“You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption.” Noam Chomsky
Going. Through. It.
These days, it seems simple to fall into a “woe is me” state of mind. People who are routinely unaware of their privilege love to Go Through It. It is a syndrome of some sorts. They (me included) love to wallow in the sunlight of their first world problems. What is Going Through It? Going Through It, is a disease. It spreads throughout your body and mind like weeds. It can be passed on through nurture, acquired from ill-chosen company or learned from watching too much reality TV and forgetting it’s not reality. Going Through It is when your car breaks down the same day your mortgage is due and your toilet is usurping gallons of water causing your water bill to sky-rocket and your check didn’t come in the mail and you have family coming over from out of the country and you forgot to pay a small bill but now the past due surcharge doubled your bill and… and and all bullocks, bull-crap. I like to repeat myself. It’s an old habit that can stay. Anyway, the aforementioned clusterf… of annoying things is all privileged stress. A stress that only people fortunate enough to own cars, homes, have checks coming in the mail, have room in their place for visitors to stay experience. I am not here to diminish any person’s strifes or my own. I want to place some perspective on the nature of some struggles. I’m writing this in attempts to begin to understand privilege in a world where Jesse Williams’ masterful acceptance speech on the 2016 BET Awards show highlighted how much value is placed on getting “stuff”. Let’s be clear that is not all he said I didn’t miss a beat, it is all I am touching on this month.
Lets take a look at what he said:
“Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.” Jesse Williams
I don’t need statistics to see although we have high poverty and unemployment rates, (several) people in the United States have a strong need to collect large quantities of frivolous items. Is it to prove status? Or pseudo-stability? I don’t know why. Am I am being a little judgmental here? Hopefully, Im not. Surely don’t want to be.
So What’s the Link?
How does this connect to the Going Through It Syndrome? Well, let’s see those of us who are consumers: What are we consuming for? What is the goal? What is the aim on the board? What do we need to consume less? Who or what entities benefit from mass consumption? And consequently who is at a disadvantage? Will less consumption help us Go Through It less? I find the more stuff or brands I have the more complicated life becomes and the more I fall victim to the Going Through It Syndrome . When I simplify I allow myself to focus on more pressing matters like social injustice, climate change, completing blog entries on time and etc.
So maybe, the goal isn’t so much to not go through it, perhaps a component of my life’s journey is to go through it with purpose. A purpose that surpasses consumption.
“Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege.” bell hooks