I have had more interesting and deep conversations in the time since we opened our doors than I can count. Actually when I was in high school the big rhetorical plan had been a cafe where people come to exchange ideas and question... so it’s fitting that this component remains true!
One person brought up the same thing I wrote about last week, the growing of Asheville and how she plans to leave soon, has stopped saying “welcome” but now says “why are you here?” to the new neighbors. I went to a chamber of commerce meeting to learn more about what they do and found out about their big and successful economic development plan to bring 5,000 jobs here, through tourism and targeted companies. Needless to say their tactics worked, I wonder how many people moved here due to the same campaigns and whether the jobs are gainful employment and how many locals got them... of course I had lots of questions as I always do about information portrayed in only a positive light. Those people at the chamber of commerce did their job well, it’s what they were trained in. I hope they ask the questions and some of them probably do- but I’m not here taking sides. I’m not sure if a boom is bad or good yet. I’ve got my bubble on Haywood Road so I should be able to take it for quite awhile longer... but only because of these conversations!
We talked about slavery and how willingly people take on pre-ordained roles in society. So many societal rules are just taken for granted when in reality they make up our culture and we can consciously choose what that looks like. The world was and still is built on slavery- an un due wealth reached the privileged population while being robbed from generations of slaves and their eventual ancestry. So now we have this unbalanced wealth flying around, plus that heritage has grown in time, while the ancestors of slaves develop without that strong free lineage and accumulation of wealth that humans naturally have- both socially and financially. We privileged received from our ancestors our own birth rights as well as the wealth our ancestors stole. But still a person with such a hugely unfortunate family history is just as responsible for consciously reacting to his or her environment here and now- in this country even more so than the average next guy.
Another conversation was about a utopian society where no money or ownership exists. I try not to get too idealistic and involved in hypothetical utopia because a change that drastic in one life time just seems impossible.... Until you stop to realize that it’s all about how we see it. In reality we really are only as good and safe as our neighbors. We have important roles to play and if you look at the really big picture it’s clear to me our stuff is an asset and a burden we already share.
Money is to blame so many believe and so it is said. I don’t want to blame money because it’s what we have. It’s our system for exchanging energy, it organizes our efforts. It’s still based on faith. With no money, what would happen to fear and evil and manipulation? Would they go away? I doubt that very much, I just think the most psychologically powerful people would use their brains to control, the most physically strong would build the biggest houses, the beautiful people would find others to do their bidding and free loaders would still get out of the work!
We can turn in just about any direction to find something to blame for the badness we see and feel, but it’s really in us. I’m talking about raising some consciousness, taking responsibility and thinking about the hard questions with the soft facts in mind. Teaching our kids that chaos is the name of the game and it’s up to us to navigate each moment and chose right or wrong from a group mentality. Hold the group in mind, but think for yourself. Mob-mentality is the thing that scares me most... because it so much easer to destroy than to create.
There is gravity here after all!