The other day a fellow electrician posted an image to his facebook page. It said: ‘my politics are simple, I’m basically against anything that kills people or the planet we live on’. I had a chuckle at this. Does he know? Has he considered the job he spends his waking passionate hours doing is something that his politics do not align with?
Im surprised its taken me this long to write an article about whats been bothering me for the entirity of my adult life, the impossible: trying to be a human alive on this planet and trying to live a pure coexistence with the planet.
But here we go.
I struggle with the dichotomy between feeling proud to be an electrician, (safely guiding electrons to their designated destinations), and feeling guilty about being an electrician, (the ways humans use and create electricity). When I think about the place I want to be in human society, I think about how I want to be useful, appreciated, respected, and fair. The choice to pursue electrical work as my everyday came from this place. But so does the self doubt about being able to achieve this at all. The words my seventh grade teacher said to me haunt me. ‘Question everything’ she said to me. Question everything.
Electricity is useful, it can save and end lives, create and destroy. But, is it so useful if it fuels the machines that create the cancer the hospitals cure? Everyone appreciates electricity and we all use it everyday when we can. But in order to hook everyone up with electricity, we need to burn fossil fuels, and dam rivers. (If you are unaware of the ecologically devastating effects burning fossil fuels and damming rivers has on the environment, stop reading and go do a quick google search right now). Even if your getting solar panels hooked up to your off grid farm, the solar panels are being made by burning coal, probably in a country with environmental regulations set so low they destroy their own land by dumping toxic water from processing mined minerals into their own waterways. How can we continue to greedily use electricity, when we will make ourselves sick just so we can watch tv?
Everyone respects someone that can fix their problems and it is not within everyone’s means to understand and have the physical ability to do electrical work. But do I want to build a substation thats entire goal is to supply power for an oil rig? I use oil, and I love me some plastic and motorized toys, so why wouldn’t I love me some oil rigs? Some pipelines? Some fracking? BECAUSE WE ARE POISONING OURSELVES FOR IT. Since everyone is lumped into the everyone category, I think it’s fair to say everyone is screwed up for wanting electricity and screwed down into being stuck here on this planet, needing, wanting, addicted to electricity.
So when does it stop? I went for it. I could’ve stayed where I was, wondering how the magic of electricity worked, but I didn’t, I set out determined to discover what the big deal was and to prove I could put the zaps in the tubes. I put my head into the books and kept my horrified opinions about environmental disaster to myself, and trucked right on into the construction industry. I could be pursuing another life where I try to live completely off grid, but why should I? I am alive and a human just like everyone else, and why should I suffer in martyrdom.
Now that I have adopted the can’t beat em’, join em’ mantra, how will I know when I’m doing the right thing? Do I just have to roll with it and stop feeling guilty for reading all night while listening to music, knowing the dam that powers my houses electricity up the road has forever altered the way fish and other animals migrate, and flooded out the people who lived and survived off the land there? Do I try distracting myself from the constant chicken bone lodged in my throat feeling that’s there to remind me of the reality that the way we are living is not sustainable with counseling and self talk teaching me I deserve all the nice things?
Tell me readers, is it just me overanalyzing anxiously, or are we truly a fuct species to be harnessing electricity at all? And does it matter if we are? Here we are, so wrapped up in if we could, that we didn’t stop to think if we should. (Yes, I just ended this article with a quote from Jurassic Park).
6 thoughts on “Dichotomys; Brain vrs. Heart”
My dear Kahla,
For everything we do there is an equal and opposite reaction. If we lived in an environment without electricity, what would the ultimate consequence be ? We really don’t know the answer to that question. We may be somewhat clearer about what the consequences of “out of control” electrical development might look like.
In other words, there is no definitive answer to so many questions.The mantra your father and I received was to live “in moderation”. Take and enjoy what you need. Leave things better than or as good as you found them for those who come after you. The earth is a powerful planet that has its ways to challenge its problems. Nature leaves large messages for its population (e.g. floods, el nineos, earthquakes, forest fires etc.). The earth also presents us with many gifts (plants, animals , minerals, forests) for us to use, enjoy and sustain. In the end, we are responsible for our personal choices( and and how we use the gifts of electricity and technology and agriculture etc.) Each gift can be used in a very positive way and in a very negative way . The personal choice is to be grateful for and enjoy the positive side while confronting and maybe improving the negative side. The collective (all humans) choice is the same albeit seemingly more difficult. to achieve. The solution I believe is to find and maintain balance. If we remove the negative aspects of anything there can no longer be a positive anything. The challenge is to keep the balance both personally and collectively . How to keep the balance is another conversation and a lifelong challenge. I agree with your grade 7 teacher …question everything …it is the way to find balance …
Thoughts from your Aunt June who loves you deeply !
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What a beautifully written response. Thank you Aunt June!❤❤🤗
Well said Klar. Humans are undeniably like a cancer on this planet, yes, but for every negative that exists, so must there be a positive. Maybe there hasn’t even been a positive to the system we’ve put in place for gathering electricity yet, and it takes people like you to “spark” the conversation into a movement that creates a society that wont tolerate the old ways anymore. Knowledge is power and the world needs to know that its time to ditch the old ways and move into a more enlightened age using methods like solar and wind harvesting. Keep sharing, and keep inspiring!
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Thank you for the kind words Natalie! Xxoo❤
Don’t blame yourself for the environmental problem caused by huge constructions. They can’t be built unless policy makers, developers, planers, local communities all agree and work in systematical way to realise the project. You can be an electrician and in a camp of environmental protesters! no conflicts!
don’t know if I catch your point precisely… If working for big construction company as an electrician is too much pressure, and against your belief, why not try work for local communities, or smaller company that do shop/ house renovations, or work for a company that try to develop cleaner, more substantial energy supply? the income might be less stable, but might be happier (like I am now) Utilise your skill in a way that you can feel proud of, minimise what make you uncomfortable. that helps to feel more balanced aye? xo neng
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You are so smart my friend! Thank you for thinking about me and for the suggestions ❤❤