by Marie Snyder
For decades I taught a course, the Challenge of Change in Society, which used the lens of social sciences to try to understand world issues and explore how we ended up with our current challenges and how to enact change. I taught about how media provokes consumerism and how to counter that, and why to counter that, in our daily lives for the sake of the planet, the people, and our own well being. I often stepped outside of the social sciences to draw on thousands of years of philosophies and religions that have understood that happiness isn’t the result of an accumulation of things.
I practice what I preach for the most part. Curiously, though, by about mid-July each year, I’d forget everything I had been teaching and end up on a shopping spree until I’d come to my senses. Ten years ago I wrote about how much I need government policies to restrain my habits – that we all do – or else we’ll literally shop ’til we drop, as a species, which is happening before our eyes.
Barring that reality, and knowing this would be an ongoing, lifelong issue, I got a tattoo on my Visa-paying forearm to remind myself that my actions affect the entire world. I borrowed Matisse’s Dance and have the characters circling a re-forming pangea. We need to come together on this, collectively, to reduce ongoing suffering. Read more »