How to deal with imperfect people
What is your limit, after which you ”cancel” people? Is the limit appropriate?
I personally for example do not tolerate racism, nationalism or cruelty and bullying against myself or other living beings. I also struggle with people with completely unflexible minds: people who think that if something is like this today, it has always been like this and can never change.
I can tolerate people who follow a different diet than me, or live a different lifestyle than me, or do things I don’t do or think that are good, unless they harm someone else in doing their thing.
I can understand no-one is perfect and we’re all on a journey. We are all working from our own phase of our own journeys, and generally do not deserve to get ”cancelled”. We used to say ”no human is illegal” when talking about refugees. No human is illegal, even if they are in the beginning of their journey or even on the wrong path altogether.
This does not mean we need to tolerate everything from everyone and break ourselves trying to discuss with hard-headed people, but sometimes a bit more flexibility within the green community, towards our kin and community would be helpful. If you expect perfection in everyone around you, expect to wind up alone pretty soon.
Having said that, there are limits. I personally will not participate in communities that instead of making real changes with people care in mind, choose to bully out the people they don't like. I also refuse to volunteer my time in communities that, say, tolerate nationalism and inequality or foster and even reward bullies while claiming to be oh so permaculture. This is exactly why I recently left the local permaculture association, for example. Generally an acceptance of greenwashing is a red flag to me. Bring me anyone authentic, how different their ideas might be to mine anytime rather than a glossy liar.
To come to a conclusion: nothing will change in ourselves, our communities or the society around us unless we change our beliefs first. We cannot bring our sick culture into permaculture and expect it to work. We must embrace the permaculture ethic of people care and truly align it to our values if we really want a better future for us all.
We must stop thinking we are alone, and not connected to people. We must step out of the culture of ”I can do it alone” and accepting loneliness as a normal thing. This is one of the biggest lies in the Finnish culture that I know of. No one does it all alone, and it’s not normal to be lonely and not even know your neigbors.
We must stop giving (money, power, opportunities…) to those who have already and taking from those who have little. This needs to be turned 180 degrees to really give people chances to thrive. Not only rich, healthy, well connected people of our own nationality have something to offer, but all of us.
We must stop treating bullying as something really sad, but well it happens, and the victim must always change schools, jobs or associations, but as something we all need to actively work against. No-one has the right to stay in the sidelines and "avoid conflict" when someone else is being violated in their plain sight.
We must stop thinking that we needen’t do anything, as the city is already doing something, or the state, or China and India aren’t. Take responsibility.
We must stop waiting for some great leader to lead us, globally or in our communities, and take the initiative ourselves. We must learn to be the change ourselves and not listen to those who claim to be the change in glossy magazines.
We must be open to do hard things.
And we absolutely must look into ourselves and see what propaganda and conditioning have we been believing all these years without question. Some of my personal favorites of really stupid ones are
- it’s expensive to live in the countryside
- wearing makeup is being respectful to others
- things are black or white, there is nothing in between
- that the current level of wages and consumption are sustainable and
- growing food is really hard.
And above all, we must take responsibility for our lives and the lives of generations to come. It’s the only ethical choice to make.