“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
Even though it’s New Year’s Eve, it feels an awful lot like just another winter Monday. I don’t have any particular resolutions, or any feeling of impending newness. I’m reviewing notes from a Gender, Media & Society workshop in order to prepare for a presentation tomorrow, and trying not to become depressed anew at the statistics and anecdotes about how advertising manipulates us into being less than we can be.
The world tells us we’re doing it wrong so we will buy the stuff to help us do it “right”. Usually “it” is being a man or a woman – most of us are made to feel like we are doing that wrong several times a day. So we buy a new bra or different deodorant or take the right vacation or drive a faster car, as if failure to those things would cause us to stop being what we are. You will still be a man if you don’t show off your dominance. You will still be a woman if your highlights grow out. You are doing it right, because you can’t exist “wrong”.
There are people who would fight with me over this, and lots of us argue over these issues all the time. That’s good for the status quo too. If we’re insecure and bickering, we won’t pay attention to attempts at manipulating us. We won’t demand a world where everyone is treated well. We won’t question the distribution of power and resources.
How could I live with myself if I missed my opportunity to change the world because I was agonizing over my appearance?
My resolution is simple, and not new, and on going: clear away the nonsense so that I can love better. That’s the only energy, the only fire that can transform us.
Whatever your resolutions are, I hope they help you to discover fire. Here’s to setting the world ablaze in 2013.