Deliberate Living

Well over a year ago I had a conversation with David Burke about his travels through Africa. One sentence he said has sat with me but I have never written it down before.

“I went to Africa to photograph the poor…I photographed joy.”
~ David Burke
(see photos here & here)

This is what I learned from that conversation:

There is no poverty when there is no consumerism to attach itself to. You only know that you’re poor when you know that the other person is rich. The notion of rich does not exist because the notion of poor does not exist.

This is not an anti-consumerism argument; it is a self-awareness discussion on deliberate living.

I do not want to idealize that the poverty of Africa is some un-recognized paradise. It’s not. Starvation, polluted water and death by mosquitoes is not paradise, it’s Hell.

“The poor shall inherit the earth” ~ Jesus

We live in a post-modern world. What does that mean? Our ideas and self-concepts are shaped by media exposure that we consume (or digest), not by deliberate living. We are who we are due to the fact that we like that movie, music, TV show, magazine or book we read.

Take away media (postmodernism) and you have the question “Who am I? Who am I left with? What do I attach my self-interest to? What’s left to influence me? Ourselves? That sucks I am boring without all my stuff.”

Consumption is not the answer to any problem.

Answer: your feet on the soil of the earth itself, your family, connection, conversation, community, food, the culture of our ancestors, communication of experiences, actually doing stuff. (Stuff can be an act of doing rather than an act of acquiring objects).

Taking a long walk to get water for drinking and cleaning for your family does not mean poverty; it means that you are a more extraordinary person than I am.

What do I do with what I just wrote down…no idea yet? But I hope you share in this conversation with me.