I suspect it’s on the other side of comfort to where you’re trying to put it.
Comfort pretty much is complacency. Especially in this brutally unequal consumerist world where comfort is pretty much permanently coming at the cost of the lives of others. The excessive comfort of an average ‘western’ lifestyle is built on a foundation of complacency. A willingness to turn a blind eye to the provenance of just about everything we own.
I realise I start to sound like an ascetic at this point. Trying to equate piousness with discomfort, but really, I’m just trying desperately hard to find a way to force myself to roll over my enormous hypocrisy. Maybe if I repeat this dogma often enough, I’ll hear it hard enough to make changes in my life.
Our systems of living are to some large extent built on complacency. This is how hegemony works, to some extent. It is the acceptance of the status quo that keeps the ordering systems of our society in place. I think most of us can see ways, big or small, in which the world is going wrong. Yet we barely challenge them. The powers that be are too big, and we are too comfortable.
It’s the age old thing about bread and circus. A basic level of comfort and entertainment, and you can get away with the slow, painful murder of a society.
And still, we wake up every day, heave through the stagnant air and onto the cold frosty streets and plod, step by step towards the same thing we do every day. The routine is easier than the upheaval. It’s easier to keep your nose to the grindstone, slowly grating off your own face, than to take a look around and make a change.
Because we’ve already given up, and we’re trying to make do.
The world is too big for us to turn it over and start again.
All of this may well be true.
But its not actually a good enough excuse.
Pointing at our systems of governance and saying ‘it’s not the best system but it’s the best system we’ve got’ in this day and age is tantamount to saying ‘I have no issue with the brutal exploitation of people, as long as I can’t see it too clearly.’
Which is what we say to ourselves.
Hell, I shouldn’t project on to you, I don’t know you. (But you do). My actions appear to say this, daily. My words become meaningless as I fail to back them up.
Partly it’s a question of not knowing what to do. I think of myself as slowly training myself for a different lifestyle, as I continue to enjoy the gluttony of this one (slightly slower than a year ago). But I know it’s not enough.
But the important thing is never to give up. Never, ever believe that there is nothing you can do.
Pretend you can make a difference.
Open your eyes and try to be true.
Illustration by Karen.