Change and the Unstable Middle by Steve Burak.
Change and the Unstable Middle by Steve Burak.
Though they often seem not to in the smaller time-frames of moment to moment and one day to the next, our worldly parameters do not remain static : they do move, they do change. If you are located at what you perceive to be the stable middle, and you have the same amount of money coming in as normal, you are just about as well managing to cover your monthly bills and mortgage payments and you are still even managing one family holiday a year, then foreboding news of others’ increasing use of foodbanks and the changing climate can be blindly averted.
After all, there is a harsh human reality, that people often do not become concerned until it concerns them. A problem does not critically become a problem until it strikes the core,until the middle is assailed. We have to recognise a reality that for all the dire news of sweatshop buildings collapsing in Bangladesh, of floods in the Philippines and horrific breakdown in Syria, most people remain fairly passive observers, or, at least, an emotional nerve is jolted, if not two or three, and perhaps even a tear is summoned and the eyes may even well up, but then we relocate these feelings back where they previously were, in the darkled storehouse of the mind, to just carry on with our normal daily routines as per usual. We all need to face up to an unpleasant reality that this is the way most people are, this is how most of us function.
We all know that when the tables are turned, and the wave hits you in the face, it all becomes a different story : when the metaphorical or non-metaphorical waters of destruction are coming through your door and taking your safety away, then you rise up not only to passively take note but also to fundamentally change. Yet, even then it can still remain an exercise in selfish self-preservation. How many of us when it goes to the proverbial wire would save others first before really thinking of our own security? However, as a species we do really understand now that it is the group or collective good that determines our own welfare. Vying with this deeper recognition that requires thinking beyond oneself lies the immovable stasis of not wanting change : however, if you perceive yourself as relatively happy or at least bearably so, and as somewhat safe and secure, why would you really want to reach beyond yourself to rock your own boat even if the seas not so far off seemed rather choppy? In a society that has not as yet collapsed wherein functions go on as normal, somewhat fluidly for most people, the ‘status quo’ is loth to be challenged. Generally speaking it has historically been the outsider or malcontent that has pressed for change : those who have seen themselves as secure or who would rather have not threatened the remaining security they feel they still had, have tended to go with the flow even if its depths seem rather opaque and murky.
I think i am making it fairly clear by now that a mainstay of my argument is that unless there is an unforeseen cataclysmic input into the system that sort of abruptly sends wild perturbations here, there and everywhere, whilst the relatively stable middle somehow holds itself together, a rather uncreative as well as unedifying ‘status quo’ trundles on, if not like a tired jade on a tread-wheel, though this is of course no metaphor of a system being capable of sustainably taking itself much further.
In the meantime, being aware that others do not want to change, do not want to let go of luxury or the little which they perceive as their hold on security, do we change or merely stay where we are ? If we stay where we are, as passive or ungrateful observers or recipients of an order we feel takes more with one hand than it gives with the other, economic and emotional dissociation and alienation can only become more entrenched not only for ourselves but increasingly sporadically for others. We therefore must go beyond, beyond the normal myopia of the self, into an interconnectedness in which all is constantly changing, and nothing appears to remain within the enveloping confines of static torpor. By reaching out to others we discover a greater potential of who and what each of us can be, not only as physically separate individuals but as a co-operative, necessarily interconnected, ontological reality. And so, in a very simple nutshell, in the face of the self against the other, we work on creatively and lovingly turning a narrow-minded paradigm inside out so that we ourselves as the particular species we are become not only mindful and active for ourselves alone but for the welfare and happiness of everyone.