I want to be part of a community based on participatory decision-making. This is fundamental to my values. This is a very Quaker thing. Quakers believe that there is that of God in everyone. They allow everyone a chance to speak. Decisions are made by the community, by consensus.
Yesterday evening on Marketplace, I heard the story Movement on the March. They found an expert on social movements who declared that "the movement has to find leaders, create a structure and identify villains." It seems to me that is a very establishment point of view. The establishment says things have to be a certain way. A movement is something that shows they don't have to be that way.
I want to live in a world where you don't need leaders, structure, and villains. I want to live in a world where we all work together to make this better.
This is my ideal. In practice, I know it can result in a lot of disagreement and indecision. In practice, I don't think I really like to be haggling with people all the time about how things should be. But in spite of those practical concerns, I think this ideal is my fundamental value.
This is what I want to do with my life, to be part of a community that show its respect for all its members by including them in decision-making. Every time I go to my job, I put myself into a community that violates this value. I have applied to jobs at places that are consistent with this value. They have not wanted me. So, until one of those communities wants me, I am stuck here. What can I do where I am?
You can't turn an apple into an elephant, so you may as well not die trying. I am not going to overhaul the entire culture where I work. But in my corner, I can live according to my values. I can treat the people around me with respect, and ask them for their input. When I notice people who are a positive force, I can lend my support to them. And I can get involved with others who do share my values outside of work -- the Quaker Meeting, and the Transition group.
That's the ambitious version. But there's another factor. There's the reality that I'm tired, sick, and antisocial. Sure probably a bit of that comes from the fact that the negativity of my situation drains my vitality, so it would be alleviated as I did more positive things. But it wouldn't be alleviated that much. Tired, sick and antisocial are a reality of who I am. For years, I have been coming up with ambitious plans about what I want to do with my life, but the plans ignore this reality. As a result, the plans don't get carried out. So yes, I can seek ways to live out my values. It's something to remind myself of as I go through each day. But I also have to remember what is actually realistic.