Sunday, March 20, 2011

On being a typical human

Last week, my friend, Charleen, sent me the video below, and it's got me thinking about the word "typical." At first I was confused -- how can there be a typical human being? So I looked up the word typical in the Oxford English, and this is what it said:
typical (adj.) 1 having the distinctive qualities of a particular type of person or thing: a typical example of a small American town. 2 behaving or happening in the expected or usual way: a typical day began with breakfast at 7:30 a.m.
With Oxford's words in mind, I'm far from the typical human being in the video. Yes, I'm right handed, and my salary less than half of that $12,000 a year (by choice -- were I working full-time, it would be hard to grow vegetables, volunteer in the clothing room, and be present to my kids). I don't personally have a cellphone (my oldest daughter seems to have commandeered the one that belongs to the family), but I am one of 25% of the world's population that has a bank account. I am quite relieved that I am not a typical Afghani woman...

If typical is relative, then I'm hoping that concern for our planet soon becomes the norm in the typical human... to the point that the typical human's choices take into consideration the next seven generations of human beings that will follow, as the Sioux sages did. They considered their choices carefully, imagining the faces of the children who would live seven generations after them. They wanted to be sure that they could tell those children "we did the best we could with what we had." With almost 7 billion of us inhabiting the earth, we need to start paying more attention to the choices we make on a day to day basis, especially when it comes to non-renewable resources. We need to start choosing simpler things, local things, natural things, and things that bring us together instead of dividing us. Let's start today.

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