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Securing the future

February 18, 2011

WARNING: this post deals with matters both spiritual and political. If you’re not into rambling, philosophical rants about the impending doom of the species, you might want to skip this one…

One of the hardest things about not having a day job is not having security. I’m a sucker for security. I tip-toe cautiously onto life’s metaphorical tightropes, and would prefer to only proceed once I’m strapped into some kind of safety harness and can see a soft and welcoming safety net spread not too far beneath me.

But there is no true security in life. Everything is unstable. Everything is in flux. Everything is fleeting. There is nothing tangible to hold onto.

This week, as I’ve put time into recharging my batteries and considering the “big picture” of my life, I keep getting entangled in internal debates about my decisions and priorities. You see, while I’m often caught up in the minutiae of my own life, I’m also concerned about issues of wider concern. In a nutshell, as a species I think we are reckless, selfish and short-sighted. And possibly doomed. As a nation, Australia is also reckless, selfish and short-sighted. We treat global warming as a threat to be dealt with first by others. And vulnerable people, such as asylum seekers, the elderly, students, the unemployed or mentally ill, are too often treated as expensive trouble-makers who should be grateful for any pitiful help that they are begrudgingly, and often incompetently, offered. We act with too little compassion and too little humility, as though our wealthy lives and our cultured civilization cannot crumble. But nothing is secure.

As a species, we cannot take it for granted that we can overcome the obstacles that we have created for ourselves. We must learn to be humble. We must recognize our own vulnerability. We must transcend our individual and immediate concerns to work for the good of our species, our future and our planet.

I worry about my role in all of this. What am I doing about these issues that I purportedly care about? Virtually nothing. I am reckless, selfish and shortsighted too, wrapped up in my own concerns. But I forgive myself. I know that I am trying, that I am learning and growing, that I can and will do better. And though I don’t know where I am heading, all I can do is trust in my ability to eventually fumble my way to where I need to be. I am learning, haltingly, to believe in myself. And self belief is possibly the truest form of security that there is.

As for everyone else, I believe that they trying too. And I hope that somehow, if we all keep trying, perhaps we can achieve a better future for all the people in this country, and all the inhabitants of this wonderful planet. Remembering even if we do, that nothing is ever truly secure.

If anyone has thoughts on any of this, I’d greatly appreciate your ideas and comments below.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. deep thoughts permalink
    February 18, 2011 2:34 am

    I was having a conversation about this on the weekend. I know it’s very fashionable to blame the media, but I think that the media’s fascination with big problems and big issues – that are important – has a side effect of making us feel like we are powerless to change anything, because how could one little person change Australia’s asylum-seeker policy, or come up with a plan to stop global warming, or something. And no, we can’t single-handedly achieve those things – but we can still make a difference. It’s funny how the newspapers label stories about people doing little positive things as “soft news” and denigrate it – yet that’s the kind of news that actually keeps you going.
    We do make a difference, and often we don’t see how we make a difference. Maybe steer clear of the mainstream media for a bit and have a look at things like New Scientist and National Geographic: I’ve found that while these mags don’t try to downplay the problems we’re facing, they have a positive attitude about things we can do, and that others are doing, and about all the fascinating things that go on in the world.
    And remember, at least you’re thinking about it. There are plenty of people out there who don’t engage, don’t challenge their assumptions, never try to make a difference. At least you are, even if you haven’t come up with the big satisfying thing to do to make a difference. And along the way, you might just make a difference without realising it.

  2. deep thoughts permalink
    February 18, 2011 3:48 am

    Whoops, sorry about all the bold there. Actually meant to do but had a brain fart.

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