Who We Might Have Been

Yesterday, Steve Pressfield wrote an extraordinary post about how we are both the selves of our everyday lives, and the selves we could be if only we could realize them — and how what stands between the two is Resistance.

The framing might be a little dualistic, but the insights and the questions are real.

Why is everyone so freaked out and ticked off? Probably because the systems we have aren’t working, we all know it, and we can’t seem to look at our failures or dream up better ways.

Playing by the rules in the United States today means working like crazy to “win” at the Common App roulette; in order to start life an average of about $33,000 in debt; only to graduate into the world of the $34,000 wedding, an inaccessible housing market, and the wealthcare system.

And that’s if you’re privileged enough to be able to enter that race to begin with, which an awful lot of people are not.

That’s not winning, and we all know it.

So where can we go from here? Assuming we can hang together long enough to begin to turn things around, I’m reminded of the old Zen parable in which a series of “happy” and “unhappy” events befall a farmer, and he responds to each of them by saying merely, “we’ll see.”

There’s a chance — not a certainty, by any means, but a chance nonetheless — that we begin to turn. That we recognize ecological suicide for what it is. That we re-subordinate the economy to the culture. That we demand and practice a politics rooted in the idea that we’re all in this together and for the long haul.

There’ll be plenty of Resistance along that road, that’s for sure. But we could do it, right?

We’ll see.