August 11, 2017

creating the world we want

These are troubling times. I can’t even read the news anymore — I only glimpse it through conversations and social media comments, like an animal I’m afraid of but am keeping an eye on through the trees.

The current president of the US* repulses me to the core, both intellectually and viscerally. I hear people’s outrage over the latest appalling thing that’s been done and both empathize and am astonished by their surprise — because there is literally no despicable thing I can’t imagine him doing.

* I don’t like saying his name. I can’t decide if that gives him too much power, like I always felt about Voldemart, or if it effectively signals my derision. All I know is it feels better not to say it. When I must use some kind of name I prefer Comrade Dumpkov (with thanks to Chuck Wendig), which is both more puerile and more scatalogical than I normally aspire to (sorry, Chuck). So that is a good signal of my feelings. Also, I am very annoyed that he has ruined the verb “to trump,” which I liked (note the past tense) using in other contexts.

Mostly I’m just glad the the world hasn’t been blown up yet, and writing that in the context of this week’s nonsensical and dangerous posturing with North Korea I hope that my gladness continues.

But mostly, in the midst of all this excrement, I feel helpless.

So much hate has emerged in the wake of the election. In Toronto where I live there has been pro-Nazi graffiti and anti-Muslim protests.

There is much talk that progressivism has failed, and the grand idealistic experiment of living in a world where we embrace diversity, strive to care for each other and the planet, and move toward some semblance of equity, has simply failed. Because not everyone agrees with that vision.

But I do.

I am not ready to leave the vision of a fairer, more intelligent* , more compassionate world behind. And so I can either stay mired in helplessness and despair, or do something to help move the vision forward.

* Depleting the finite resources of the natural world and perpetuating social structures that create problems harder to cure than prevent has never seemed intelligent to me. But, hey, you decide.

I hope that many of the small choices I make on a daily basis already do this. But in the face of the current regressive political forces, those choices (not having a car, acknowledging issues of power/gender/race/sexuality, voting in favour of social supports etc.) don’t feel like enough.

And so: I want to help forward that vision in this space.

I’ve been thinking of having a website for a while, and its time has come for many reasons. But one important reason is because I feel like I need to be doing more to create the kind of world I want to live in.

I passionately believe that the way we communicate — and what we communicate about — helps create the world. Ideas that circulate shape our thoughts, which in turn influence our behaviour. Combined, these things are what make up the world.* ** *** ****

* This is a vast oversimplification of what I learned through my Master’s degree in communication and culture.

** These things, as well as physical objects. Can’t forget those.

*** Sorry, the above is a social theory joke…sometimes the abstract tends to overshadow the concrete in social theory. Whereas practically, it usually tends to be helpful to remember that the physical world still exists. Usually.

**** Four footnotes for one sentence! That’s unforgivable. Or, er, playful and fun?

This means that through combining words into paragraphs, and engaging in ideas and (hopefully) sharing them with readers, I make at least some small contribution to defining and creating the world.

And so, in addition to the context I provide elsewhere, this website has an underlying political project. To put what I see as important ideas out there. In order to help create the world I want.

This doesn’t preclude my doing whatever the heck I want, in platypus style. But I want to highlight the fact that, by doing that, and making the choices and statements I make, I am also fundamentally hoping to help create a better world.

By which I mean a more inclusive, compassionate, and just world, that isn’t afraid to confront issues, and tries to mitigate the extreme impacts of capitalism and ensure that everyone–from CEOs to coffee shop baristas to those living around the world–has the resources to live a rich existence free of fear for their safety or sustenance.

Because that’s the world I want for myself — and everyone else.

I’m sure there are complexities I’m missing here, and that there will be nuances — and let’s face it, just plain obvious things — that I miss along the way. And so I hope some readers participate to enhance the debate, help educate me, and join me in being a force in forwarding this positive vision.

So that, together, we can create the progressive world I believe most of us truly want.

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