Is it kind, true, necessary?

Put these words into a search engine and you are lead to discussions about “mindful speech,” which is just what I’m wondering about.

Or, more specifically, how NOT speaking, how not expressing one’s truth, becomes a collusion with the mass cultural denial of the dire emergency we are in. Therefore, not mindful either.

I think of myself as a nice person, a supportive person, a person who encourages people to find their own sense of self and of pleasure.

Yet I also feel judgemental of the habits of consumption I see in my friends and family, and I haven’t worked out how to express my convictions without people feeling this judgement.  This is mostly in reference to the holiday flying of some people, who do it constantly, and despite awareness of “environmentalism” don’t seem at all conflicted, or worried.

(Of course, there’s not much sting in a judgement from another if it doesn’t in any way ring true to one’s personal voice.)  

The fact is, I am judging, because this constant flying is one of the worst personal contributions to climate change and I accept the following statements:

  • Change has to come from the bottom and the top,  so personal lifestyle adjustment matters.
  • Our understanding and expectations of what life can give us have to be transformed.
  • Though personal contributions are minimal in the global scale, any kind of social justice based approach to the climate crisis recognizes individual consumption/ national consumption/global consumption (as in Contraction and Convergence) as crucial.

All our emissions now are a timebomb in the future, given the lag.  A timebomb.  There’s the word BOMB in there.  I am experiencing the oblivious consumption of my friends as a violence imposed upon safe futures of other people, including my children and their children. This brings out the mother tiger in me.   

 I am angry.  The intransigence of believing that there is no way out of a high-consuming therefore high-emitting lifestyle is  incredible arrogance.  

So, logically, if I am seeing this as a kind of delayed violence, I need to speak truth to power, in order to inhabit the word “necessary.’ To speak is necessary.  Even if it is “unkind.”

A beautiful friend, a practicing Buddhist, once spoke to me of mindfully not-judging, just focusing on one’s own beliefs and core.  Or as my husband George , so much less anxious than me,  might suggest, just “walking the walk” gives a centeredness, a sense of personal strength.

Holier-than thou moralism just alienates people, that seems to be a common sentiment.  

Hmmmm.  I don’t know.  There’s lots more working out of this in my head.

I would absolutely love to hear from people in similar places of questioning.  If you are a loved one and this blog entry pisses you off, I don’t quite know what to say.  I love you; it’s uncomfortable for me to piss you off; I’d much rather a reality in which it were possible for you and me to be hanging out together in some amazing cafe eating something delicious looking into eachother’s eyes not facebook pages…  What would I give for that reality? Possibly my life!

I should say that I am an American married and living in Britain and it is actually an unhappy  sacrifice I make because of my beliefs.  I would LOVE to go home more often, spend time with my loved ones, show my children my world.  And I would LOVE to travel widely on this globe, as I once did, before I quite understood the depth and breadth of this crisis…  

(more on this another time: HUGE travel fantasies. Getting so huge they are getting painful.)

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2 Responses to “Is it kind, true, necessary?”

  1. Milkweed Says:

    2 concepts come to mind when reading this: 1) radical honesty (I’m not necessarily a proponent of this practice, but see it as a balancing philosophy to the “is it neccesary, kind, and true” practice. 2) the “petroleum crack” idea — as it was explained to me: the knowledge that we are in a very narrow slice of history — a tiny crack — where cheap oil is available…and something along the lines of how will we best use the resources available for this short time, given that we are the particular humans getting to make those decisions. A local eco-village here, for instance, has chosen to use diesel machinery to set up areas for future sustainable living. I feel uncomfortable with this choice, but I think it’s interesting. What do you think?

    • heshwesh Says:

      The petroleum crack– hilarious phrase. I have seen the argument that all the fossil fuel required to build an infrastructure of renewable energy to meet current needs would in itself create tipping-point level emissions. I’ve also seen the argument that if we don’t do it we’ve lost all faith and are doomed. I don’t have an informed opinion really, but I gather it’s all about consumption levels. and a huge lessening of energy demand at every social level would certainly take a little pressure off? I like the Vandana Shiva idea of redignifying human labour…

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