On my way to yoga after work yesterday, I saw a billboard for Pop Chips (popped, not baked or fried potato chips, yo) with the slogan: Rebel Responsibly! Wait, hang on: since when does eating a potato chip constitute any form of rebellion?
I suppose it makes sense at this time of year when those who have resolved to lose weight or get fit, are trying to stay on the wagon and eat healthy. But really, rebellion is eating a chip? What happened to rebellion being a strong reaction to a grave injustice, a tyrannical government, something significantly wrong in the world? Or even rebellion being choosing your own way, not conforming to the norm, thinking for yourself? Shit, if the acts of rebellion we're left with have to do with the snack food we put in our mouths, we're in trouble.
Ridiculous, I know, that I'm carrying on about about a chip ad that I saw for no more than 15 seconds. Surely I shouldn't talk about it or name the company, since then I'm just doing their marketing for them, unpaid. But that sorry billboard helped cohere a bunch of thoughts I've been having lately about narcissism and saving the planet, so here goes.
I am first to admit that I do think that our personal actions make a difference, that each person can play a part in bettering and beautifying our world. Personally, I take many actions that I suppose reduce my footprint to some extent, but mostly I do them for selfish reasons, because growing food or composting or keeping bees or buying organic or spending less on gas or freecycling stuff is fundamentally fun for me, gives me joy. I am not thinking about the rainforest for even one second as I do it. Increasingly the actions I'm focused on, the ones that are important to me, aren't about using less shit or buying more shit, even if it's eco, but about our personal emotional actions (the karmic shit, if you will).
So back to the chip. There's something so narcissistic, so Me Me Me, about the notion that eating a chip is rebellion. It's disgusting. And ties into this thing I've been noticing more and more, a fundamentally-negative fear-based paranoid self-important navel-gazing paralysis. It doesn't seem to be about choosing to eat local because it's good, or choosing to eat well or raw because it's good, or choosing to produce less trash because that's good. Instead it seems to derive from a sense that if you don't, then since everything revolves around you and you're not choosing correctly, then the whole globe is going straight to hell and it's your doing.
Because, of course, it's all about you.
And consequently about what snack food you eat.
And truly, that is bigger bullshit even than snack food itself, which seriously is total bullshit if you think about it.
If you want to eat a potato chip, then do it. If you choose to eat that chip, then revel in it. Revel, not rebel. Enjoy every bite, savor the tastiest, greasiest, most delicious potato chips you can find. But don't think that makes you a rebel.
If you rebel, don't do so responsibly. Do so recklessly, think for yourself, act from joy, break out of the tiny house of your ego and act for others, from love. Make it about something bigger than you, something bigger than a chip.