The System

I’m not sure what “the system” is, but I don’t like it. I think, for me, it stands for the usual way of doing things, or the way we’re supposed to be doing things. It’s buy a car, buy a house, be in debt, keep buying more, work 40 hours a week, etc. It’s the American consumerist lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that demands that the economy grows while the planet burns.

Sometimes, I feel trapped. Like, I have to get a car so that I can get a job, and I need this job to buy all sorts of things that I don’t need. As long as I do all these things, how do I stop destroying the planet and exploiting people? Our way of life is so entrenched. How could I possibly destroy the system?

I have another idea. Opt-out. Don’t destroy the system, just don’t buy into it. Literally.

The “economy” wants to grow, but it needs us to feed it. Government and corporations work together to keep getting money, but they need consumers to prop the system up. That’s why Bush told us to go shopping after 9/11. Let’s not go shopping.

Let’s not keep the “economy” buoyant. Because the economy is what’s fucking up the planet. Instead, let’s opt-out of the system and build something new. Let’s build something together that keeps us all afloat. Forget about the economy. Focus on community.

So what is one way that I could opt-out? I think I should make the decision to not buy a car. One small, radical choice. Right now it sounds crazy, but I know if I commit myself to it, then I’ll make it work. I still want to move out, but if I do this without a car, I have enough of a buffer to support myself for several months, even if I lose my job tomorrow.

I’ll opt-out of the fossil fuel extraction that has devastated the Gulf. I’ll opt-out of the carbon pollution that’s heating up the planet. I’ll opt-out of the financial system that encourages people to be in debt. Well, I won’t opt out of these completely, but it’ll be a good step in not making the planet worse.

I think maybe a good project would be to find all these people who opt-out in some tiny (or big) way and then write about them. After seeing these examples, maybe others would opt-out too.

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