geography - imagine if you actually had to change it and fight that crazy struggle. I'm happy to be unimportant. I can watch cartoons.

Edited at 2010-07-08 08:03 pm (UTC)
7/9/10 20:49 (UTC)
I am too zonked to come up with anything specific at the moment, but I wanted to tell you that I agree with probably every word in this post. Yesterday was a day of witnessing racism and sexism, at least, from my own family, which always reinforces my staunch belief in no -isms. And always makes me wonder how I ever came out of being raised by these people who think that stereotypes are true, 'cause if they weren't, they wouldn't be stereotypes. Yes, I know - /headdesk a lot in this house.

*hugs* I hope you're doing well! (As well as possible, of course, but that usually goes without saying between people with chronic health problems.)