The Revolution Issue

People Are Waking Up

It's time to reject our culture's slide into narcissism.
People Are Waking Up
Nylon, March 2009

People are waking up. They’re saying, Not another day! This is where I mark the line.

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They’re hungry to get involved and they’re getting involved. Their desire to change the world is shifting from wishful Monday-morning thinking into tangible action. They’re beginning to see activism not as something done at nonprofit meetings and protests, but as a way of life, a personal, spiritual choice. Ultimately, it is the choice to reject our culture’s slide into narcissism. It is a view that rejects the modern consumer philosophy that true happiness comes from personal material accumulation and self-interest. It is the realization that the joy of connecting with nature blows the joy of acquiring stuff out of the water.

We are social animals; we crave connection and community; we crave a wide, encompassing identity that connects us with all of humanity – not just our friends and family, not just our city, our country, our species – but every living being on Earth: plant, animal, human.

It is a new philosophy – and perhaps a very ancient one. It leads to the most profound and meaningful kind of happiness one could possibly experience. It adopts the happiness of others as its own … and also shares in their suffering.

You can’t buy that kind of happiness at a store. You can’t get it from beating the last level of a video game. It doesn’t come out of the end of a pipe or at the bottom of a bottle. It doesn’t come from watching sports. It doesn’t come from how you dress or what kind of car you drive. It doesn’t come from getting a college degree or a fatter paycheck. It comes directly from the final and profound realization that there are no isolated islands of “self” and “other.” We are inter-woven into everything. We are all of it.

Tim Hjersted is the director and a cofounder of Films For Action.


Audio version read by George Atherton

38 comments on the article “People Are Waking Up”

Displaying 21 - 30 of 38

Page 3 of 4

Anonymous

this article reminds me a poem by the poet kabir, which i have shared below. until we have fully dissolved the ego - our link to this world - we will never really experience the oneness which this author identifies as achievable through activism. even if one were take up activism and denounce video games, as the example provided, we are not fully one because this feeds the ego's need for affirmation as 'i am important, or highly, or any number of other things we use to convince ourselves we are real and distinct. THIS will always keep us separate. this awakening will come through compassion even for the videogame players, consumers, etc. we need to reaffirm that we are all in this together, that we are all suffering in some way.

Friend, please tell me what I can do about this world
I hold to and keep spinning out!
I gave up sewn clothes and wore a robe,
but I noticed one day the cloth was well woven.
So I bought some burlap, but I still
throw it elegantly over my left shoulder.
I pulled hack back my sexual longings,
and now I discover that I'm angry a lot.
I gave up rage, and now I notice
that I am greedy all day.
I worked hard at dissolving the greed,
and now I am proud of myself.
When the mind wants to break its link with the world
it still holds on to one thing.

Kabir says: Listen my friend,
there are very few that find the path!

Anonymous

this article reminds me a poem by the poet kabir, which i have shared below. until we have fully dissolved the ego - our link to this world - we will never really experience the oneness which this author identifies as achievable through activism. even if one were take up activism and denounce video games, as the example provided, we are not fully one because this feeds the ego's need for affirmation as 'i am important, or highly, or any number of other things we use to convince ourselves we are real and distinct. THIS will always keep us separate. this awakening will come through compassion even for the videogame players, consumers, etc. we need to reaffirm that we are all in this together, that we are all suffering in some way.

Friend, please tell me what I can do about this world
I hold to and keep spinning out!
I gave up sewn clothes and wore a robe,
but I noticed one day the cloth was well woven.
So I bought some burlap, but I still
throw it elegantly over my left shoulder.
I pulled hack back my sexual longings,
and now I discover that I'm angry a lot.
I gave up rage, and now I notice
that I am greedy all day.
I worked hard at dissolving the greed,
and now I am proud of myself.
When the mind wants to break its link with the world
it still holds on to one thing.

Kabir says: Listen my friend,
there are very few that find the path!

