I am belatedly getting around to writing about an excellent post over on Colonise This! It really got me thinking, not so much because it challenged my current perspective but because it helped to clarify it. It’s about how we choose to respond to a world of horrendous injustice, and Genie X proposes five broad categories of coping mechanism. Go read it and let me know what group you’re in. Here’s my take:
I started out in Group B, deciding that in a world ruled by money a sensible strategy would be to get as much of it as possible and then do what I like. So I became a corporate banker, and by the age of 22 I had a six-figure salary, was living in a paid-for corporate apartment in New York City, going out every night, staying in top hotels all over the world, and being engulfed by a tide of violent self-hatred as I brushed my teeth every morning.
So I decided to move to Group C, trying to change the world through my writing. For various reasons that hasn’t quite worked out how I planned either, but I’m still plugging away at a novel while engaging in some fairly meaningless, but paid, journalistic writing. I don’t do enough of the challenging=the-ruling-class things that Genie X mentions, but I’m trying.
Nevertheless I constantly find myself being dragged towards Group D, the “dropout” option. For me this mostly takes the form of travel fantasies, the idea of losing myself in an endless, pointless journey across the globe. Essentially getting as far away as possible from the society I feel so incompatible with. But over my life I’ve also indulged in some pretty heavy drinking at times, which I think is a form of the same thing. Drugs have never really tempted me, something I am very thankful for.
Anyway I found it a useful framework for looking at my life, as well as those of others. I think some people on the left tend to lump together everyone in a suit as the “enemy”. My experience with people in various corporate environments, however, supports Genie X’s thesis that the actual ruling class is very small, and that everyone else is just finding their way through the world in the best way they can. Finding a way to reach them through the fog of TV, shopping, computer games, porn, sports, adverts, cars, holidays, alcohol, drugs and all manner of other distractions is the hard part, though.