Daily Archives: November 21, 2011

What is most advantageous?

I wonder about how we, people, operate sometimes.  There are many many things we take for granted and then assume it is “just the way things are.”

Our assumptions are based on our individual perspectives.  For example, a man views the world through the lens of being a male creature; a person of African decent views the world through the lens of their race; a person from south-east Asia views the world through their cultural heritage; someone who has grown up in the country views the world in that way versus someone from an urban setting, and so on. These, and in so many other ways, are how we frame our experience.

We take things for granted, and then we are convinced certain things can not change.  We accept the frames of reference of a few – saying things like “the economy is based on our money, and our currency is not as strong as the next country,” or “the globe would be warming regardless of any human activity.”  But are those things – and other such frames – necessarily unchangeable?  Yes, it’s like trying to steer a huge ocean-liner in a narrow channel, but is it really impossible?  Perhaps this is what the Occupy movement is about – trying to steer things in a different direction.  Perhaps we want to change the priorities so that more perspectives are held up.

In the end, we tend to focus on what is individually most advantageous.  What will help me accomplish what I want to do or have?  We struggle far more with what is corporately most advantageous.  What is best for everyone?  And the problem for individuals who are being asked to think corporately (as in, the good of the whole) is that sometimes it means a slightly less-desirable existence for the individual.  Sometimes it means that we are required to give up some of our individual wealth so that the common good is held up – so that some who currently have little or nothing have some.

We even justify our positions by saying things like, “well, if we change things in this way, we’ll have to change everything, so it’s futile” – and we allow things like discriminatory practices and unjust distribution to continue.  We allow certain ‘taken-for-granted’ positions to persist – but we don’t need to!

I’d like to say: what is most advantageous for the least among us is the most advantageous for all of us, together!  We must all break out of a mold which says, “me first” – and it’s hard, because we’ve been working at it for centuries.  The empires that have sought to colonize other parts of the world have been setting systems in place to transfer goods (and people – slavery turned people into commodities) to the seats of power.  We, who live in those places of privilege, must live more conscientiously of those who have little or nothing; and we must be conscious of our imprint on the natural environment around us.  What do we leave for future generations?  What is most advantageous for the least among us – as people and as environment – is best for us all!