The government sucks! The government picks and chooses who gets to live well, and whose needs are met, and those people end up helping the same people get re-elected. And at the same time, no wild social change actually takes place, and people feel helpless because they can’t change their lives. We are better than this. We deserve more, and if it means fundamentally changing the way we live, what are we waiting for? Oh, right! Some people are getting their needs met! Some people are getting more than enough to be well, and they have every incentive to let this go on. But I wager… no, I hope! I hope there’s a part of all of us that is suffering at the thought of making or letting others suffer because we want to hold on to our privilege. But I may be wrong. If I am, I don’t know where to place my hope. Only, I have that part of me, and it speaks to me all the time. It has disrupted my life more times than I can count, and when it’s unhappy, I suffer.
Like, basically, how can you live a fulfilling life, knowing that the cost of every privilege you hold dear is the freedom and well-being of other, less fortunate people? How can we be well in capitalism? How can we turn away from suffering, when we have more than enough to end it? Why do we keep going? And what direction are we heading? Like, what’s the purpose of all this, if it’s not to ensure that everyone can live a good life, not just a privileged few! Because as long as this is the way we do things, then we’re all a few steps away from having everything that we thought protected us from poverty, famine, homelessness and police brutality be taken away from us. Our wealth, our property, our skin colour… It’s the structure of power to hold on to every means to maintain itself and remain in place. But change is inevitable, and some other metrics for attributing power will eventually arise. So why do we fight so hard to keep things in place, when even power changes, morphs, and changes hands? It’s my personal philosophy that we have to collectively make ourselves and each other fall in love with something other than power. Once power stops being beautiful in our eyes, we won’t have a choice but to give it up, in favour of something more sustainable, like “partage”. It sounds nicer in French. Cooperation. Sharing. Barter. We have enough that we can be lazy if we want to. And we have enough that we can commit to projects that have a purpose beyond profit. How do we know that our lives would be any less meaningful without a constant pressure to survive? And how meaningful can our lives be if that pressure has become entirely instrumentalized by capitalism? In other words, what are we living for, really?
I guess some people must really be enjoying themselves if things are still going the way that they are, when we have the means to produce enough food and provide enough health services for everyone. Can we please stop killing each other because of our gender identities, at least? I hope some people really are enjoying themselves, because it’s costing all of us a hell of a lot. Some more than others. And I don’t have a clear plan for how to transition from this to something more sustainable. It’s not the job of one person to figure that out. But as we give more people the resources and the right to imagine, then a picture will emerge, and it’s probably way different from what I have in my head right now. The thing about Utopias that we see on screen is that people with a lot of privilege are usually the ones who imagine them, and they end up being some version of their own reality, translated into visual form. But we can have something truly, radically different. We just have to allow people to be. To just be. Literally just be. I think just that step takes a giant imaginative leap to get to. But it’s worth the trip.