taking care of the place


Written by Cathoel Jorss,

What if the things we are most dependent on are insufficient substitutes for something else? Walking home from my first independent visit to the gym – no trainer – and feeling throughout my body how free and magnificent I felt, and noticing the autumnal leafy breezy feel of Brisbane’s deep winter and how the traffic stop-started like jazz, I saw the signs over me and around everywhere advertising the drugs I am trying to do without. Coca-Cola, takeaway coffee, chocolate and sugary fats. Seeing the slumped walk and depressive expressions of many of the world’s wealthiest people – I mean, all of us in the couch-collapsed industrialised world – and the lit contentment and adventurous joy that is so noticeable when such people visit far poorer areas, spending-money to hand, I wondered about grace and how it can be disposable. Aren’t alcohol, marijuana, anti-depressants, and heroin emotional rescuers, overlaying the pain of unhappy life, loneliness, past abuse, dissatisfaction and boredom with softer emotions, wow-wonder, contentment? Aren’t sugar and caffeine and fats just blood spikes which replace, though inaccurately, that feeling we’re all familiar with of joyous bodily movement? Within the past decade we’ve seen children strapped down and reduced to vehicles. It feels like the training regime for a lifetime of slumping on couches, travelling by road and rail, sitting in front of a screen: sitting, sitting. Glimpsed through windows the business and manufacturing life of a city reveals itself transformed from the thousand different kinds of tasks people used once to do to run a workplace to now, always someone sitting gazing out the porthole, into the wonderunderwaterland of what we call the web or the net, a tangling ocean we all seem to get stuck in. Physical exercise is a renowned antidepressant; fresh fruit and vegetables are known cancer fighters. Do we prefer the pill. Do we want to dispense with the outdoor life, random and wild and where fresh encounters happen, in order like hamsters rewarding themselves in the cage to dispense bullets of information, and intrigue, and brief entertainment, and treats: the best bits of the roasted beast (crispy, salty, fatty crinkle packets) eaten all day every day, the high points of breasting the challenging hills (chocolates, lattes, soft drinks, sugared canned foods and everything manufactured) gulpable in near-death quantities, always nearby and available twenty-four hours a day, under a dollar: life under the dollar. I’d call it the dollar-drums if I were not afraid that coining new phrases and writing about it were my own sugar high, my own adrenalin rush, my addiction to healing the pain rather than the cause.

7 comments on “hark

  1. The buddha said that suffering is due to attachment. Attachment to coca cola, latte or chocolate cake might be just as painful as any other attachment.

    Jane Alcorn July 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm
  2. Beautifully written Cathoel. And yes, our bodies are made to move, our senses made for the experience of being out and about in the world around us, endorphins freely available to us when we give ourselves and the world the gift of moving about in flow with the rhythms in and around us in the natural world

    Glenda July 20, 2014 at 1:29 am
  3. Very true, Alexandra. But a lot of the time, we’re overdosing. I’m particularly thinking of trans fats, which seem to me to function as a highly addictive drug.

    Cathoel Jorss July 19, 2014 at 9:32 pm
  4. The opened tamarillos say so much: happy faces, peace signs, lit towers, even an angel

    Alison Lambert July 27, 2014 at 10:43 am
  5. This makes sense to me, Jane.

    Cathoel Jorss April 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm

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