Anonymous

This is a good article I like it.But on a sort of different topic .I am going to say that only 30 percent of the world. No more than 40 % care about the environment.I was having a conversation with my father the other day and he said.He thinks the reason why someone would want a hybrid or an electric car.Is because gasoline was 35 cents a gallon when he was 27.He said it started going up when he was 34.That is strange and insane beyond comprehension.And a real problem .I also think on a different topic that 60 percent of people 50 or older want to take the world with them into the grave.Basically in my opinion people are really crazy and mean.And there is not much besides sticking a gun in someones face that can make them stop doing it.I am almost certain gas will always be used until its gone and more roads will be built and more walmarts. It's progress. American progress.

Anonymous

This is a good article I like it.But on a sort of different topic .I am going to say that only 30 percent of the world. No more than 40 % care about the environment.I was having a conversation with my father the other day and he said.He thinks the reason why someone would want a hybrid or an electric car.Is because gasoline was 35 cents a gallon when he was 27.He said it started going up when he was 34.That is strange and insane beyond comprehension.And a real problem .I also think on a different topic that 60 percent of people 50 or older want to take the world with them into the grave.Basically in my opinion people are really crazy and mean.And there is not much besides sticking a gun in someones face that can make them stop doing it.I am almost certain gas will always be used until its gone and more roads will be built and more walmarts. It's progress. American progress.

Anonymous

Let's don't forget that the purpose of revolution is to change your mind, not that of others.

People who complain that others will never respect the environment, or others will never stop using gasoline, are missing the point - which is for YOU to respect the environment, and stop using gasoline (etc.)

Everyone is obsessed with influencing OTHERS. That's politics. Give up on politics, it doesn't work. It doesn't matter. What counts is only your action. You could say, your universe is your action.

Anonymous

Let's don't forget that the purpose of revolution is to change your mind, not that of others.

People who complain that others will never respect the environment, or others will never stop using gasoline, are missing the point - which is for YOU to respect the environment, and stop using gasoline (etc.)

Everyone is obsessed with influencing OTHERS. That's politics. Give up on politics, it doesn't work. It doesn't matter. What counts is only your action. You could say, your universe is your action.

Anonymous

What is the purpose of this article? That according to some unstated source people are finding 'true' happiness in connecting with our spiritual community of earth, nature and man? All this is very fine and pleasant, but hardly enlightening in any way. Happiness is not so specific. I find happiness in a joint, get joy out of the occasional video game, find satisfaction in dressing nice and have laughed in the truest sense of the word behind the wheel of a speeding automobile. Endorphins are not divine, happiness can be found in anything, at least for a while. There is nothing new to humanities social nature, it our nature and not a philosophy new or old. And never has there been a time when selfish motives have not been a major factor in politics, culture or anything else birthed of man. We are all isolated islands, but we can build bridges and send smoke signals. Let us not misdiagnose ourselves in order to add credibility to whatever cause we believe in. My heart is with all of you, I believe in the same goal as you, but when has waving signs and voicing your opinion ever been enough? Mr. Hjersted sings a noble melody, but this article is just more noise.

Anonymous

What is the purpose of this article? That according to some unstated source people are finding 'true' happiness in connecting with our spiritual community of earth, nature and man? All this is very fine and pleasant, but hardly enlightening in any way. Happiness is not so specific. I find happiness in a joint, get joy out of the occasional video game, find satisfaction in dressing nice and have laughed in the truest sense of the word behind the wheel of a speeding automobile. Endorphins are not divine, happiness can be found in anything, at least for a while. There is nothing new to humanities social nature, it our nature and not a philosophy new or old. And never has there been a time when selfish motives have not been a major factor in politics, culture or anything else birthed of man. We are all isolated islands, but we can build bridges and send smoke signals. Let us not misdiagnose ourselves in order to add credibility to whatever cause we believe in. My heart is with all of you, I believe in the same goal as you, but when has waving signs and voicing your opinion ever been enough? Mr. Hjersted sings a noble melody, but this article is just more noise.

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