Friday, February 19, 2010

Resilience

On Sundays I usually work, I cook a good meal and I call home. Sundays are usually when my dad and I catch up. Living far away and having done a bit of growing up on my own terms, I realize just how alike we are. I cherish our long conversations. We talk about my studies, critical theory, politics, post-apocalyptic literature, modernist literature and everything else that catches our fancy. This past week we talked about resilience, which stemmed from a discussion of modern cultural coercion of the individual.

Resilience, in the context of modern political theory, is all about the breaking down of the bigger structure in order to create something stronger on a smaller scale. What does this mean? Essentially, self reliance. Communities coming together growing what they need, making what they need, living sans government - or at least what has become of government. It's an interesting idea. My own interests have lead me to read extensively about culture, government and business and their implicit control over the individual. The concept of resilience seems like a viable path away from all of that.

He began to tell me about a prominent theory in science that suggests that life exists on the macro and micro levels. We can think of government, empire, etc as the macro and culture/society as the mechanism that pulls us in. We are all implicated into a great scheme whether we like it or not. Everything about culture is so alluring and seductive that we can easily get lost and disregard the micro - ourselves. I really like this micro concept of living. Doing what you need/want to do independent of outside forces. I'm certainly guilty of buying into the lure of consumption. Thinking I need much more than I do. Even now, as I look around my room it amazes me how much stuff I own. Who needs it all? More that that however, is trying to locate meaning, truth and substance in our lives. Apparently, the micro is where it's at.

In a way that makes sense to me. I get a lot more enjoyment out of creating something (like my quilt) than I do buy more clothes. Knowing that the object was produced by me makes it special. It's unique. But I also feel that by pursuing all of my "odd ball" activities, I am on the path to locating more about my identity because it is done in own terms. It’s easy to lose sight of ourselves in the chaos of the world, but this year I’m trying to hone in on what is truly important – myself – and standing strong in the face of impossible outside forces.



"Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got." - Janis Joplin

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