I remember towards the end of childhood becoming conscious of just how much suffering there is in the world, how much wrong, and how little I could do about it. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, but when I tried to speak, I found my peers resentful, discouraging. Apparently, I was being silly. I never quite learned how to close my eyes and turn away.
There was a period in my life when I did become numb to a lot of things. There is only so much emotion a body can sustain. I think many people assume depression is a form of sadness, but it can go beyond that. Depression can be the exhaustion of spirit, the loss of energy, the going numb that comes from too much grief. Recovering from the ravages of this has meant starting to feel again, feeling too much and too keenly all that is wrong out there. This morning on the news, ten million underfed people In Yemen. If I spent all day, every day, using every resource at my disposal to fight the bad stuff, I’d barely make a scratch in the surface. That can make it tempting to put head in sand, and try to pretend it isn’t my problem.
The sheer weight of available misery and wrong will cripple anyone who tries to go up against it. Just trying timing hunger by the unthinkable number of ten million for a small taster. And that’s just one country, and you won’t be able to imagine even that. Dragging everyone down into grief and powerlessness is not going to fix anything though.
Tom and I did a lot of talking and thinking over the weekend, and came up with a thing, which I am posting below. It is a dedication to improving things, however you do it, wherever you do it, and (we hope) a way of connecting with likeminded souls and finding shared strength to keep banging away at this stuff no matter how crushing the scale of difficulty may seem. Even the smallest gesture to the good is worth something.
We are sick to death of bullshit, mediocrity and the omnipresent influence of market forces.
What we crave, and are dedicated to, is The Good Stuff that comes from the heart. The Good Stuff is made from love, with soul, it inspires, empowers, makes better. The Good Stuff can make us laugh, free us to cry, get us dancing, weaving, doing. It changes people and enriches life. The Good Stuff is not the exclusive property of any company, religion, philosophy or political party. Identifying as being part of the Copperage, is all about living well and leaving the world better than we found it. This is an assertion for dreamers and idealists, and for people who have had the hope kicked out of them, and the naivety stripped from them, and are willing to have another go anyway.
*We believe that power and resources should be widely distributed, not held by a tiny minority. Enlightened self interest is good.
*We are driven by passion, ideals and beliefs to do things we see as inherently worthwhile, and we do these things because we must.
*We will support, nurture, encourage, praise and otherwise promote The Good Stuff, wherever and whenever we can.
*We consider compassion, humanity and sustainability to be more important than acquiring material wealth far in excess of personal need.
*We celebrate creativity. We do not celebrate banality and conformity. We do not want to be told what to like, how to feel, or what to think. Excepting cases of bullshit, our inclinations are towards tolerance. If
no one is being hurt by an activity, people should be free to get on with it. We recognise ‘soul destroying’ as a very significant manifestation of ‘hurt’.
If you know yourself to be part of The Good Stuff, sign up, copy this declaration and put it somewhere. Make good stuff happen, and look out for others who are doing this too. Signing up means not only are you living this, but that you are willing to help others who are doing it, where you can.
Welcome to the copperage.