Saturday, February 11, 2012
Let's Eat Ourselves a Little Less
Tomorrow is the Grammy's. This is kinda like the musical equivalent of the Super Bowl for me. I just found out on Facebook a few minutes ago Whitney Houston has died. A few minutes before that I finished watching the film Earthlings. A few days ago I was diagnosed with yet another major illness called fibromyalgia or FMS. It feels as though some patterns in my life are making themselves more known to me than before. If we are indeed One than what is happening to me, my body, is happening to others. Sickness, sadness, confusion regarding this big blue ball we're all on. I think we are eating ourselves. What I mean by that is that the way we treat what we consider objects, reflects ultimately how we treat ourselves. We consume and destroy or destroy to consume. By putting toxins in our fields and water or by the way we ignore the realities of how of meat gets to our plates or by the way we acquire things without really considering if truly we need them and what the actual costs are, we are consuming our own humanity, serenity, and joy in the name of more. More is our God. Whatever there is we want more of it and we want it when we want it. As an addict in recovery I know about this soul sickness quite well. Yet when I observe how we, especially Westerners, live... I see on a mass scale how very unhappy many of us are. We may say we are happy and even think so, but if that were truly the case then why do we feel a need to objectify and consume with such passion? True happiness doesn't require suffering on the part of anyone or anything else in order to come to fruition. Yet here we are, searching and fighting and dying, so our "dream" of never having to suffer again can be realized. We are making ourselves and others suffer to try to avoid suffering. We are eating ourselves so we can feel fed. We are hurting ourselves so we won't feel pain. We are dying to live. As they say "this shit is wack!"
Let's start with Whitney Houston. I was never really a major fan. I love pop music (which is why the Grammy's is my Super Bowl) but Whitney put out this song called I Have Nothing. Honestly I'm just too much of a feminist for a crappy song like that and it just kinda ruined Whitney for me. She did have a few fun songs though like I Wanna Dance with Somebody and My Love is Your Love. She had talent which I recognized but I just always felt something was off. Like I wouldn't like her if I met her in person. Which is a very shallow way to think I admit. All that being said, I felt sad for her in regard to her very public struggles. When she made her "comeback" I was not convinced she was really okay. It seemed like she was being used by the entertainment industry to rekindle her former stardom in the name of their best interests, not hers. She wasn't ready to make a comeback, at least not that kind of comeback.
Black people, especially Black entertainers, are still very much objectified. They are there to make money for already rich people who ultimately only want more money. Football players, Hip-hop artists, comedians, singers, boxers and so on may get paid a shit ton for their fame, but there is always someone or many who are making more off the Black famous, than the Black famous themselves. I call it high priced slavery. Their job is to entertain (generally white folks) by performing. Surly most of these folks are talented, but they must perform as they are told, when they are told or they will not get that golden carrot. And yes other races are chewed up and spit out by the entertainment industry, but when it happens to Black folks, the fallout from not performing any longer, for whatever reason is often disastrous. Why? Because they are objectified. An object is used & then discarded without much thought given post use. Whitney, when not able to perform as she should, self destructed. When you live in a world that doesn't offer you much except for the chance at being an object for use and eventually discarded, you have a hard time viewing yourself as much more either. This woman couldn't love herself properly and it appears no one taught her how to do just that. No wonder she wasted away before our very eyes and the only thing we got out of it, was a chance to be curious and judge. In other words we were entertained by her demise. We consumed her pain for fun. We wanted more antics, more crazy talk, more destruction from her. My guess is we'll eat the very last of her in her death and then want more from someone else.
So this really depressing ass movie I watched on YouTube called Earthlings is perhaps what stared this whole rant I'm on here, but if you can, I think it needs to be watched. For years since reading Michael Pollen's Omnivore's Dilemma I have approached meat from a more humane stance. Learning about the very real costs to our environment in the way of pollution and waste, as well as how many humans get hurt from working in meat processing plants, I mostly stopped eating meat from corporate sources. Mostly my wife and I buy organic, free range meats and animal products. We do also because we simply like the taste better as well. Some time ago though I watched the documentary Food Inc. and witnessed the killing of a chicken. It was on an organic farm run by farmers who let the chickens run free and eat a proper diet. Yet I was still bothered by the way the chicken died. I put it out of my mind because I feel it's good to support organic, cruelty free farms. And I like chicken. The chickens death was quick but it didn't necessarily look totally painless. How cruelty free can something be if at the very end of an animal's life, violence remains?
A question I have for the film Earthlings is just how current the information in it is and if some free range farms are indeed cruelty free. What I also wonder though, is if more people know what factory farming and meat processing plants really did would they stop eating from corporate meat providers? Then I think about how deep down, we all know what happens in those places, we just don't want to know we know. If we viewed animals not as objects, but as fellow travelers would we stop consuming them they way we do? We eat violence and then wonder why humans can be so cruel to each other. It starts with our food. Maybe we could call it nutritional terrorism, because we force suffering and destruction on our resources of food, and then eat the very items that we poison with toxins, chemicals, and violence. Then we feed these foods filled with suffering to those who cannot afford foods that come from more "natural" circumstances. Perhaps the bible said something about man's dominion over animals, but I don't recall it saying people should eat way too much meat and as a result create air pollution, toxic water waste, and perpetual violence in the name of God. If good Christians wanted to have their biblical cake and eat it too regarding issues like same-sex marriage, then having the process of shechita or ritual Jewish slaughter should be fought for as well. But I as found out in Earthlings, corporate kosher butchery, ain't so kosher after all. How can we make peace when we consume our own willful ignorance?
Five months ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This week I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Apparently 25% of RA patients develop FMS. I guess I got lucky. Anyway I've been thinking a lot this week about how people seem to getting sicker and sicker. Folks are not just getting one disease, but two, three , five, eight and more. It's like US American's in particular are developing multiple diseases at a time and few folks are asking or researching what the hell is going on. Some experts are starting to note that the root cause may be inflammation. Inflammation is a reaction to injury. If folks are getting sick and inflammation is the root, then how are we becoming injured? How would an outside source injure us internally? Is it possible that there is something in what we consume what is injuring us? Is it possible there is something in the way we consume that is injuring us? All my life, deep down I've known it's best to eat small quantities of meat, dairy, sugar, and processed foods. Now thanks to my multiple diseases, I have to. This is a wake up call of the first order.
It took me about three decades to stop being afraid. Afraid to be myself, to live in a way that was healing and congruous to my heart and soul. My childhood was spent in a type of isolated war-zone. In my teen years I wanted to die. During my early twenties I fought my way out of self hate due to being a triple minority in a world that denies percentages of humanity based on social constructs. Finally now in my thirties I know myself, like myself, am sober, confident, and generally fine with being on this planet. So why am I sick to the point of disability? There is a reason for this and I feel that it is no accident that I feel the way I do in this moment. I am no longer an object to be consumed and discarded. When folks ask me from now on "what do you do?" I'll say "search for ways to be more loving to myself, others, and the planet." To me that is the most important work. We can look at what we consume and how we let ourselves be consumed and why we do it. We can ask just what more really does for us in the end. One moment at a time we can eat ourselves a little less.