Now imagine this too:
“A group of people live under the earth in a cavelike dwelling. … The people have been trapped in this cave since childhood, shackled by the legs and the neck.. Thus, there is only one thing they can look at. [They watch straight ahead as a fire casts shadows on the wall.] And these shadows, the flickering images of puppets on the wall, are the only reality they know.”
… from Plato’s “The Republic”, 375 BC.
“Their power of illusion is so great, we can’t be sure of anything we do, or anything we see.”
… from Star Trek “The Menagarie”, 1966.
“The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. A prison for your mind.”
… from “The Matrix”, 1999.
The Opiate of the Masses
From the words of the ancient masters, all the way up to modern-day poets and screen writers, the same themes echo up to us from so many different directions.
There are so many things in this world that can distract us from the consequences of our actions. Keep us feeding this carbon-burning machine!
See,- the thing about us ‘responsible adults’ (as we like to call ourselves),- is that when we are in our ‘survival mode’,- that’s when we are most vulnerable to these kinds of things.
What am I talking about?
I mean that we are figuring out how to keep life moving forward from one day to the next. Making our mortgage or rent payment, and our health insurance payment. Finding something extra to put into our retirement account. And hoping to have a little something left over to pass along to our kids when they’re all grown-up.
While we are doing these things, we need to have something in our mind to help us believe we are on the right side,- something to help us believe we are doing the right thing for the greater world as a whole!
This is a thought that keeps us comfortable.
And this, my friends, is the need that recycling serves!
This is what it feeds.
It’s not about us though, or our children. It’s about our grandchildren.
The truth is that new production of plastic far exceeds the impact of recycling. There is no magic wand that saves the garbage we throw in recycling bins.
It is an illusion!
As you move on to this next step in your life, what I am asking you to do, is consider embracing the first, truly real, critical step in becoming an environmental activist. Embrace the essence of your being,- the essence of who you are and your impact on the world, and become a conscientious consumer.
It is the primary form of activism that we can each, individually undertake. Once you do that, once you accept change into yourself, you can begin to make change in the world around you,..
It is where you give the most of yourself, and your time. Your hard-earned money!
Carry within yourself the recognition and belief that everything you buy, from your coffee in the morning, to your food in the afternoon, to the automobile that you drive to school or work, has an impact on this world!
I want you to know and recognize that you have an amazing energy passing through you! And you can use this energy to make this world a better place. By connecting your personal purchases with their past, as well as to their future consequences. In this way, you are doing something more!
This is the vote that counts the most,- more than anything!
Every dollar you spend on an environmentally friendly product helps spawn and grow that industry!
Now don’t get me wrong,- I believe that we should all keep recycling!
But what I’m asking is that, every time you drop an item in that recycling bin, I’m asking you to let that act, in the very essence of that moment, be a reminder that recycling is only a small first step! Just a drop in the bucket!
Your purchasing power is the sacrifice that you make, and the vote that you cast, every single day, and every single moment of your life!
The money that you spend has the power to bring life or death to the animals, planet, and people of this world. It is your energy, and your connection to the past, present, and future. And as this energy flows through you, it shapes and creates the world around you.
Your life is interconnected with this world!
As you move forward with your life, this is an important way that you can make a difference!
And the time is now.
Because we are out of time.
We need you now, more than ever.
We need a generation of awakened, wise youth, who can turn their eyes away from the shadows on the wall, smash thru the glass walls of the menagerie, disconnect from the matrix, and walk out into the sunlight. And most of all, cast your eyes up from the concerns in the path right at your feet, to connect with a more distant future.
Every time you invest your money, or your time and efforts, in an environmentally friendly product that’s expensive today, you help make it cheaper for the next generation. You grow that industry.
Conscientious consumerism is not dead. The hope that springs from it starts with you. The things that you pay for, pay for an energy that you create, that you feed, and a future that you have the power to give life to…
What do you think?
Do you believe that your own, individual life can make a difference?
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.”
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
An Open Letter to the Graduating
Class of 2021
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