I’m in the mood for a quote today.
“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.”
We see stupidity, and the results of it, everywhere we look, every day; in the newspapers, the shops. the courtrooms, the streets and on TV. Even when roaming the countryside it is evident. Life-giving, deciduous woodlands have been obliterated, hedges which supported hosts of advantageous living creatures have been razed to the ground, to increase the size of mono culture systems. We spray herbicides, further damaging the ecological balance and introducing toxins into our food chain.
We take a pill to fix our ill rather than keeping the oils wheeled form the start, and we don’t even realise that all we are doing is playing into the hands of the drugs companies and the processed food producers, or how connected they all are to each other. We imbibe alcohol to ensure a better evening in the company of friends and even family, because we think that none of us are fun enough without it. We take street drugs for the pleasure of the moment and let them possess us, while they eat our bodies and our minds.
We feel we are missing something, and every time we see an advertising billboard that promises a better life for a small cost we fall into the trap and pay the money, only to be disappointed when the new car or the kitchen appliance or new shoes don’t fill the hole after all. But we continue to engage in retail therapy as if it is virtue, quickly discarding each ill-advised purchase, and storing the rest. We buy lottery tickets purely to have a big win, telling ourselves that if we do we’ll give most of it to charity. Week after week, lucky winners are crushed beneath the unexpected weight of the dollar, while needy charities gain from each newly addicted gambling victim.
We churn filth into the air from huge industrial chimneys. We build nuclear power stations that slowly poison the surrounding area. We convert our planet to plastic: Clingfilm to use once and then discard, plastic toys from vending machines and MacDon’t-go-there’s to be glanced at before lying forgotten behind the sofa. Packaging, packaging, packaging.
We fly flags and say this-country-is-ours-you-can’t-have-it-‘cos-we-haven’t-got-enough-to-share, instead of caring for the whole world and making it a better place to live in. We hate and despise instead of looking within ourselves and nurturing hidden compassion. We want what our neighbour has and when we have it we want more. We want it all, and are prepared to pay for it with our souls, crushing rather than feeding. We think that the starving child in Africa doesn’t matter, because his agony is so distant and our need for a bigger TV is right here in our very hearts.
When our children go to music festivals they go in a group and close themselves away from opportunities to find new colours and shapes. We go to exotic countries to soak up the culture, but we wash it away as soon as we get home, retaining nothing more than the memory of how cheap the fake designer watches are.
Our governments dictate which land is on God’s side, and produces weapons and men to protect it. When the government changes its mind, the arms deals are already set in stone, and our men are killed by our own weapons, but it’s ok. It’s only business, and business creates jobs.
We hate and we fear and we despise. And we kill, we kill, we kill, while the wheels turn and grind their way into oblivion.
How strange that we can be clever enough to destroy this beauty, yet too stupid to see it happening.
©Jane Paterson Basil