Friday, November 12, 2004

The Revolution of Everyday Life

by AJ/Skald

One of my favorite book titles is: "The Revolution of Everyday Life". I haven't gotten around to reading the book yet, but its a fantastic title that more or less sums up my political philosophy. Since politics is in the air right now, its a good time to reflect on this.

Let's face it, the revolution of everyday life is the only meaningful revolution. While theoretical legislative issues may interest us, it is our everyday lives which really matter. That's where the transformations have to come. If legislative politics does not impact THAT- what's the point?

The truth is, political power comes from personal power. What gave Ghandi, for example, his political power? Mostly it was the incredible personal revolution he undertook before confronting the British. He transformed his life and strove to make it conform in every detail to his highest ideals. This man had more than ideas, he had profound integrity. People sense that and they follow it.

It is not coincidence that Gandhi's autobiography has more passages on his dietary and clothing experiments than on his political tactics. Gandhi knew that the real battle is fought in our everyday lives: in the food choices we make, in how we shelter ourselves, in how we clothe ourselves, in how we make an income, in how we transport ourselves, in the decisions we make day to day, in how closely we live to our highest principles. He knew he could not be a leader of a non-violent movement while practicing violence in his daily life (by promoting the killing of animals, by exploiting poor people, etc.). Gandhi's political efforts were an outgrowth of his own personal revolution of everyday life.

Thoreau had exactly the same thing to say. But today folks are lazy and try to do things backwards. They think that if they could just pass the right laws, or get the right guy in office, they would then find it easy to transform their everyday lives.

Its never easy.

Can millionaire capitalists lead a powerful movement for economic justice? Can SUV driving, McMansion dwelling, corporate employees be powerful foot soldiers in such a movement? Mainstream Democrats apparently think so-- but they are kidding themselves.

The first battle, the real battle, the perennial battle, is always with oneself. Free yourself first... only then is it possible to help others.

The questions that we confront on this website are the most important and profound:
Who am I?
How should I shelter and clothe myself?
How can I free myself from wage slavery now?
How can I free my mind from conditioned slavery?
What is the most principled means of eating?
How can I find principled (or at least non-violent, non-oppressive) sources of income?
How can I be free, happy, ecstatic, playful, and connected NOW?

The most basic and personal questions tend to be the most important.

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