The human condition in America is that we are stretched between too many dichotomies and struggling with finding ways in which to make humanity sustainable, as well as enjoyable. While our mainstream lifestyle choices are guided by the continued necessity for “more”, of anything and everything, although we have the highest Gross Domestic Product number, proving that we are the busiest, most industrious country on the planet, we are also among the most highly rated countries for obesity, stress, debt, murder, suicide, depression, mental illness, incarceration, rape, firearms, emissions, divorce, childhood poverty, and mass shootings. Although our industriousness does produce a lot of neat and shiny things, the payoff may not be worth it.
Yet in spite of the maladies that our maladjusted lifestyles cause us as we are continually called upon to work harder, longer, and faster in order to make “more” of whatever stuff is called for, we continue to follow the mainstream sensibility that keeps us largely unhealthy and unhappy. Regardless of the fact that the machine we are serving does not ultimately, or even immediately, serve our best interests, we find ourselves beholden to the way things are and powerless to change the structure.
For those who can just no longer handle the grind of trying to keep up with the American methodology, we who continue to chase the American Dream are often quick to dismiss them as the problem. However, it may very well be that they are here to show us a path. We may call the homeless lazy, but somewhere within us, we are covetous of their lifestyle. Most homeless ministries seek to ingratiate those who are experiencing homelessness back into “normal” society, however, one of the bigger challenges is that “normal” society has become very unhealthy, for the people contributing to it and to the rest of the planet.
For the majority of us, we are either “working for the man” – selling our time so that the elite can prosper more greatly from our ideas and labor – or “just paying down the number” – selling our time and energy so we can pay the elite for allowing us to live in their society. Due to the way that our culture has been established, the vast majority of our land has been claimed by a small percentage of the population. Since we all have to pay them to live here, we think it only right to ensure that everybody pays them to live here, and this is where we find such animosity with the homeless, those who, for whatever reason, means, or methods, have just given up on paying “the man” and have become completely unconcerned with “the number.”
Unfortunately, our human condition is that we are obsessed with “the man” and “the number”. Our human condition is that we work harder than we should to attain things we don’t want. Our human condition is that unless people contribute to that insanity, we make it very hard for them to participate in our community.
Our next grand adventure as a people, should we choose to accept it, is to swim through the gray area between industrious and lazy, and find better ways of meeting the needs of the many instead of catering to the wants of a few. Perhaps we should further explore the chasm between homelessness and the 2500 square foot average home to find the opportunities that lie in wait for those who have eyes to see beyond what is and into what could be.