My gears are still turning after a conversation (ok, gchat, oh the digital divide, but a subject enough for another post) with this cat.
Our conversation weaved through a multitude of topics including: white privilege, the “self-made man,” being a product of our environments, ability, opportunities, affirmative action, the idea of a level playing field-and the inability to actually create one.
I am an idealist. I would prefer not to admit defeat. In my ideal world all of the children are fed, housed, and educated, and living in loving families. I had been constantly striving towards this ideal with the belief that I could make progress on it in my lifetime, and that it was achievable in generations to come. But what if the existence of our free society as we know it is dependent upon this very goal never coming to fruition?
Adam: “Because if everyone had the same opportunities how would our society function? Who would choose to serve you McDonald’s if everyone had the chance to go to college? Who is going to say I have a college degree and I’m going to be a janitor?”
“Unless we change our society and live in a commune, which people tried in the 1970s in the hippie era, and failed. Communism tried it too, Marxism failed. Democratic capitalism rules the day, and requires the ‘have-nots’ and the haves.”
That’s a sad realization to come to: that if we make the progress that everyone hopes for (that I hope for), when functioning to the highest degree, we would eventually have to raise people to be have-nots in order for our society to keep working. Which means we would essentially have to choose who deserved to be a have-not. But this ideal world is all based upon the fact that no one has to be a have-not.
Is the solution to this counting on our social service programs failing so that people will slip through the cracks, and we don’t have to force them down into them? Or, modern day example: preaching strict immigration laws and then selectively reinforcing (or not reinforcing) them to fill the positions that the American society does not want.
Adam: “Let’s say that the world was perfect, is that desirable? What would we fight for? What would we believe in?”
“And what is “perfect” is a man made construction, in many ways nature works perfectly, even though things die and suffer and starve, it works perfectly. We add the “moral” component of right and wrong, thus nature might be ideal right now, but not for us.
That’s why the two questions are:
1) is an ideal world possible?
and 2) is an ideal world desirable?”
I said: Well, I think because we’re human it’s impossible, but I guess that makes me wonder if the fight is futile and worthless then, because I don’t think it could actually occur. Ultimately, I wouldn’t want a perfect world.
Adam: “But you might want a better one. And that’s what you fight for, and you realize that it’s the fight that you enjoy, and the fight that is worth it, not the destination.”
“If everything was perfect and you were happy all the time you would be bored out of your fucking mind.”
Yes, I would.
I’m still trying to decide if this is a sad realization I’ve just come to, or an enlightening one, or both. What do y’all think?
Man it’s been a rough week: coming to the realization that I can’t save the world, and not even so much that I can’t, but just that even if I could I wouldn’t want to AND that maybe the best place for all of these efforts isn’t in the nonprofit sector…and I’m majoring in nonprofit management (and community development!), but still, I’ve got some thinking to do.