Friday, January 1, 2021

#1 / Resolution


I think that the New Year's Resolution phenomenon is probably typified less by a serious commitment to action, as implied by the word "resolution," and more by an unspoken understanding that we don't actually expect to accomplish what we so eagerly resolve. Be honest, now. Isn't that what usually happens?

"I'm going to lose twenty pounds." That's what we say. That's what we tell ourselves. That may be what we tell others, too. "I'm going to the gym (as soon as the gym is open) at least twice a week." That sounds like a more or less typical resolution - almost certainly abandoned even after the gym, in fact, does open up again. 

Isn't this our most common experience? The resolution ritual is performed, the resolutions are made, written down, spoken aloud, or treasured as inner secrets. Whatever. Who really expects the person who made the resolution to achieve the full performance of the articulated goal? We don't really expect it of ourselves, and we don't really expect it of others, either. 

Instead, we tend to make jokes about it. That's about the best we can do.

Supposing that everything I just said is granted, we still do make those resolutions, don't we - and why is that?

We make those resolutions because we know, and we know this at the deepest level of our being, that real and transformative change is not only a "nice idea," it's a requirement. Moreover, we also know, deep down, that we can make transformative changes in our lives. We always have the ability to do something new and unexpected, something we have never done before. 

This has always been true, and in all areas of our lives, but in a time of human-caused global warming, the need for change has become ever more obvious. We actually know, however much we may try to insulate ourselves from the implications of this knowledge, that we must find ways fundamentally to change what we are doing, both individually and collectively. Fundamentally! And we know that if we don't make those fundamental changes, the results will be catastrophic - catastrophic for us, and for all other living things, including the myriad species of life on Earth, and for our own children, and for our grandchildren, and for human civilization. 

It's not really something to joke about, but when we consider our actual situation, that may be the best we can do. We treat our New Year's Resolutions as a joke. Mostly, we do. We let ourselves off the hook. We almost have to, because the hook on which we hang suspended is a hook that punctures us to the deepest parts of our guts and heart.

We need to change. We know that's true. And we know, with Michael Jackson, exactly where change begins. Not where it ends, but where it begins: 

If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change. 

     - Michael Jackson, Man In The Mirror 

This year would be a really good time for us to make a serious change, and to make a serious pledge, and to carry through with our resolutions. We need to resolve to make some fundamental changes - both individually and collectively. 

Let's give it a try. No joke!

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1 comment:

  1. Humans become present when they are in pain. If the pain is significant and lasting we may release our habits and change fundamentally. It took several years of the G. Depression for the populace to accept our commonality. It took over a decade of watching the body bags and body counts at dinner hour for a sufficient percent of the US populace to say, "stop".

    Only when we are at the edge of desperation will humans redeem themselves.


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