What happens when we live in contradiction to our values? When our experience of being alive in the world — the things we buy, the place we live, the work we do, the relationships we foster — is out of sync with our values?
I think we fracture. And I’ve been thinking about how ill I was in my twenties, unhappily married, with a miserable job, and a sense of purposelessness. What the fuck am I doing? What am I doing?
At the time, my grandfather told me, “Nobody’s going to pay you to stand around and read poetry.” I’ve thought about his comment frequently in the years since. Nobody is going to pay you to stand around and read poetry. And nobody is going to pay you to be ethical. Nobody is going to pay you to do the right thing. Nobody is going to pay you to raise your children thoughtfully. Nobody is going to pay you to ride your bicycle to work instead of driving your car. Years from now, people will still ask if they can borrow your novels rather than buy them. And what the fuck does any of this have to do with how you live?
Your choices about how you live need to be based entirely on your values. And so you are unwilling to do work that you believe is immoral. You are unwilling to buy products made by an exploited workforce. You are unwilling to raise a child to be herded along like a cow in a chute. You will put art over commerce. You will eat unprocessed foods. You will be kind to the earth. You will be kind. You will read books and kick the system wide open by thinking for yourself. By thinking critically. You will make and help and love.
And sometimes you may not recognize what an achievement it is to live in tune with your conscience. To have boundaries and enforce them. To live with honor in a slapdash world.
1 thought on “Cognitive dissonance seemed like fun”
I don’t even know how to describe this world we live in – I was thinking “spin culture,” but maybe that isn’t even right.
Have a true north – live by it…