Possibility, Power, and Purpose: Sensing the Demand

Possibility, Power, and Purpose: Sensing the Demand

I know this puts me out of sync with the calendar, and I hope I don’t have to prove that I’m not a Scrooge, but I have to tell you that I had A Christmas Carol moment when I began to think about what I wanted to share with you this morning as we consider what history, integrity, and the future are demanding of us now.

  • “This seems to be a pretty busy and chaotic time on Planet Earth. The whole place reminds me of a triage unit. Everyone is trying to figure out what’s most important to do next, and everything is changing all the time. Have you got anything to offer that might make that easier, or at least more bearable?”
  • “Is the old way of doing cultural politics — getting folks together to put their best vision into writing, gathering supporters and advocates, pleading with officials — is that the best way? Is there a different path forward now?”
  • To what extent do the lives of community-based artists or designers play out amidst accepted ideas and practices that amount to living — whether consciously or not — within a lie not of our own making, a lie threaded through the fabric of our whole system?
  • What would it be like to live within the truth?
  • Privileged people have proved their merit by growing rich, and it would be rude to insult them by requiring them to endure reduced circumstances.
  • People who fall through the cracks — lose their jobs, get evicted, live under a crushing burden of medical debt — are to blame for their suffering. It’s not our problem, it’s theirs.
  • Poor people should be punished for their poverty by being given the minimum necessary to sustain life, nothing more. They should gratefully accept being monitored and surveilled to be sure they aren’t cheating.
  • Sure, the big guys cheat. Sure, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, and Elon Musk paid no more than three percent of their income in taxes last year (Buffet paid the least, at 1/10 of one percent). But look at all the jobs they create! Give them a break!

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Arlene Goldbard

Arlene Goldbard

Writer, painter, speaker, consultant activist. Learn more about arlenegoldbard.com.