Thursday, September 30, 2010

Um, Off the Grid?

Took time off work yesterday to bike down to the Utility Billing center to pay the water bill. Of course, the people behind the counter, particularly B. were very friendly and kind, a direct contrast to the people at the water department I talked to on the phone. When B finally asked for the 726 dollars, I set 726 one dollar bills on the counter. She looked at them and smiled. "That's going to be fun for me," she said, "But that's OK."

I had already told her about my problems with the water department. I told her I wasn't trying to be a jerk, I was just making a statement, that I was hoping the person taking the money would be a jerk like the people on the phone, not a sweetheart. I said I was glad she was a sweetheart. She smiled again, put the money in the bill counter and said, "I've had people pay with pennies." On the way out. both B. and the other person behind the Plexiglas, a gentle middle-aged man, thanked me for not bringing in 726 dollars in change.

I didn't prick each bill with a drop of blood either, like I thought I would. It seemed too tedious, too time consuming, and too angry. There is so much else to do that is more productive, more positive, more affirming. I'm all for revolutionary symbolism, but I don't really want to draw blood, mine or anyone else's. There's more than enough of that - the bloodletting, not the revolutionary symbolism. And as I've said before, bloody revolution is just that: bloody.

Good people, in that municipal office. Every time I grow disgusted with Government, I'm confronted by good people in Government who remind me, not all who exist inside the Institution are corrupted by it. There are good people in the Corporate world as well, even if many in that world are corrupted, as so many in Government are, in a similar but different way.

I've been wondering about good and bad, ever since I wrote about the prevalence of bad people in Government. What really do I mean by "bad people"? Is that statement even defensible? There is an idea in America that to be successful is to be good. There is another, in contrast, that to be poor and disadvantaged is to be good. Or, that to be successful is to be bad; to be poor is to be bad.

In my experience, people who are successful are no more or less likely to be good or bad than someone who is poor, and vice-versa. Basically, the system in which we are all raised - the entrenched hierarchy, the servile worship of money and technology, the near total disconnection from the rhythms of the Earth, the glorification of violence, the ubiquity of poisons, the sickness in the food, the unbalanced and unholy worship of a God with almost no counterbalancing respect and devotion to the Sacred Feminine - twists us all in unhealthy ways.

If we talk at all in America about health, it is almost always in reference to the economy. But guess what? The economy as it is established is leading us directly into ecological, systemic collapse.

We act well or we don't. The more we act badly, the more bad we become. The more we act well, the more well we become. What is it to act well, or not? Well, if an action is healthy for oneself, for one's family, friends, community and the Earth, that is good. If an action is unhealthy for any of these, it is unhealthy. Right now, on this planet Earth, the balance of actions has tipped far to the side of unhealthy, and there is not one of us exempt from that responsibility, no matter how poor or how affluent one is.

There are no hard rules about this. It can't be translated in Excel format. The so-called Holy books won't help much (has any major religion done a thing to prevent the ecological fix we are in, seven billion Homo sapien sapien and counting? Other than periodically contributing to the death of mass numbers of us?).

You are the best judge of what is healthy, in your heart.

So - after next Monday I will no longer be technically off the grid, with municipal water in my house. But if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know, I'm "off the grid" in just about every way, as a state of mind. I try. It seems there are a few people interested. Thank you.

1 comment:

offgridnick said...

Hi - this is a sad story - but a necessary one I am sure - please can you write a guest post on about why you do what you do, as it will inspire others. write to me at