I went to the ocean yesterday. I stood on the sand for the first time since I was a toddler and felt the grain against the soles of my feet. The sand made me think of people, life, history, and action–collectively. Sand is amazing. Millions of small pieces of earth that once came from one solid rock now spread out as individuals, but not individually. Sand has figured something out that humans, due to our own selfishness has yet to be capable of—community.
I know that sand isn’t living and therefore does not have free will, options, confusion, or dilemmas. However sand continually faces tribulations. With every wave that attempts to bring separation, with every imprint left by a footstep, with every moment kindled by the sun–sand perseveres, collectively. All the while people, with all our issues, decide to choose “self” over the collective and the individual over the commons good. We, in the name of capitalism, judge sand for being so committed to the other. We, in the name of stocks, bonds, investments, banks, hedge funds, off shore accounts, choose to gather wealth while those next to us suffer.
And the funny thing is, people have deceived their selves into believing that their wealth, comes “solely” from their own hard work. All the while ignoring history. All the while ignoring histories of colonization, oppression, free labor, slavery, imperialism, child labor, low wages, big business, and sweat shops. They ignore this history and treat the world as if they conquered its resources.
And I look at them and think better of the actions inanimate objects make–an example being the collective intuition of sand on the edge of an ocean shore. I think better of the sand. If only society could take notes from the nature around us, instead polluting that nature with the very same ahistorical mission.