My comment to the blog post, “We Are All Human Microphones” by Richard Kim, Executive Editor, The Nation.
It’s a very old media paradigm, word of mouth, and it is as human as it gets. Humans embody a tension between the individual and the collective, egoism and altruism. Without this tension, we wouldn’t have gotten as far as we have. Every time a protestor repeats a word he or she has to choose to do so based on some calculation involving those two aspects of their nature.
Occupy is all about that tension and responding to that tension. The 99% all have their personal issues and grievances, but that really isn’t enough really to keep them outside. We’ve had our years of quiet personal struggle and selfish chasing of personal solutions, and we continue to do so even in the midst of occupation. By itself, selfishness would cause everyone to return home at the first hint of cold weather, pepper spray, pneumonia, or lack of sleep. Choosing to stay despite the challenges is about staying for everyone.
It’s time to decide if the government of our choosing, the laws we choose to live by, really reflect who we are as humans. Maybe the balance has tipped too far to the ego. Maybe altruism is such an innate part of who we are that we can only take so much selfishness before we act. Maybe there are words the human microphone would choose not to repeat. Maybe “death by poverty”, “unbridled greed”, and “to each his own” are a little worn out. Maybe, I hope at least.