"If you expect an answer to your question during your lifetime, you're not asking a big enough question." —I.F. Stone
The 1% is killing the planet partly because these elite players have chosen to look no further into the future than the next fiscal quarter. Meanwhile, our spectacle culture exists to train and condition the 99% to maintain an equally narrow and lethal perspective.
Take sports, for example. Every game — every play, we're told — is do-or-die and seems to carry deep meaning. A baseball player strikes out and it's time to trade him because he's clearly lost bat speed. That same player gets a game-winning hit the next day and yeah, he's Mr. Clutch.
The same concept applies widely — as in movies (and their "stars") judged almost exclusively on an opening weekend sales number or presidential candidates going from "favorite" to "has-been" in the time it takes for New Hampshire to hold a primary.
All this social programming adds up to a distracted and impatient general population often unable to distinguish between a genuinely meaningful moment and a cynically manufactured diversion.
"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." —Mark Twain
As with sports, politics, and other media spectacles, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is often viewed within a self-imposed vacuum. The movement is declared dead (or reborn) four or five times a day — even by longtime members.
This usually results in at least one Occupier per week using Facebook and/or Twitter to announce that after much agonizing soul searching, s/he is tearfully/angrily "leaving" OWS. (The average length of such a hiatus? I'd say two days.)
Mic Check: If you organize an event and only a handful of Occupiers show up or if a fellow Occupier exhibits what you perceive as rude behavior towards you, this incident doesn't automatically signify that the movement is dead and buried.
I realize that many Occupiers had very little activist experience prior to Sept. 17, 2011, but c'mon, surely you can recognize that not every OWS episode or anecdote carries profound and significant meaning.
"All we need is just a little patience…" —Axl
Please allow me to introduce some more perspective:
Personal reality: Life flows in unpredictable waves and control is an illusion. Your favorite movie might bomb at the box office, your sports hero may drop the winning touchdown pass, or your long-planned Occupy event may go virtually ignored.
Suggestion: Try adding these two words to such statements: "this time."
Global reality: It's gonna take a wee bit more than 11 months to eradicate a few millennia worth of patriarchy, sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, speciesism, etc.
Suggestion: De-Occupy the myopic conditioning of the 1%.
Let's practice just a little patience when interacting within the movement and with our allies. Conversely, let's fully reject patience when we discover the frightening truth about modern culture — the truth obscured by the corporate media.
As I said above, not every OWS episode or anecdote is a profound and significant statement. But all around us, we are confronted with myriad profound and significant statements… all of which we are relentlessly programmed to deny.
Every time a forest is clear cut, it is profound and significant.
Every time, a young black man is stopped and frisked, it is profound and significant. Every time yet another species (150-200 each day) goes extinct, it is profound and significant.
Every child born into poverty, every woman made to fear walking down a dark street, every calf packed into a veal crate, every predator drone launched in our name: all profound and significant moments.
Mic Check: When a beautiful Capuchin monkey named Bucky is held captive by a vivisector named Raymond J. Bergeron since 1999, it is a profound and significant barometer of how utterly debased our culture truly is… and precisely where we can channel our anger and impatience.
"Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does." —Margaret Atwood
So, let's be kind to our comrades yet unyielding towards our oppressors — but if you need a little break from OWS, by all means, take a damn break. Standing up to the status quo on a daily basis is both mentally and physically draining and hence requires some balance in your life.
But please… spare us the melodramatic public announcement. Save all that rage, passion, and impatience for the escalating battles that lie ahead. Take your break, heal yourself, and come back stronger. We'll be waiting patiently for your return…
As another guy named Mickey sez: "Ya stay until the job's done."
This article was originally published by World News Trust.