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Victim or Culprit? Life in the Matrix.

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

I found an old vest I covered in patches and painted on the back, “Victim or Culprit?” It’s something I think about sometimes, “Are we a victim of society or a culprit for perpetuating the system?”

When I lived in New York City, the closest grocery store to my apartment was Whole Foods. Whole Foods is corporation that’s not very sustainable. To the consumer, it’s pretty awesome that they have fruits and vegetables from all over the world so nothing is ever out of season. However, it’s not so cool all the energy used to transport the goods. Was I a mere victim of the corporation for having to buy my food there or was I a culprit that was continuing the system?

I try not to support sweatshops and slave labor but sometimes it’s unavoidable in this Matrix. I’d say about 75% of my clothing is from the United States and European Countries. The remaining 25% is from questionable origins. I try really hard to be ethical with everything I consume but sometimes things slip through the cracks. Am I a victim or a culprit?

Choice is a very limited commodity. Sometimes the choice is left up to the lesser of two evils. For example, I am an anarchist but I helped the Obama campaign because I didn’t want McCain to win. I don’t believe in the corrupt political system we have, however, just because I don’t believe in it isn’t going to make it go away or stop affecting my life. If things are going to change, it is going to because people work for it. Apathy is never the solution. But, it’s really hard when given two choices with almost the same agenda.

I usually go for independent and handmade over mass produced and corporate. People who are living on very tight budgets don’t really have the luxury of making that choice. They need to go with what’s available. I watched the movie Food, Inc. and the movie followed a family on a tight budget. When only having a dollar to spend to feed their hungry kid, it’s easiest to go to a fast food chain and get the dollar menu items to satisfy their hunger. Fruits and vegetables are more expensive than meat because of how the government subsidizes the food supply. The family out of need would go with the unhealthier options because it’s cheaper because money is the deciding factor. Are they a victim because of financial restrictions? Or are they the culprit for supporting the system?

Nothing is really black and white. There is a system of control that built up making the world how it is now. There’s so many systems within systems within systems that it’s mind boggling. With the structure of society that we have, living a hunting and gathering lifestyle just isn’t an option in the modern American city as even the trees aren’t from the city. They are planned and developed. With the absence of nature and being born into this system to begin with, from birth to death we aren’t given a choice as to the way we should live. Are we victims in the Matrix or the culprit who makes it?

Bring on the comments

  1. Pythos says:

    We are indeed caught in a matrix. You are a culprit when you willingly go to a place (like Walmart) that you know has sweatshop, or such stuff. You are a victim if you are told the stuff you are getting is legit, and it turns out to not be.

    A lot of my clothing is from thrift stores, most are from Germany, or America, with one from Japan, and one from China. That is my “fun” clothing. My jeans, and slacks, and polo shirts? China, Portugal, Guatemala.
    I will not buy leggings from Dolphin any more due to the fact I saw them emblazoned with a badge, “made with pride in Honduras” No thank you, especially when I got my first pair from dolphin with a tag with a similar tag just with “USA” on it.

    In short we are both the victim and culprit. What really stinks is our current culture feeds this fact.

  2. Great post, and apt comment from Pythos. Whilst we can certainly consider ourselves “victims” having been born into this system, if we wish to see change we must focus on the simple fact that it is our continued support that sustains it. Every act that supports the system is an act of culpability / complicity. Much of our suffering (esp. that which we cannot quite seem to identify) is because all our countless acts of complicity … indeed our very life… is contradictory to our Reason. And above all, our Conscience.

    I would describe myself as a “peaceful anarchist”. History shows that “government” only exists to serve itself and its many hangers-on. And it only exists at all because we the people continue to sustain it. Without our support .. moral, philosophical, physical (ie, serving in it’s standing armies), and financial, government is obsolete.

    One day mankind will transcend the false notion of “necessity of government”. The only government mankind needs, is the rule of Conscience.

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