Of Course I Will

“This is so beautiful” said my friend, fingering the intricate design of faux jet beads edging my cardigan. My brain snapped into shocked awareness.

These beads- so tiny, strung together on the thinnest thread, sewn onto the front edge and neck of my cardie – were undoubtedly the work of some woman who earned a pitiful few cents for her work.

The retailer I bought the whole garment from -famous for its ‘Proudly South African’ buying policy- had sold it to me for the equivalent of a months’ wages for that bead-working woman.

The truth is, of course, that we never give much thought to the price in human and nonhuman emiseration and death which goes into the things we crave to own.

Here’s this sandwich I’m eating this morning – the bread, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese were all bought from a giant retail store, and the land where they each originated remains unknown, anonymous, to me. This lettuce I’m munching now – have I ever even seen the land it was grown on? What is my relationship to the people who planted, picked, cleaned and packaged it?

I have no agreement with supermarket-purchased goods. The agreement which says, wordlessly, that if I need to eat you to stay alive, I will enter into your lifecycle, care for your nutrition and the survival of your species, for without each other we can not long exist upon the earth. This is the agreement which ensured the continuation of planetary life in the past, and it is almost a totally unknown concept to the general consumer today.

For we live in civilisation- an artificial organism based and reliant upon slavery for its very existence.

The human and nonhuman lives which go to feed this behemoth are literally uncountable – by now, it is taken as given that to stay alive you shall work for money, or steal for the same, or indenture yourself to some being higher in the chain and call him husband, father, boyfriend or pimp.

I’m supremely lucky – or rather, supremely circumstantially prepared – to be able to exchange my talents for money in company I enjoy. My colleagues are a pleasure to work alongside, and I am never given the impression that I’m a wage slave (even though that is what I am, in reality)- rather, I feel I’m part of a team of people all working toward a common goal, for the good of all of us. But then, I’m one in a hundred thousand, or more, who get to experience this pleasant way of surviving in civilisation.

The old woman who walked past the bakkie yesterday, almost lame, pretty blind, ravaged by time and children and spouse and a whole culture which frankly cares not a damn for her wellbeing, she passed under a big sign indicating that “When Work is a Pleasure, Life is a Joy”- the catchphrase for the marketing company whose plush post-modern building she was passing.

I don’t know what to do about the lethal growth which is civilisation just yet – except to be aware, holding life and consciousness very dear, watching, waiting for any fulcrum where I can make a difference.

If all I can do is to be aware of these things, that is so much more than most people can do. If I can witness the crash of this monster called civilisation, well, that is part of what a Witch does.

If I can aid and assist the crash to be faster, and thus less deadly in its continual slaughter and enslavement – well then, of course I will.

Pic: looking out through the security gate into my front garden

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2 responses to “Of Course I Will

  1. Nice post … thought provoking.The saddest thing is the scope of the monster … whether it lives or dies, humanity will suffer for it.All i can do is observe, and perhaps enter the fray for a moment to do some “good”. But after i like to crawl back into hiding, and continue to watch the antics.

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  2. I’ve been having these same thoughts and struggles myself. I did decide that I would try and at least buy as much organic local produce as I could (and accept more of my mother’s p-patch gifts) and to try and make my meat and grain purchases more thoughtfully. Fortunately in my neck of the woods this is a pretty easy thing to do. There is a great deal of this available to me. So what’s the problem. ME. I find I forget my promise to self and the world. It is after the fact that I hit my forehead and yell Doh! But as time moves forward I get better and better and more conscious. The big problem is going to be when I decide that I have to make those same choices regarding textiles and clothing and accessories. And we think making sure we are careful about our food is time consuming. Oi.Thanks for keeping this in the forefront of folks minds. I know you have a large readership and this is a very good thing.

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