Proact NOT Prozac

It’s easy to get depressed these days. Constantly bombarded with war, consumer crap and traffic, optimism can be elusive. But since the Kali Yuga (Age of Quarrel in Hindi Mythology) is slated to last up to 427,000 more years, we are forced to develop coping methods. So while the mainstream pops Prozac, I suggests getting a little more creative.

Consider so many campaigns. Campaigns to stop the logging of our last old growth trees. Campaigns to dismantle the Prison Industrial Complex. Campaigns to shut down world summit meetings. Campaigns to stop sweatshops, trash animal testing and end U.S. military occupation of distant lands. Noble causes, all of them worthy of a lot of attention. The public has a right to be outraged, and we need to organize to generate as much awareness as possible.

But it can seem like a losing battle. Watching the last redwood forests be clearcut is demoralizing at best. Poverty continues unabated, and it seems like people are more indifferent than ever. Its enough to make a person very depressed.

But before giving up hope, try proacting. Rather than complaining about the state of the world and forever reacting to the steady stream of bullshit that faces us, practice visualizing a better world, and focus on that. The strategy of the boycott needs to evolve. People need real alternatives where they can go for sustainably harvested lumber. They need to see that they can boycott foreign oil and enjoy alternative transportation options. Finding these alternatives is not always easy. We need to build local community enterprises and support them as much as possible.

On a personal level, activists need to make friends and snuggle with them. Touch isn’t just for lovers, its a basic human need. Practice massage and share it as much as possible. Remember that what goes around comes around. Laugh, sing, play, dance! Take a roving bicycle ride in the street with friends. Luxuriate in a yoga practice. Whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about spending time and/or money doing something that makes you happy. Remember that healing the planet starts with healing ourselves.

Be a pirate, or a writer, or whatever it is that you’ve always dreamed of being. As we lighten up and start to see the humorous side of all the doom and destruction, we attract other people to our causes. Thus the movement ultimately becomes more popular, accessible, and effective. And meanwhile, we’re having fun. What could be better?