How can we continue like this - vaulting over increasingly larger cracks, now too large to merely step around? Will we need to rappel down one side, climb up the other, before more people feel moved to do anything? Or will massive swaths of bodies need to fall through these cracks, will the chasms need to become bottomless?
Someone responded to a Mastodon post I wrote about disaster thoughts that thinking like this gets them caught in a loop.
Accept the real and dangerous risks of letting go of everything to address the need to come together as a community to brace ourselves for what’s to come - or stay the course, knowing that the longer you stay the course, the more pronounced the issues will be each day.
It’s a Catch-22. (Well, as my attempt at cheekiness suggests, a Catch-2023.)
We need to disengage from the stuff that’s not feeding us, engage with the things that do. One might take that literally and say our wages feed us, but long-term these wages can’t buy food that no longer exists after the climate disasters and extreme political polarization wipe it all out. Engaging with community will not only bring forth change, but it’ll feed our souls.
And that’s the short term.
Long term, our ability to ideate with each other will also feed our stomachs, expand our minds, invigorate our capacity to imagine new possibilities when our future looks desolate.
I am writing this from a place of anxious exhaustion, something that I’m hearing about from so many others, especially in the wake of another 100-year flood that swept through our area…the last one not being 100 years ago but in 2011.
It’s also from a place of hope, because in those expressions of depression and pain from this Catch-2023, there’s a real desire to do something - anything - about it. We know the cogs are turning and squeezing the life out of the majority of humans (and non-humans).
Bridging this is the struggle to do something with consequences we can’t weather (unable to pay rent, medical bills, etc.) vs. not doing anything and eventually collapsing…arguably getting to the consequences we can’t weather, but just later when we no longer have the energy to do anything about it.
When looking at it this way, our catch is just choosing to deal with the inevitable now or months (or maybe years) later.
It makes me wonder if there’s a third way to bring about the changes we need as opposed to waiting for it to lap us as we deliberate.
Passive resistance is something that’s already being done. There are a lot of initiatives around “rest as resistance” and the Nap Ministry is a big proponent of this.
I’ve been noticing, though, that my peers are not at the point yet where they can allow themselves this rest.
When I took my ADHD test, one of the questions was if I felt that I was being “driven” by some “internal motor.” One that I couldn’t stop…and arguably that’s everyone I know who’s caught in capitalism’s violent death throes. (A beast like that can have a death that stretches for years, maybe even decades. I honestly wonder how many of us ADHD’ers are really just canaries in the coalmine.)
Before people can progress to rest as resistance, they need to learn to stop. Just stop - not feel motion. Not feel the need to keep going in a paradigm that’ll let them grind themselves to dust.
There’s a no more perfect death system than one that allows its parts to commit their own murder through ceaseless movement.
Stopping is difficult. It comes with risks, as we’ve experienced and deliberated. But stopping looks more threatening to oppressors if it’s organized. We’ve seen this too: rent strikes, walk outs, protests.
I propose something more modest in line with rest as resistance. Instead of taking to the streets: stopping and resisting the urge to do something in that stillness. In that stillness, exploring what prevents you from feeling like you can’t rest.
I know for me, in part due to being trans, I don’t feel my body. I float around as a little ball of consciousness. That stillness for me is taking account of my body, then teaching it to relax, so I can actually apply “rest as resistance.”
What would that look like, especially with people who might be in a bit more of a privileged position to take these risks? (We can’t deny that those in the service industry or providing for a family of five don’t have the same ability to just stop like others might.)
For example: a starting point might be, if you’re in a solid remote job, to plan a 1-hr blackout with your coworkers. Each month, choose a random day and just sign off. Increase to 2 hrs. Then keep increasing or adjusting the amount of time everyone leaves. (Better yet, everyone is late to signing on Monday morning!)
But, instead of being near your phone to see your boss’s reactions, turn off your phone. Close your laptop. Maybe close your eyes or take some deep breaths. Listen to the birds outside your window, go on a walk with your kids or your neighbor. Live into that stillness. It’s yours and you have a right to it. Maybe then can you start to break the pattern that will lead you to being able to rest.
Long term, this could cause enough disruption where those with less ability to mess with their schedules could then start to participate. A slow-building wave of people leaving or signing off. Or not showing up.
The only way we’re going to get out of this is if we…well, start stopping. Otherwise some bigger events will do the stopping for us, and we’ll be removed from having a choice in the matter.