“You need to get a job” Owen remembered his mother say. He had lost his mother years before—so much time had passed since he developed Alzheimer’s disease that he forgot what his mother looked like. He just remembered that she was powerful, and she didn’t cut him any slack. She pushed him to the limits to do what she thought was right. You could say that his mother embodied the collective beliefs of the culture.
“You need to make something of yourself or you will live in poverty—keep in mind that to feel the best you need to have the best” Owen recalled from deep within his mind as he was walking home from the store. He was filled up with regret and shame—he had let his late mom down, he felt it. His mother, who had nurtured him and possessed the standards of excellence that he carried until today, was dead, however. He realized that he needed to grow out of these beliefs, for it was time to recognize what was right in his life. What was right was not the nagging part of his mind that always went back to his mother and induced shame—what was right was the depth of his mind and the complexity of life—the beauty of the experience.
He loved his mother, and that was almost all he had. But a seed had been planted inside him, a seed that would grow and grow until it would ultimately destroy him. At that moment, he sat down on a bench with his groceries and closed his eyes. He observed a vivid image animate his mind: a vision of him tearing the weeds out of a garden. He immediately knew what garden this was that his mind spoke of.
And that’s what he was thinking he was doing as he walked home with courage and hope on his horizon. He wiped his feet of the slush that was stuck on his shoes and made his way inside. As he sizzled his meat in preparation for dinner, he was thinking over and over again with seemingly limitless joy about having truly got over the loss of his mother. He had loved his mother, but now he loved her with no strings attached, no negative connotations affiliated with each and every thought that passed through his head. He decided to have an early night that night, and after showering lay himself down in bed.
As he was on the verge of sleep, protruding from his mind were some of the most terrible and shameful thoughts of his mother yet. It was like she came back to life and was silently planted the thoughts in his head “Owen, you didn’t do it right. You let me down”.
At that point, he realized that he could never escape it. Even if he was to escape it, he was escaping by means granted to him by it. Hopeless, anxious, and fatigued, he went to bed in an uneasy haze.
So many of us want to leave this culture and many of us want to save the world and have a good life for ourselves but simply don’t know how to do it. Even if we decide to leave civilization and distance ourselves from the problem, we can only leave by using the tools that this civilization gave us. We cannot abandon ship; this war cannot be won by turning the blind eye. This war can only be won by re-examining the lifestyle that we all live and the assumptions that underlie our beliefs and activities. We are not one to surpass or fight against nature—we are granted life by nature and to destroy nature is to destroy ourselves, and every single potential future generation of humans who never had any say in how a world should be run.
Written By: Rupert Mackie