Montag, 8. April 2013

343 | On Poverty, Humbleness, and World Change

ART by Matti Freeman

Today I was reading an interview with an older revolutionary poet in Berlin in a local newspaper, when I read the words “I lived from what I could find in the streets”.

In that moment I took a look around my place and recalled how almost everything I now have, furniture, plates etc.: I have from people who didn’t want the stuff.
I saw in that moment how easy it is to think “oh that’s cool” or “how nice, this way everyone is served” without realizing or becoming aware of the greater context within which this is taking place – that being the greater system, the world system, the money system.
Exchanging goods or services or stuff would be an entirely different story if it wasn’t based on lack, if it wasn’t based on inequality of opportunities in life.

In that moment, I realized: This is poverty. I could not have afforded to buy something like a couch, the couch I have now was given away by someone who was moving to a new place and didn’t want to take it with. I had to rent a vehicle to fetch it, so I did pay something for it, but nothing compared to what a couch costs.
I exist in poverty. I am not able to buy whatever I want whenever I want it/ It’s a good thing I don’t want a lot, but now for instance I want to start a course of studies and I can’t do that before I find a second job and extra income. Point is: I could try and ‘paint a nice picture’ out of this, saying things like “oh I get buy just fine” or “I am happy with what I have” – but wouldn’t that actually validate the existence of poverty, any extent of poverty? Wouldn’t it validate the current system, implying that the system is OK because I am OK, “I get by”?
A bum on the streets also ‘get by’- but is that an acceptable living standard? Would you swap places with a bum on the street – or a child that is starving?

So –
Don’t get me wrong – I am not comparing the actual poverty that exists in the world with my personal situation. What I’m saying is: it’s easy to create a sense of (distorted) ‘humbleness’ to justify just how things are.
It’s easy to ‘think away’ one’s own poverty to not have to see the real poverty that exists; to not have to question the system at its root; to not have to change, expand, move and find ways to change the system in a way that would be best for all!

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