I think I might have experienced a minor epiphany today. In something as trivial as stuffing a few more reusable shopping bags into a bag we use to hold them.

Today, the holding bag was full… in fact, it was overfull.

I had to stuff quite hard to fit all the reusable bags in. After some generous stuffing… I made them fit. But something inside tweaked me for a second.

This was supposed to be a “green” solution to the mountains of plastic bags wasted every day. These mesh bags were supposed to be the answer. Save the planet! Bring a reusable bag.

And yet, here I was (albeit more slowly) collecting another mountain of bags. It was on odd observation… so odd that I felt compelled to wander back to my computer and Tweet it:

I’m positive there’s some sort of irony when you realize you’re drowning in reusable grocery bags…

The irony is that simply changing your shopping bags doesn’t address the real issue of rampant consumption – which is essentially how our entire society is structured. We have to buy things to keep our society humming. If I stop buying things, it puts people out of jobs. The Machine stops running. And if the Machine stops running… what’s the alternative?

No one really knows.

The only thing most people are starting to realize is that the Machine is no longer working.

A few hours after my intimate moment with the shopping bags, I came across a link posted by a friend from the book “The Ascent of Humanity.” Intrigued, I read the introduction…and lo and behold, I came across this passage:

Words like “high-tech” and “modern” lose their cachet as a multiplicity of crises converge upon our planet. If we are fortunate, we might, for a time, prevent these crises from invading our personal lives.

Yet as the environment continues to deteriorate, as job security evaporates, as the international situation worsens, as new incurable diseases appear, as the pace of change accelerates, it seems impossible to rest at ease.

The world grows more competitive, more dangerous, less hospitable to easy living, and security comes with greater and greater effort. And even when temporary security is won, a latent anxiety lurks within the fortress walls, a mute unease in the background of modern life. It pervades technological society, and only intensifies as the pace of technology quickens.

We begin to grow hopeless as our solutions—new technologies, new laws, more education, trying harder—only seem to worsen our problems. For many activists, hopelessness gives way to despair as, despite their best efforts, catastrophe looms ever closer.

This book explains why trying harder can never work. Our “best efforts” are grounded in the same mode of being that is responsible for the crisis in the first place.

As Audre Lord put it, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

Soon, though, this mode of being will come to an end, to be replaced by a profoundly different understanding of the self, and a profoundly different relationship between human and nature. This book is about the gathering revolution in human beingness.

In Universe terms…that’s what’s called a “Booyah Grandma.”

Needless to say, I ordered the book.

P.S. I realized after writing this that perhaps finding inspiration from a shopping bag is not so strange after all.

5 Comments

  1. I think its rather ironic to order a “book” which is in fact a wasteful object as an end result of realizing you have too many wasteful objects in your home… jus’ sayin’

  2. @jane – interesting you mention that, as the topic came up with my later interview with Eisenstein.

    After all, every action could be considered “wasteful.” He says: “We are called to live according to what our hearts know. That is the only sure guide. That is also a true revolution. The mental calculations we call ethics, minimizing your carbon footprint, etc., none of those are a sure guide. Like, should I fly to California to co-create a transformational event? Well, it burns a lot of jet fuel. How can I possibly add up all the costs and benefits? It is impossible. When we try to choose from the head, we get into a maze of indecision, and even when we do choose we have no certainty and no courage. So now it is time to listen to our heart knowing.”

    http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/2010/06/18/interview-charles-eisenstein-on-the-ascent-of-humanity/

  3. You had an interview with Einstein??? How does that work?

    And yes, I struggle with it every time. There are actually people that do these calculations although who knows how accurate they can be. For instance, I produce in China because MEC did a huge study and found out that it is actually less harmful on the environment if you produce in the same country as the fibre and yarn is produced and then just ship the resulting production… however, does that get negated if I fly there once or twice per year to check on things and confirm all is to my standards? Who knows… right? I can only do my small part and trust that it is better than the alternative for now.
    And yes, people need to use their hearts and their heads more when it comes to these issues… we buy so much and toss what we dont’ want or “recycle” it without another thought… it has to stop.

  4. I think it is not bringing it alone, the art of recycling should be added also. There are many ways to recycle these plastic bags that can also help us in our daily living, just add some creative ethics.

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