|Bearer of truth, or party pooper?|
I came across an interesting blog post from 2007 written by Arthur Silber. Although it was written with politicians in mind, the sentiments expressed reflect the general mind set in these days of ignorance and denial. When so many are living a lie, honest folks speaking truths are not welcome, and are often seen as annoying party poopers.
The planet is struggling, as are billions of its human inhabitants. At the same time a small privileged group carries on living the high life as if nothing is wrong.
Uncomfortable truths are discouraged as they are "a downer" and put a damper on the uninhibited enjoyment of luxurious appointments like stainless steel, granite counter tops, annual exotic vacations, new cars, fancy clothes...
There is a major disconnect between the truth and lies, and between a harsh reality and comfortable fantasy. Silber writes:
"It is not simply that our national discourse rests on a foundation of evasions, complicated by equivocations, twisted by avoidance, and rendered into meaningless insignificance by an uncountable series of lies. All of that is true, but it fails to capture the quality that is most striking to the perceptive observer. That quality is one of overwhelming, oppressive and suffocating unreality.
It is as if everyone knows, but will never acknowledge, that we may speak only in code, and that we may only utilize the safe, empty phrases that we have agreed are "acceptable" -- phrases and language that are safe precisely because they have been drained of all correspondence to facts. It is as if everyone realizes, but will never state, that we are engaged in an elaborate charade, a pageant of gesture and indication, where substance and specific meaning have been banned."
And what generally happens to those who attempt to, dare to, speak truths? On those "extraordinarily rare occasions" when truths are identified, the messenger is labeled "extreme, crazy, or a troublemaker".
"You are not 'respectable', you are not to be treated with any degree of seriousness, and you are not to be listened to."
Such individuals, if they are effective enough, will be discredited with less than flattering labels - eco-terrorist, tinfoil hat wearer, communist, and enemy of the state are only a few in the muzzling arsenal.
It has been amply documented that 70 years of rampant consumerism has tainted the human and natural landscapes. The effects of our unchecked desires and waste are quite simply destroying everything, including ourselves.
But try talking about it at a gathering, while out for coffee, or at a party. Linda and I used to do just that with less than encouraging results. We did not speak in meaningless code. We did not observe the ban on uncomfortable truths that might jeopardize the status quo.
We don't go out so much any more.
However, undaunted by our tepid reception, we searched for and found a different soap box on which to stand. We are continually humbled by the small (possibly masochistic) crowd that continues to gather here at Not Buying Anything to hear the bad news for bloated expectations.
Those same brave people are asking questions that challenge business-as-usual, putting themselves at risk for derision. The good news is that the truth is filtering out into the world, and people are taking up the challenge to live more reasonably and gently upon the earth.
The consumer party is a house-wrecker. That means that the truth seeking 'party pooper' is not trying to bring anyone down, but through their questions and alternative perspectives, bring everyone up.