This I Believe

anthony - Santa Rosa, California
Entered on February 26, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe we live in bubbles. We invest a great deal of our time sequestering ourselves without really realizing it. We spend more time commuting in our vehicles than we would like, and when at home, tend to live vicariously through the lens of television or the Internet. We develop a reliance on others to tell us the truth so we don’t have to. We have adapted compartmentalization as a way of dealing with that which is inconvenient. Before writing this essay I had to grapple with some suggested guidlines: don’t pontificate, don’t criticize, and don’t be negative. That put a wrinkle in my page before I even got started but I forged ahead anyway. I remembered an old adage connected to photography…”before you could develop a positive snap-shot you had to begin with a negative”. That brings me to the theme of this essay: the importance to develop perspective, even while sheilded within a bubble. To me, developing perspective is a craft that may have gone the way of the Kodak film process. Now we digitally reach a resolution without benefit of ruminating in a solution. This essay is hoped to inspire new attitudes toward social disparity and is engendered out of my experience of living in a protracted homeless condition for an undisclosed amount of time. In the world’s richest nation we shouldn’t see bag-ladies pushing carts in cross-walks as we wait for the light to change. We need to think outside the bubble of our comfort zone. A certain Public Radio endowment got it right when they declared they are interested in… ” fighting the CAUSES of homelessness” This is in contrast to city council trends of “action AGAINST the homeless”. The bubble-thinking is: fines or jail-time will deter the homeless from being homeless. But it doesn’t, just as the death penalty fails to reduce homicides. And so it goes… the “bubble” of fast food, easy downloads, and city ordinances. I am concerned there is a growing public numbness to homelessness that may be problamatic. As the sting of a burning match protects against injury; so too, the homeless alert us to the threat of desensitization, the root of oppression. But choosing to pop the isolation bubble and liberate empathy might not only save a person, it could save a society. This I believe.