There’s a breeze in the air and I’m surrounded by the tune of once great buildings. A curtain dances in a window propped open by a small off-cut of wood, hiding yet offering wind blown glimpses of the lengthy renovations preceding inside. The planks of weathered wood and blistered paint persevere. The patchy, rusty corrugation lifts at its corners. Scenes I related strongly to once; championing their battered unique and shambled beauty.
On an intermittent blue sky backdrop an inner-city Brisbane summer faded seemingly overnight, from blistering hot sunshine to rummaging through lower shelves for something resembling a jumper. A welcome and comfortable change.
Today’s a good Friday, as far as Friday’s go, and I’m planning for the greater outdoors. To explore a new patch or learn something else about another I’ve encountered in the past twelve months. Despite the incredibly inviting smell of Indian curry filling the air at lunch, and the empty house and room stacked with to-be-read books and an out of tune guitar screaming out for a play, I’m hanging for the dense underneath sensation of a dimly lit rainforest, the open warmth of an undisturbed grassy woodland on a west facing slope, or of course, the total immersion and liberation found under pumping waves fresh off the pacific ocean.
The quiet of nature, the counterbalance needed to hours of weekday punk music powering me through office weekdays. “All I know is that I don’t know nothing”, on which a foundation of expectation can be built.
Here we’re walking a line between tradition and progression. Celebrating a long past event, one now resembling a mere shadow of its former self. But whilst the celebratory holiday is more likely to mean family adventure, the non-secular connotations are still harmlessly abound – on the bread that we eat and in the fish that we don’t. Instead of paying homage to a crucified martyr, we pay exorbitant prices for alfoil wrapped chocolate eggs.
There’s a unique comfort in traditions – the ability to forecast events, settle into daily/annual/lifelong routine, and even base our world views on them being maintained. The counterpoint of your future shared with those around you, complimenting intergenerational connectivity through the common ground it grants.
What happens when tradition becomes stale like days old bread? It’s chucked in the bin by most, and some clasp onto the taste-memory of ‘what was’, refusing to change and embrace the new flavour of accepted, collective perspective. Change can be utterly painful; image basing your life on or around something, then having your friends, family, and fellow publicans abandon you for something new you just don’t understand? Your social circle contracts, and the pockets of surviving believers evaporate rapidly like muddied water in regional dams caught in the coarse, increasingly warmer, summer heat.
It must feel threatening, isolating; down right terrible.
How importance is the need for education!? Not specific, specialised education like the need to have a masters in soil ecology or TAFE certification in web design. Neither the need a ‘complete education’ consisting of a heavy dosage of periodic curriculum for twelve intense years, herded into lots marked from A to F.
Instead, what of the propagation and nurturing of expectations among everybody. An education of how to be content and yet driven to achieve. How to embrace real purpose in any task. How to better yourself continually for all of life, and abandon the intent of just being ‘smarter’ for strengthening your standards, your values, and becoming invaluable to the world around you. To expect a better life, even if that means changing or challenging traditions.
I see examples of where we’re struggling together and fighting out-dated traditions everywhere, everyday. Between the limited yet regular traditional newspaper and radio options to a beyond-flooded news-scape of internet news satisfying every superfluous opinion, leaving you with no idea what to believe. I see a few deeply frightened individuals and a mass of others not built for accepting adoption of change, from those that insist on not recycling, those continuing to buy and eat fast food, or to those insisting on spending Saturday nights pissed and Sunday mornings hungover from the ages of 16 to 30 (or beyond) instead of realising the amount of fucking money we’ve wasted, your damaged health, or that you just wasted large portions of your never returning youth. I see examples of breakdowns in communication leading to unreasonable stresses, blaming, and elongated problems causing a wealth of pain. From the incorrect grammar in text messages, to the stripping back of essential human rights by fascist politicians adamant about being ‘right’ in complimenting their own argument for a few, rather than enriching the lives of many (see: the ideologically stale current Australian Federal Governments attitude towards indigenous rights, their attitude to immigration, their stripping back of workers rights such as penalty rates on weekends, and not least of all their terrible and pathetic stance on environmental issues).
And most importantly, I see the same excuse – “what can just one person do?” – everywhere. The dominating attitude of accepting a lack of desire to challenge, not necessarily oppose, but truly challenge and question traditional ways is drenched in low expectations of ourselves and for everyone around us. Tradition cannot serve us well if we’re not prepared to adapt when necessary – and we cant know when that’s necessary unless we question it with a ‘why?’
Our actions are our overriding thoughts come to life – if we have a strong quality thought, strong quality actions will follow.
Now “traditions’ are broad. It could be deeply entrenched in your life, such as a families approach to marriage and family name retention, the sports clubs you follow, or what religion you abide by, down to the simple task of how you set the dinner table for guests. I had the same breakfast of five wheat-bix with a banana on top for eons, literally every day for a solid decade. They were great, but I found diversifying to musli, toast, eggs, yogurt, and fruit on a regular rotation offered a wider variety of nutritional benefits and a broader pallet to enjoy. I didn’t just think this up, I was challenged and had to search for a broader option, driven by the expectation that there is no absolute. There is no settling on perfection. There is always an alternative, and that alternative can be extremely beneficial to you and those around you (no I’m not suggesting switching to musli or that even making your bed every day will save the world, although some would).
Remember: “Tradition is rules enforced by the dead”.
Look at the technological, mathematical, social, political, astrological, physiological, medical findings and implications from the past ninety years. They’ve resulted in massive changes in how the world is perceived!
Arguments can be justly shaped by tradition (a historical reference is utterly necessary), but current day arguments cannot be defined by it. For what justice and hope do we offer our collective future if we possess beliefs and ideologies held by those pre-1927? If our actions don’t embrace the actualities of the now, how can anyone expect a richer life for everyone into the future when expired ideologies are your foundation? Can you ignore the discovery that the world is round and not flat? Can you uphold a repressive governmental institution over one who’s constitution is founded on fairness for everyone? Can you ignore the benefits of simple sanitation on your health?
Tradition once said otherwise. But we found a way beyond that, by not only believing in change for the better, but in educating ourselves to expect such.
Pump up your tyres of expectation:
- Give ‘The Seven habits of highly effective people’ a read.
- Ask for the magazine ‘New Philosopher’ at your newsagent.
- Subscribe to a half-decent news website/app, like The Guardian