The spout of the stars in spate—
Where the thunderbolt thinks to be slowest
And the lightning fears to be late:
As men dive for a sunken gem
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it,
The fallen star that has found it
In the cavern of Bethlehem.
Unnecessary intervention makes your child feel bad about himself (if he’s young) or angry at you (if he’s a teenager.)
You know you’re an adult, not just when you’re able to put the needs of others above your own, but when you’re able to do it without giving a single thought to what they “owe” you in return. You realize that, at some point you weren’t even aware of, you became the tap instead of the bucket. And then you look back and hate your younger self for living under the delusion that somehow a world full of buckets could function.
It sounds obvious to the point of being insulting, and it is … to an adult. So, as with everything on this list, the answer is that when it happens, you’ll know. Give or take a decade or two.
When I left the conference, two gentlemen boarded my plane and walked by my seat. One leaned over to the other and said “I’m glad I don’t have to sit next to him.”
What? Was my talk that bad? Do they really not want to even hear the sound of my voice?
I spent the two hour flight reworking my talk so it would never fail again. And I made a list of all the good things that would come out of my recent failure, including having rewritten the talk to make it better. And yet the idea those guys wouldn’t even want to sit next to me bothered me.
And then it occurred to me that I really didn’t know the whole story. I’d assumed they didn’t want to sit next to me because my talk was so bad, but how did I know for sure?
When I got off the plane, I waited a couple minutes for them to come up the ramp and I mentioned we’d been at the same conference, I asked if there was anything I could do to improve my lecture. They both looked at me blankly. Finally, one of them said “Were you at the State Farm conference?”
I hadn’t been. In fact, those guys weren’t even at my lecture, and they weren’t even at the conference I spoke at. And when they got on the plane, they weren’t even talking about me.
Confession. When I was a little girl (age 8) I would write obnoxious things in my diary. Things like:
Life is so great and exciting, especially when you’re someone like me, good at writing and school and sports!!!!!
One day (age 13) I came across that diary when I was cleaning out my bedroom, and felt mortified by my egocentric and deluded younger self. I threw the diary into a big black garbage bag with the other junk and never saw it again.
Recently (age 40) I came across a quote by singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963):
I had a very high opinion of myself. Perhaps with good reason.
That kind of blew me away. For a woman to not just think and believe such a thing, but to say it out loud? Dude. That takes ladyballs.
Kurt Vonnegut: ”Make your soul grow”
WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.
Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.
…Personal change doesn’t equal social change.
|—||Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Changes Does Not Equal Political Change (via america-wakiewakie)|