Living consciously

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Living consciously

"We can hardly expect our institutions – which like it or not are reflections of us – to address the moral imperative of facing the crises, if we don't do it personally."

From Murray Dobbins' column: the Year of Living Consciously

I think that we need to think further about this. It is okay, well and good, to support organizations that are doing positive things about the crises we face.  But I think we need to do more.  For example, I have been thinking of getting together with the women in our community to talk about these coming challenges.  And using my money to get some things started, such as a community garden, co-op grocery buying, putting food by in the old way.  I have done these thing personally, but never with another group of people.  We need to start rebuilding community, and in this way we become less individualistic, and more compassionate.

This is a necessity, now, we have to change, we have to choose to change. I know there are many people out there who are doing this. It would be good to hear their stories.

I have just started reading the Geography of Hope, and so far, I find it very interesting.

Issues Pages: 

Never mind.


Why, zazzo? I found it very interesting and was thinking about it, but couldn't think of anything cogent to say. I already take part in a lot of collective activities - could step that up, of course. These days I don't really make enough money to give on a regular basis; I do sometimes give a bit, but not enough to change any situation.

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

Hi zazzo, I'm with lagatta - I would be interested to see more discussion on this.  I've been thinking about Murray Dobbin's piece a great deal the last day. There is lots to discuss, but one thing it has made me more aware of is that I'm asking myself why I'm buying whatever it is that I *think* I want to buy.  Like I presume most of us, I do this generally, but I found since reading the article, I've been asking myself that about each item (and I happened to go grocery shopping yesterday, so I had many opportunities to ask myself this question).

Today is also a very good day to think about annual giving and what percentage of my income I give (and I appreicate how in his article he qualifies that comment with "ability to give" - recognizing, as lagatta notes, not everyone has an income that permits that).

One issue that isn't about money, at least directly, is the loneliness of isolation. In earlier times religious institutions provided some spence of community. So did communist party weekly cell meetings and some early trade unions. Today other than AA and NA there are very few sustained weekly (or more) easily accessible socially based gatherings. . In Toronto about 30% of the population lives alone. Overall the left in this city has not been very concerned about "building community "; outside of direct political work.


Miigwech to you all for your responses.  I am sorry for such demanding, even chidlish behaviour on my part, but sometimes I feel like hitting some one over the head, figuratively speaking, and saying, listen up, something is gonna happen here, and sooner than you think.

I do talk to my family, especially my kids about this.

shartal, I agree with your comments. Here in this town,the party that is leftist does not seem to be very active in terms of building community. I used to be an active member, a few years ago, until the time, when the executive, collectively, except for me and one other, agreed to muzzle the voice of a party member who everyone knew was mentally challenged to a minor degree, but who would often publicly criticise the party. I felt it wasn't right to tell him to shut up about stuff, free speech and all that, but that was what was done.

Well, anyway, here's to  a New Year, new beginnings, and I am going to start living more consciously, more simply, and I am going to be more vocal about what is happening.  Being vocal is not my nature, but when it comes to really important issues, I guess I better be. 

Happy New Year


One could conceivably spread word around about living consciously through the singular or collective act of not voting.  A politics of refusal superimposed over a politics of submission in other words.


Zazzo, that was not childish. We have a right to be pissed off.

Slumberjack, I don't think voting in bourgeois elections is what will lead to fundamental change, but for once I was able to cast a vote for progressives here on the Québec, Federal and municipal/council levels and actually won my elections. I think that is some kind of sign.

I liked what shartal said about the lack of social and cultural life even within left organisations nowadays. I remember when the party also meant partying... I am very lonely with the relative loss of community.

I do not vote to change the world; as I don't think you change the world by voting. I vote for statutory reform like getting a drug card for people who get CPPD.

I think the loneliness comes both from the disconnect between on the ground political activism and the professionalisation of party politics. In practice it has ended up being two very different groups of people. One group are activist in a specific location who work on a wide range on political issues. Most of these people have day jobs and they see each other at demonstrations and within issue politics. However generally these people do not socialize with each other.

