Sunday, August 22, 2010

Out of Sight; Out of Mind

This country’s wealth was built upon the blood of slaves. Working long hours in the cotton fields, Africans were often beaten and completely objectified to make their “masters” rich. The Civil War may have ended this overt form of slavery, but it has continued through present day. The large corporations that presently run this nation have outsourced their labor to other countries. Men, women, and children are, in some instances, being beaten, raped, sold, underpaid or not paid at all, and living in filthy conditions to produce clothes for these companies. Since these workers are “out of sight; out of mind" to the American public, we continue to spend our dollars on clothes manufactured under these horrific conditions. From an ethical perspective, are slave labor practices in the clothing industry worth a high-fashion society?

“Child workers, some as young as 10, have been found working in a textile factory in conditions close to slavery to produce clothes that appear destined for Gap Kids, one of the most successful arms of the high street giant”. This is just one example of Indian children making clothes destined for American stores. Many companies including Nike, Old Navy, Wal-Mart, Target, J. Crew, and Abercrombie and Fitch outsource their labor and use a “no-tell” policy. Even in this age of information availability, statistics and company names are so hard to come by that many corporations are allotted complete anonymity. Child labor statistics alone are overwhelming. It is estimated that there are over 70 million child workers between Asia, Africa, and Latin America today.

The arguments for these practices are weak at best. Some conclude that workers in third world countries need these jobs in order to survive. Some families depend on their children for monetary needs and if we eliminate child labor, they claim, we end their livelihoods. In reality, they are getting paid unfit wages, if any at all: around 17 cents per day in some cases. Is this really a livelihood? Can this really feed an entire family? Gap sells shirts for $40 or more a piece while people are working 18-hour days in sweat shops to make them. Where is the balance? Where is the human dignity?

Is it worth human suffering and degradation for a high-fashion society? Absolutely not! Why do we, as consumers, allow these practices to continue unquestioned? Where is our morality? It is everywhere in current society, but so often hidden. How do we address this issue? How do we create lasting change? What do we value more: human flourishing or money?

“It’s unavoidable: so long as we value money more highly than living beings and more highly than relationships, we will continue to see living beings as resources, and convert them to cash; objectifying, killing, extirpating” -Derrick Jensen

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Personal

To die or not to die...that is the question.

I am at a "jumping-off spot"(pun intended) of sorts in my life and I am overwhelmed. I do not know what path to choose.

This has nothing to do with the state of the world, but I have to rant. It has been a hard year (well, really 3 years) for me and I cannot handle my current path any longer. I have experienced some hits recently...my heart being broken (cliche, but true), failing in school, rough circumstances with both of my parents, my one friend here leaving town, and my financial aid being revoked for the fall semester. I am back at square one and don't know how to get to square two!

Should I beg and plead to get my financial aid? Should I take off out west and become a wwoofer (farmer)? Or should I finally give in to my fate and become a coke addicted stripper with three boyfriends??? Seriously folks (if there are any folks out there), I'm completely lost.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fading Flame

The stars and the sun will one day fade.
Embrace this loss.
Dance under the moonlight.
Swim in the waves of the magnificent ocean.
Kiss the soft lips of your lover.

The Earth and each species will perish.
Laugh at the pain.
Gaze into your child’s eyes.
Climb the highest peak and shout your name in the wind.
Jump in the center of the flame.

Flourish in this moment…before it is too late.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Call It Education

Where is the sensuous within our education systems? Students today might as well be heads, detached from the body, floating from class to class! Where is the mind/ body connection in Western schools? How can we find a balance?

Throughout evolution, we have used our senses and intuition to guide us. We have learned through action- trial and error- and grown accordingly. This process seems to have disappeared in our current, technology-crazed society. We are so focused on mental intelligence that we all too easily abandon the senses. Then we turn to drugs and alcohol to turn off our minds and finally feel our bodies. There is a major disconnect.

I tend to absorb and retain knowledge best when acquired through the senses. While in school, however, I tend to be so "in my head" that my body needs to come close to a panic attack to remind me of its existence! I come home and read, think, read, write...and grow ever more anxious. I have to figure out a way to integrate my senses into my current learning experience or I will lose my shit.

Any suggestions?