Can you recall the John Lennon song Imagine? This song was written 40 years ago, and in 2004 Rolling Stone ranked Imagine at number three in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It’s a song that touches our hearts. So maybe it’s time we stop imagining!
I wonder if people in developed countries give billions of dollars per year to charity out of guilt for the way they live or out of sympathy and a feeling of helplessness.
How do you feel when you see the news of famine in Africa? Do you question why there is war? Do you think that you play a part in what goes on in the world and that you have a responsibility to help others (a brotherhood of man)?
If you knew some of what was going on behind the scenes would you find it difficult to ignore?
We live in a society now where we fill up the car with no thought as to where the fuel comes from and the effect it is having on people and the environment. We access the internet with no thought about the servers that need to be built to provide us with this high-speed access. We live in a society where we don’t ask questions anymore, and it is important that we start. We are ‘thinking’ beings and we must put this ability we have to better use so that we can start to care for nature and for ourselves.
I became a vegetarian when I was 25. I went to Africa for a holiday – a wildlife safari for one month – and I saw for the first time what happens to animals before the meat hits the market… or my plate. I know that may seem ignorant of me but I was not aware until then that in Australia some producers inject hormones into animals for mass production of meat. I was not aware the chicken flesh is bleached so that it looks more appealing to buy. I was not aware that chickens were caged or the way in which pigs and lambs are transported before they are slaughtered.
This is the hidden stuff. The stuff many business owners would prefer we didn’t know. Because how would they make money? How would this affect the economy?
But what does economy matter when you don’t have your health? Or if you are not able to enjoy life because all you do is work to make money?
It is question time! Time for change. Time to question the ‘real’ cost. Let’s start to ask: ‘How do these data get to my phone? How is this food in the can made – and what from? Where does this oil come from? If I am getting this at a low cost, who is it costing? Why do I do what I do to earn money?’ Imagine all the people living for today.
There are hundreds of companies out there who are trying to make change for the better. Fair trade, sustainability, organic farming, etc. Nothing to kill or die for. But we also need to address our need for such abundance. No need for greed or hunger. The car each. Mobile phone each. Laptop each. Meat daily – if not twice. All at the lowest monetary cost possible. No wonder there is talk that the world is not sustainable.
But can people change? Can we be without these things?
People have become dependent on so many things. We have been led down a path on which we must all have cars, phones and technology to be a part of society. This was no mistake. The people who own these companies deliberately have us rely on such things. Because they want money. Maybe so that they can have more stuff.
So I ask, do ‘things’ make you happy? Has any of your material things made you happy?
I question if happiness is in things. In the bigger house, the nicer car, the new boat, the newest iPhone or the next plasma. Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can.
Possibly the search for happiness is at the cost of your health, the environment, and at the cost of others.
Money is necessary so that we can afford good food, good education, and a good lifestyle. But are we living beyond our means? Can we be happy with less?
It’s time to look at our conditioning. To be aware of our thoughts and needs and why we have them. How we live is a choice and it is possible to change now.
If you want change, it is within your control. You do have the power. You just have to re-learn. Be aware. Ask questions. Question yourself and others.
You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.
Elise Kuszlaba, Byron Bay