Day 116: Our broken selves.
I love – and hate – this photo.
I find it both gruesome and strangely beautiful. Those natural whites/greys/browns framing the man-made reds, greens, blues. There is so much contradiction in there.
At first I thought this was conceptual art but not so.The image is by Chris Jordan and it is from a series of images he has done of bird carcasses that are found washed up with stomachs full of plastic that they have mistaken for food.
Nothing I have seen seems to so poetically symbolise the broken – conflicted – realationship we have with other beings on this planet. We create a world that they can’t stomach.
Thank you all for offering up suggestions about where I should go next. I’m building up a nice list which I’ll tell you about in the next blog. And thank you too for your words of support. I can’t tell you how much it helps someone who is otherwise an indecisive, doubting dawdler. It means a lot and I can feel the january blues slowly lifting.
With your help I’m realising more and more what I am doing on this year..or trying to do.
Bear with me…
I’m 39 and I’m well-educated. I’m comfortable and I’m healthy and I’m loved. The world should make total sense. And yet …and yet…I feel deeply confused about our connection to all those other animals out there.
Why? Martin…either eat animals or don’t but make up your mind.
Not so easy.
The wisdom of childhood
When i was a kid I was much clearer – hurting animals was wrong. Don’t do it. They have eyes, they have fear, they feel pain, duh, what could be more obvious.
But now, I feel less clear. Oh, for sure, I still have that compassion but I also have a sense there are more important things: the news, the iphone, being busy…or eating delicious meat. Bloody delicious meat. I am burdened by a culture that says ‘actually, of course hurting cute fluffy things is wrong, but its not THAT bad’
Let me put it this way. If I lived in a time of deep racism I’d be some ignorant dude with black slaves and I’d probably think it was OK. I might have pangs of guilt about getting them to do shit that I don’t want to do but hey – they’re different so it’s fine. I’d suck up the norm as if it was a cold can of cola on a hot day. Let me guess…you’d be racist too. Oh sorry, no you wouldn’t, sorry, of course not.
If I – we – lived in a time when they hung people in the main square, or a time when we watched gladiator’s kill each other or a time when witches burned then I’d/we’d take my/our can of cold cola and drink some more. The sugary liquid would wash away that feeling of ‘this is wrong’
My point is simple and I know you get it. However smart we are we still do as others tell us, however much we rebel we yearn for the norm. Culture is people agreeing that houses should have pitched roofs, cars should drive on the left eggs go with bacon. I’m always amazed that all those rebellious rockstars wear the same kinds of sunglasses. Pioneers are rare – else they would not be pioneers. They are the nutters who stray from the camp and cut swathes through the jungle where the snakes are. Not me.
I am a sheep
But it occurs to me I shouldn’t feel ashamed of my own desire to follow the crowd. For every one of me there are thousands, millions out there also not strong enough to live their lives according to what their heart knows rather than what their culture tells us. OK, it’s hardly radical to be a vegetarian. It’s hardly radical to believe in animal rights. But it IS radical to believe so deeply in your heart that we are equal with all beings that you live your life accordingly. I can’t do it.
But I am interested in my own weakness. I want to understand my own inconsistencies. This journey is a path not just towards animals but also into myself. If I can come to know what is broken in my heart I might just, perhaps, find what is broken out there too.