To change big things in the world, we must change things in ourselves. To change ourselves, we must change our ways and our lives in order to see if what we believe to be true is not the Truth. We must ask deeper questions- specifically about who we are and how we are naturally designed to be and live as creatures in creation. We must forsake our consumer mentality and our dependence on a monoculture whose only goal has been and continues to be “total consumerism.” We must stop blaming and hating others, because this blinds us from seeing ourselves and our own sins of commission and omission against our neighbors and our enemies.
Wendell Berry’s passage below from his essay Think Little is applicable to us all- right now. “The standards of behavior” of a consumer is to caught in a web of thinking about “kind and quantity” and we are caught when we believe that our consumer preferences will change things but we fail to see that we must reject the whole consumer lifestyle (of kind and quantity) and live a completely different way to have any hope of living how we are designed as healthy, whole, holy and human beings.
Gosh, it seems that we have wasted so much time thinking, talking and arguing over politics and whatever else we have politicized (Covid) while fully participating in the systems that produce sickness and disease. For example, look at Covid and ask where have the leaders been as diet-related disease and sickness killed millions over the last 5 years. Where was the outrage, the speaking out, the panels, the podcasts and the refusal to keep pushing pharmaceutical drugs and medical procedures for the treatment of sickness and disease while avoiding the one thing proven to prevent, treat and reverse diet-related sickness and disease-DIET ? And where are our “leaders” now when diet-related sickness and disease continues to worsen and make us most susceptible from dying from Covid.
Again- the number one killer in America is still not Covid- it is diet-related disease – which is caused by what we do and do not eat.
It’s interesting that in the land of the free that the mass majority of Americans have taken from themselves their own freedoms- to be free of sickness and disease (which is also the working definition of health) – this means that we have taken away our own health and our right to be healthy. As consumers, with a Christian option, we have refused the responsibility to treat our bodies as holy temples.
Furthermore, the consumer with his or her Christian option, has been led to believe that we can refuse to love God, ourselves and our neighbors with all our heart, mind, soul and strength -and we can cover over this void where love should be and we replace love with our rules, religion, rhetoric, reasons, rights, rationalizations and revolutions. More than ever, it seems we must realize our ignorance and arrogance, and repent of our full participation in a consumer lifestyle that has encouraged and justified the using of every thing and every one as a means to our own pleasurable ends while marching us straight to nihilism.
“But even in the much-publicized rebellion of the young against the materialism of the affluent society, the consumer mentality is too often still intact: the standards of behavior are still those of kind and quantity, the security sought is still the security of numbers, and the chief motive is still the consumer’s anxiety that he is missing out on what is ‘in.’ In this state of total consumerism – which is to say a state of helpless dependence on things and services and ideas and motives that we have forgotten how to provide ourselves – all meaningful contact between ourselves and the earth is broken. We do not understand the earth in terms either of what it offers us or of what it requires of us, and I think it is the rule that people inevitably destroy what they do not understand. Most of us are not directly responsible for strip mining and extractive agriculture and other forms of environmental abuse. But we are guilty nevertheless, for we connive in them by our ignorance. We are ignorantly dependent on them. We do not know enough about them; we do not have a particular enough sense of their danger. Most of us, for example, not only do not know how to produce the best food in the best way – we don’t know how to produce any kind in any way. Our model citizen is a sophisticate who before puberty understands how to produce a baby, but who at the age of thirty will not know how to produce a potato. And for this condition we have elaborate rationalizations, instructing us that dependence for everything on somebody else is efficient and economical and a scientific miracle. I say, instead, that it is madness, mass produced. A man who understands the weather only in terms of golf is participating in a public insanity that either he or his descendants will be bound to realize as suffering. I believe that the death of the world is breeding in such minds much more certainly and much faster than in any political capital or atomic arsenal.” Wendell Berry