The second group are party, trade union and advocacy staff. These people see each other at conferences, conventions, committee meetings etc. these people see each other during daytime hours because it is part of their work. Some of them socialize at those meetings and a bit out side meetings..

Often these two groups of people do not know each other, even if they live in the same city.


lagatta wrote:
Slumberjack, I don't think voting in bourgeois elections is what will lead to fundamental change, but for once I was able to cast a vote for progressives here on the Québec, Federal and municipal/council levels and actually won my elections. I think that is some kind of sign.  I liked what shartal said about the lack of social and cultural life even within left organisations nowadays. I remember when the party also meant partying... I am very lonely with the relative loss of community.

You're lucky then.  Many people don't even have recourse to a smidgeon of progressiveness as an option.  There's a local NDP MLA, who election after election is sent back to the legislature by the constituents, due to an apparent hard working track record for delving into the labyrinth of the bureaucracy in order to address various individual concerns at the local level, mostly to do with social and community services issues.  On an individual level it's certainly something to be appreciated, because otherwise, it's often the case that the individual is left powerless and without recourse toward gaining access to the basic necessities of life.  In terms of fundamental, structural change though, it's as you say.

With respect to the lack of social life, I suspect it's the case that social/communal minded beings can find just about any old reason to celebrate, as in, the 'small victories' that are often mentioned.  But I also suspect that communal beings are also thoughtful ones, and nowadays it is as if they've become intuitive to the fact that the left, at least as they've always understood it, has flat-lined practically everywhere for all intents and purposes in the struggle against Capitalism.  Under the circumstances it does take such an extraordinary effort and constitution to continue raising glasses in its memory.


Well, we had the formidable explosion of the Québec spring, and there was a lot to celebrate there. However, it was generational, no matter how much those of us who remember the Common Front struggle 40 years earlier joined in - and we did - it couldn't be our struggle in the same way. And even for the younger generation, it is hard to sustain the struggle.

A song touching on this: This video follows the singer, a tall young man walking alone through some of the paths the Spring marchers took, perhaps imagining others taking to the streets, and some historic protests.


The population is commiting suicide fighting to the death to remain asleep (Ignorant of Truth) to continue to enjoy the daydream (cherished delusion/lie they believe is Truth and fallen in love with) they are awake. (Knowledgeable of Truth)


Like chopping down trees faster than they regrow to sustain positive existance.


You have two options.


Choose to stop before you run out of trees and then collapse into negative existance now




Continue until you run out of trees and and then be forced to collapse into negative existance later.


Now or later the logical conclusion (Truth) of the reasonable assumption (lie you believe is Truth) will be reached. 


a very good article. i personally fall very short on the anti-consumer living consciously plane of existence even though i try. my parents were and still are anti-consumer. when i was younger i would yell at them and say "why can't you be normal like everyone else".

now i look at them and marvel at the courage they had to be different non-consumers in a society gone mad with consumerism. i still don't and i know better. and i don't at the same time.

watched a you tube clip a few years back on a mayan shaman who stated the world is in a "dominator trance" and i found mr dobbins words used to describe the dream like state e1 is in an echo to her position.



 The shaman has nailed it and I think Canada's 'dominator trance' especially is a real doozy...


The storms will get worse and worse since civilization as you know it is growing weaker and weaker.


fighting to remain asleep...until the maximum potential is reached...the pole shift...from positive to negative where all that are fighting to remain asleep to enjoy the daydream they are awake are forced awake into the nightmare that they are not.


Arrival at the logical conclusion of the reasonbale assumption.


Every animal cell in your body takes more power than it gives to sustain existance...the dominator trance is global and all within the global hierarchy are taking more power than they give to sustain their existance.


The bottom supplies the top and the top the supplies the bottom...and when the bottom reaches the maximum potential to supply the demand of the top...the top can not supply the demand of the bottom.


Choose to stop eating or supplying the demand for what your mindless animal cells want and see what is dominating you.