In these times of economic melt-down, increasing unemployment and general hardship, we can learn a most enlightening lesson of wisdom, simplicity and fortitude from the following article ‘Thought’s of a homeless man’:
Fictional, but based on an actual conversation, with the interlocutor here speaking.
I’ve been homeless for ten years. I made some mistakes and I paid for them, but I lost all my friends, and my family refused to ever see me again. Jobs are scarce; I have no skills of value to anyone. But like Siddhartha in the Hesse novel, I can think, I can wait, I can fast. Many days I go hungry. But I have infinite patience. And I can think, but usually think myself into a self-righteous and ethical stalemate.
I decided to give up trying to make it, you know, to give up trying to be a square peg — or is it round? It was just too hard: trying to pay rent or a mortgage, trying to pay insurance and debts, trying to guess what pleases people.
I imagine average people would say that it is my fault, that I am dysfunctional. But wasn’t it Freud who said, “Who wants to be functional in a dysfunctional society?” Not just dysfunctional — modern society is basically sick. All the values are upside down. What is celebrated is greed, exploitation, violence. What is scorned is simplicity, nature, the slow, and the quiet.
Being homeless, I know this firsthand. Homelessness is being criminalized. Simplicity is being criminalized. The Native people of this continent didn’t have property deeds and legal documents, so everything was stolen from them, and when they insisted that this was their home and that everybody had free access to the water, the land, the forest — well, they were pushed out of the way, or were killed outright.