Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Your Self

If there was such a thing as "the five food groups" of evolution, protest would surely be a key nutritional source. And like any of the five food groups, protesting would be an important contributor to our growth as a species. Without it, who knows, maybe the dinosaurs would have staged a comeback and they would be running the show today. So with that in mind, the recent grassroots swell of protests that is going on in many cities today must be a healthy thing for our society. Certainly it should not be dismissed or silenced.  I'm fairly certain that disagreement with a protest is just as healthy for us as well. What is never healthy, of course, is crossing the line from protest or from anti-protest to T-Rex behavior.

Most people have a strong, even if mixed, opinion about this "Occupy" wave of protests. If you haven't heard of it, you've been in a coma. If you have been in a coma, here's a recap: large numbers of people recently took to the streets of Manhattan, the Wall Street area to be precise, to protest corporate greed and the perceived effect it is having on their lives. This (presumably) grassroots movement has now spread to many other cities, and not just in the US. The media did not give it much coverage initially, but it has now decided it is worth looking into. Maybe someone will place themselves in front of a moving limo when you least expect it.

So back to opinionated folks. What do I think about this movement?  Simply this: although a part of me sympathizes with the corporate conscience-tugging effort, it is essentially a waste of time.

Here's why I believe that:  While I defend the right of anyone to legally amass a fortune, yelling at a group of people who have opted to take in more money than they truly need is a bit like yelling at a fat kid for eating most of the food at the table.

First of all, if the fat kid ate ALL of the food at the table, shame on you as much as on him. What were you doing, staring at him? I believe that obsession with other people's choices, good, bad, or undecided, is suspect in itself. And even if you are honestly not envious of the fat kid, your deer-in-the-headlights protest puts you in the awkward position of having to defend your own actions, or rather, lack thereof. Not to mention your motives.

The time and energy that the unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed are spending on these protests is not only taking precious time away from their being able to come up with a productive sustainability for themselves, their families, and their communities, it is also missing the bigger picture opportunity by a mile...

Learning to get up when we've fallen, working hard but not merely for money (or any derivative of money, such as power), and finding a whole new level of happiness when we shed as many material cravings as we practically can, is something the fat cats will never know. By yelling at them you are only feeding their ego, and wasting your precious time.

So go occupy thyself.

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