Every Day in the Present!
For weeks – now even for months – every Friday people go on the streets to protest against the destruction of the planet we’re living on.
This destruction appears in a thousand ways and ever more blatant. We experience it more and more often not only through the outpouring of the media, but also in our own lives. Also when perhaps many of us didn’t experience one of the environmental disasters that increased as a consequence of climate change, we are seeing extreme weather more clearly for example. And we’re feeling the effects more strongly that living in this world has on our bodies and minds – in a world that is increasingly grey, suffocating, hectic, calculated. A world that is determined through technology, by “practical constraints” and through other persons. Life in the city where the air is so polluted that breathing becomes hard and where its ocean of concrete and its never ending noise tortures our senses, is only one of the daily examples for lots of us.
These aren’t first and foremost problems and conditions of the future, but already of the present.
And indeed, there I see one of the problems with the content of the FridaysForFuture marches; when the attention is mainly directed to the future, how shitty everything is already is easily camouflaged.
They talk to us about the future to make us accept a miserable present; parents and teachers (“Get your diploma so you can find a good job”), employers (“retirement pension”), politicians (“climate targets for 20XX”), priests (“paradise after death”) and scientists (“the bright future that is bestowed upon us through intelligent, nano and biotechnology”).
A present in which we spent days in boring classrooms, in which we obey and leave experiences unmade, in which our lives are so tedious and our friendships so superficial that even smartphones seem more exciting, in which our planet gets destroyed more every day, in which every day animal species go extinct, people starve, are forced to flee, die in wars, get locked up... and in which the places where we live are already hostile to life and get each day more hostile, which we only endure while we’re already deadened or escape into artificial, technological worlds of illusions (social media, television, Netflix, Virtual Reality, video games etc.).
What is robbed from us by politics and science – and to whom the FridaysForFuture marches direct their demands – is first of all a self-determined life here and now. In this world which they defend and represent, there can hardly be a question of taking our lives in our own hands.
When one focuses their attention on the future, one maybe can hope that politics will change something, that the economy will change something, that scientific progress will change something... But then when we look at the present, we lose any trust in them. Because it becomes clear to us (or should become clear to us) how unbearable everything is; what they are right now doing with the world and our lives! And that to put hope in them is pointless. Politics, economy and science - which are mainly about the exercise of power and the accumulation of money – will, in the future as today, when necessary, go over the corpses of animals, humans and planets (also maybe in more sophisticated and better camouflaged ways...).
Isn’t it then already time to consider the possibilities of how to resist the devastation that rages over our earth and inside ourselves? And that in doing so we don’t make ourselves depend on the insight and will of those who even in this devastation see a financial, political or strategical benefit?
Possibilities in which we don’t direct ourselves to those who in the present make sure that everything is what it is and instead take this change into our own hands, if we want change in the future?
Not only skipping classes! Let’s also skip the future and present which others prescribe for us and let’s find own paths to shape our lives and a world worth living for.