Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:08 pm Post subject: A Very Questionable Reality
A Very Questionable Reality
“Stop dreaming and live in the real world!”
How many times have I heard these words? You let your imagination dream beyond the environment that surrounds you and you get knocked down. Usually by someone whose existence in this ‘real world’ seems to be inspired by nothing more than the addition of a few extra points to their CV, and maybe a couple of extra thousand pounds to their salary. My usual response to this is quite simply, “No, this isn’t the real world”. To me this real world has been lost to a powerful media, growing ever stronger through the manipulation of hyper-real images showing us how we could be, how we could feel and how we could act. I began to question the existence of this ‘real world’ long before I came to university yet never really came to grips with exactly what I was thinking. In the process of numbing these thoughts I lost a few brain cells sticking to a strict diet of recreational narcotics (or maybe I was just having fun. Once you start to see things differently it becomes a lot harder to know the reasons behind your past actions). Moving to the present, and three years into a Cultural Studies degree I find it impossible to watch even the most harmless of news reports without deconstructing the foundations and values on which it is based. The ‘real world’ we are shown seems to be mediated through a language that has moved far away from what it means to be human. Just yesterday morning the chirpy face of a young, enthusiastic news presenter greeted me as I flicked on my regular dose of morning news. The next ten minutes were dedicated to the fantastic news that December’s retail figures were up by 2.8% compared to the previous year. ‘What a f**k relief!’ We can all sit back, content with the fact that this Christmas we consumed even more worthless commodities, that soulless chain stores increased their profit margins just that little bit further, that our economy took a sizable boost, that our earths environment took a bit more of a pounding and that the sweat shops in the third world that fuel our ever cheaper prices were worked that little bit harder. After all if a country has a good economy then we are progressing. Progressing as a successful species on this planet! I mean it goes without question that if there is one lesson to be learnt from the wisdom of thousands of years of humanity, it’s that buying more worthless crap makes you happy! What the f**k are we progressing towards and why the f**k are we all being complicit with the whole situation? We have the potential to live the magic in all of our imaginations if only we had the courage to really start living for what matters.
The closest thing to the ‘real world’ that I’ve come across so far in my life were the few magical days that I spent at The Big Green Gathering festival: a place where human creativity is displayed in every colour of the rainbow. Where you can walk with your head in the air meeting every stranger with eyes that can’t help but smile, and they smile back. And you realise that your not strangers at all. Music fills the air, your imagination falls short of the colours and sounds you experience round every corner. You feel that you’ve really come home. I remember thinking that for me this was what the world should be looking towards as the pinnacle of human evolution; lying on a strangers lap drinking tea with not a desire in the world. I’ve tried to keep the magic The Big Green Gathering gifted me with and live it in everyday life. Random, spontaneous jams in Tesco Express certainly liven up an otherwise soulless place. Singing and smiling in the street. Stopping and sharing a hug and a sandwich with a young homeless guy. There are lots of little steps we can take and there is one thing that we can all be certain of. We’ll never lie on our death beds and regret not having earned more, consumed more or been that bit more sensible.