I’m sitting here at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada after a detoured walk in the West Point Grey neighborhood. If you have ever visited either of these locations, you know that they speak of great institutions and a wealthy past (and present, as first quarter 2011 stats on Vancouver and North Vancouver indicate that the average price for a two-story home is now $1.1 million). However, as impressive as these places are, I find that a more accurate word is “o”ppressive. One of my major life goals, as many of you can relate to, is to own property and be free of the wage slavery that engulfs us to some extent. However, if we look beyond meeting this cozy need and compete with each other for a basic need, then we end up with neighborhoods that price out people forever. Through this walk in West Point Grey and part of Kitsilano, I saw a few forlorn walkers, either renters or those dreaming by, whom one can clearly see are looking at these houses and knowing that they will probably never get one in order to live off rental income like their landlords presumably are.
“This is reality… what is behind me is a construction.”
At UBC campus, we inhabit the space for 4-6+ years in order to get certified as being worthy of academic validation. These large structures are meant to impress us but also “o”ppress us because they reinforce that a central authority controls reality and knowledge, while we, as consumers, have to buy it and sacrifice productive years. It is also worth mentioning that these productive years are the years that we form our ideologies, and we are surrendering that time to a state- and market-controlled program. So while it is important to learn skills there, especially if they are of a financial, mechanical, engineering, or natural sciences professions, there are facets to that education that limit our true knowledge. At this particular university, at every opportunity, we are warned of the dangers and consequences of plagiarism. This seems benign and practical enough, but the real meaning is to terrify people into not saying anything that cannot be accounted for by the words of someone else before them. This is by nature very static and limiting. In western education in North America, we are generally all assigned one area to focus on, and we discuss and write about something repetitively, and if you do not say something in line with the views of your group, you are marginalized and will not be marketable for employment in academic circles.
Fortunately for me, tarot, a practice I began professionally in early 2009, has progressively shown through timeless thematic representations that there are archetypes/arcana/arcanum that repeat and do not seem to be affected by time. If we do not let the institutions and the technology overpower what we intuitively know, we will not have to chase trends, seek group affiliation, and shut out others from a means to provide for themselves by buying out all shelters (property, investments, opportunities/places of labor). Therefore, also included in my walk today, before I leave campus, will be a stop at the rose garden facing the Strait of Georgia and mountains of the North Shore – “This is reality… what is behind me is a construction.”
-John Lett (Readings)
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