Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Pick your own prison, or walk away; resolution

Let's think about the big things and our relationship with our world.

Things like Freedom. What does it mean to be free? Surely, if nothing else, it means maintaining the right to determine your own way of life, your own choices, and your own intentions. It also means being able to choose to walk a lone furrow or join hands with others and make the journey of life together. It also means not being constrained by the demands, commands or chains of other forces which you do not control.

So, who enjoys the greater Freedom? The Conservative, who is satisfied with a nominally free market, the opportunity to gain for self at the cost of others, the ability to have goods provided in response to demand, the liberty to labour and spend, indefinitely, irrespective of cost. Or the Radical, who refuses to listen to the clamour of advertisers and marketers to consume for the sake of it; who chooses to share and to give for the benefit of others, rather than take, use and dispose; who chooses to work, not for the increasing wealth of the already wealthy, but for a fair and sufficient exchange of needs.

Freedom means liberation from chains. In the twentieth century, many millions of people around the world were liberated from the chains of poverty and subsistence, from unfair exchange of labour for reward (Flavours of slavery), from mass genocidal paranoia, disease and epidemic, from a nasty, rough, brutish and short life. But not everyone.

But times change, and so do circumstances. And so we come to the point where some people argue that the better path to a better life for more people is to continue along the path already trodden, while others argue that, having discovered that there is, after all, a price to pay for greater wealth, the time has come to move away from the clamour for growth at any cost, and towards a way of being more attuned to the need to find a better balance between the hunger of human enrichment and the needs of the planet's natural systems.

For the coming year, I choose to be Free. Free to make a fair effort at worthwhile labour for a reasonable and proportional reward. Free to ignore the markets and refuse to play the consuming game, having enough to satisfy my needs. Free to share with others, in communication, in wealth, in caring to make the world a better place. Free from the chains of intimidation and fear thrown at me by governments, corporations, shills, cheats and liars. Free to live without constraint, been constrained from nothing but what I do not need. Free not to invest in companies who are irresponsible or immoral. Free not to use the product of other people's misery. Free to love others, myself, and the world.

I will not bow down to the demands of 'the system' and place myself in chains. I was free, I will be free again.

Happy New Year to all.