Relative Levels Of Guilt

I was just about on my knees having run down Victoria Avenue to try and catch a bus that would never come – these boots were made for walking, but never for running, as I had found on the first leg of my fruitless sprint from Camp Bling where I had been joining in the 3rd anniversary celebrations of this road protest site in the middle of an Essex town. There wasn’t much more I could do as I realised the last bus home had left just five minutes before; so I called up my wife to get the number of the nearest taxi firm, and then called up the taxi firm themselves so that I could get back home.

The fare came to £16, which was bad enough in itself, but for me the worst of it was that I could have got the bus had I left the camp ten minutes earlier. No matter that the driver of the bus on the way there had told me the wrong return time; no matter that our car is collecting more spider webs than grit in its tyres – well, that’s the matter, really: I have made such a personal crusade of the way I live that any diversion from the rightous path is a failure. So I feel guilty, when perhaps I shouldn’t.

It was reported in the news this week that the worst polluters in Britain are, not surprisingly in my eyes, those who carry out the highest level of superficial environmental acts – recycling, changing light bulbs, that sort of thing. Their guilt is safely put out with the recycling, whereas if you really believe in what you do then guilt is something you carry around with you, and let out of the bag each time you treat yourself to a takeaway pizza or, in my case, buy a loaf of bread rather than bake one myself.

That feeling is what keeps me going on a day to day basis; it’s very low level and, because I really do try and walk the talk, doesn’t come out very often. It’s all relative, though, and overall I feel pretty good about my life – as you should too, if you have really made some serious changes in the last year or two. After all, I don’t wake up in the morning, safe in the knowledge that what I do will cause the deaths of thousands of people; or the destruction of a tract of rainforest; or the edging up of the global temperature – I leave that real guilt to the politicians and CEO’s who, if life was at all fair, would feel that guilt bludgeon them round the head every time they opened their mouths or signed their next contract with death.

2 thoughts on “Relative Levels Of Guilt”

  1. What are we doing? What is to become of our children?

    Our children’s future is being mortgaged and put at risk by leaders in my not-so-great generation of elders. Is there no end to arrogance and adamant avarice of the greedy kings of wealth concentration, their bought-and-paid-for politicians, their many minions in the mass media?

    Somehow the children have got to find effective ways of communicating about threats to human wellbeing that are being perpetrated before our eyes by self-proclaimed “Masters of the Universe” among us.

    Good and able young people are not saying loudly, clearly and often enough what they know to be true……..not speaking truth to power.

    Many too many politicians are posing for the public and pandering to those with great wealth; too many investment brokers are devising economic bubbles and pyramid schemes, skimming millions for themselves……..”breaking” the financial system and threatening the real economy; and the mass media has been turning a blind eye to the entire mess.

    Such woefully inadequate leadership needs to be named, shamed and replaced.

    Perhaps young people will stand up, remain standing, and speak out loudly, clearly and often about what they see and know to be happening.

    Our children could soon be confronted with an economic and/or ecological wreckage of an unimaginable kind; but, because so many people are not reasonably, sensibly and responsibly communicating with one another now, the chances for taking the measure of certain ominously looming economic and ecological challenges and finding adequate solutions to them appear to be diminishing day by day.

    Perhaps there are at least three questions worthy of consideration by young people and their elders today.

    Is it possible that the wondrous planetary home we inhabit was given unto the stewardship of humankind simply for the purpose of allowing the greediest people on the planet to fulfill their unending wishes and insatiable desires, come what may for a good enough future for their own children, coming generations, billions of less fortunate people in the family of humanity, global biodiversity, Earth’s body and environment? Are the greedy kings of wealth concentration and power politics, who consume, possess and hoard a lion’s share of the world’s wealth, the only people who matter? Are the selfish among us, the ones who are being “bailed out” this week despite their unbridled avarice and obscene behavior, supposed to be source of our primary concern?

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001,

  2. So few stealing so much from so many……

    Not ever in the course of human history have so few people been so greedy by having taken surreptitiously and then hoarded so much wealth that rightfully belonged to so many less fortunate people.
    Clearly and evidently, the colossal global economy is an ever-expanding, artificially designed, manmade construction. For whom does the world’s human economy exist? To fulfill the wishes and insatiable desires of those with ill-gotten gains? Only to provide security for the greediest among us?

    And, of all things, for many too many leaders of my not-so-great generation of elders to extoll the virtues of their unbridled avariciousness and applaud each other by passing out ‘awards’ to each other for the triumph of their greed, all of this is plainly outrageous.

    In light of what has occurred in the both the financial system and the real economy in recent years, can someone please explain what the terms “fairness” and “equity” mean? Can anyone find examples of these phenomena in the distribution of wealth by the organizers and managers of the world’s human economy today?

    Who knows, perhaps change is in the offing.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

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