I realize I risk sounding like an immature teenager throughout this entire post, and that is precisely why I will type every syllable with the careful affection I would show to being labeled exactly that. The following is what I have, four truths that I, personally, hold self-evident.
There is nothing wrong with living a life where you pursue happiness at all costs. As a greater society, as a species, it seems we have been developing this idea that whatever the norm is, so shall that be the reflection of what is right. If you are doing something that makes you happy, you seem selfish, self-serving, a person of foolish decisions. But if the norm is the look I see on the faces of every commuting 9 to 5er, of every Walmart “Associate”, of all you Church pew filling Saved, well my friends, I believe it is time to reevaluate what the norm should be. It was once normal to own, rape and kill slaves. At one point, the norm was to be tried without a jury, imprisoned without a cause, and you had to worship whatever God some lucky bastard born into a throne deemed you should. When those pilgrims took up ship and headed for America, they knew the danger, they knew the risk, and they knew the reward: happiness. There is no certainty as to what will happen when our hearts stop beating, and to waste one second of this life compromising happiness or the chance of it for doing what’s right simply because it is the most normal life is a sin in my eyes as sickening as suicide.
Living in a vehicle the size of a VW Bus is not wrong and nor is it extreme. Analogies…well, in a flower bed, we see the plants which are the most able to spread and take over the bed as weeds, even in the case of dandelions which are nearly identical to the daisy in appearance, we recognize that plants who want to expand and expand until they squelch out the resources of all others in the garden to be weeds. So could one liken the ever increasing appetites of Western consumerism, land grabbing, garbage dumps with more wealth in them than entire African villages, to weeds in a world full of gardens. Of course, no one would like to believe themselves the dandelion and not the rose. Additionally, I believe that the size of our homes is directly proportional to the disconnection of our people as a culture. As our personal abodes get larger and larger we physically and emotionally get further and further apart. Where a family of 13 living in a three bedroom house in the 60’s and 70’s ate dinner together every night, now a family of 4 takes their fast food into their own various rooms and eats separately every night. Again, it is fast becoming normal for people to have homes with more bedrooms than people. That is fine for those of you who choose to live that way, and though I am happy to be free to express my opinions on this website, you are equally able to not digest them here. However, please realize that this mode of living–with 10 foot ceilings, three bathrooms, two car garages–is a very, very new one. I’d set its current age at maybe 30. Go back further than three decades and I believe you’ll find that only lords and kings, only the rich had such amenities that we’ve all grown so used to so quickly. Homesteaders, even with their acres of land, lived in much smaller houses. Indians lived in teepees made of material more vulnerable than that of any Volkswagen and I can guarantee you they were a better race of people than we. They lived here for some 12,000 years without screwing up this most beautiful land. We’ve largely done it in 500. So my point, living in a bus in not extreme, is valid for most of human existence unless you compare it to the extreme that is living in a modern day mansion for the every man.
Having possessions is the root of America’s downfall. “You are not what you own.” A FUGAZI song. I believe the meaning behind the lyrics there is something akin to, simply because you have everything does not mean you are everything. Possession leads to bills, bills lead to work, work takes time and time, for everyone, leads to death. Please don’t ever think that because someone has less stuff, they are living less of a life. Indeed, related to the previous paragraph, even having less space in your home leads to more life, because it forces you to explore the redwoods you’re living under, the desert you’re living in, the world you’re living on. There’s a current campaign called “Play60” that I think the government is putting on, with ads everywhere encouraging children to play for at least 60 minutes a day. Barring any tragic disability that prevents them from doing so, if your children are having a hard time playing–I mean hard ass, running around, out of breath playing–for only one hour a day, well, your children suck at being kids. Far be it from me to say what any particular child should do, but I will, because it’s obvious: wake up, play like crazy until you’re so tired you fall asleep in your lunch bowl, wake up, do it again, repeat until bed time.
Christianity is a farce, not because the ideas are unsound, but because the practitioners are all too often full of shit. I considered not adding this one because I’m over the whole “I don’t believe in God rebellion” that I was dealing with throughout my 20’s, but for something that was brought to my attention recently I think I should mention this. If you look at a street person and think they are dangerous simply because they are dirty; if you wouldn’t pick up a hitchhiker pulling their jacket tight walking through the belting night rain; if you feel that living a completely safe life can be accomplished by shutting out those in the world who are less fortunate, well I really think you’re missing the entire point of that book of yours. To be in it for the Heaven, for the big payoff, is wrong. Jesus wasn’t tell you “be a good person or else you’ll go to Hell,” though his Dad didn’t seem to have much else to say. Jesus was saying “be a good person because it’s the right thing to do, because it’ll make this world a better place, because when everyone is good and kind to one another, everyone can be happy.” Instead of holding out a helping hand, you’ve given us the Crusades, gay bashing and George Bush. You know, the “good work.”
I largely try and avoid writing about things like this here in favor of attempting to accurately describe how beautiful a pile of leaves on a car hood is, I realize, and I won’t make a habit of it, but I thought they were items that needed to be said. So I have, and now, I am done.