I sip my coffee and hope that the muse will arrive. I can feel better about this cup of coffee. We spent the extra to make sure that it was organic and fair trade certified. Whether or not this really does much to help or if it just makes someone with too much wealth already a little bit wealthier I cannot know. But it soothes my conscience, a consumer ashamed of my consumption, ashamed that my actions cause harm to others. I see a field far away in a hot, humid place, a life spent picking the beans from the plant one by one, placing them in a canvas sack so that I can sit here thousands of miles away and stimulate my adrenal glands to make up for the lack of sleep my first world worries have caused me.
But I also see that coffee picker at home with his family, joyful and happy. I have experienced this first hand, lying on a cot in Costa Rica, in a home with immaculately clean dirt floors, a gap between the ceiling and the walls to let the mountain breezes blow through, the tin roof singing during the afternoon rains as the creek outside swells and recedes with each passing shower. Though I could barely communicate with them, it was clear they were some of the happiest people I have ever encountered, living a simple life, miles of walking away from anyplace where one could actually buy a bag of coffee.
There is good and bad in this world in equal measure. It is far too easy to get consumed by one or the other. The pursuit of the things we deem “good” can lead to unhappiness just as surely as engaging in what we call “bad”. The urge to wrap this up in some tidy little sentence is strong, but sometimes, often, there is no tidy ending (though it appears I’m still trying to find one). Best sometimes to just let things be.
Journal entry from 6.4.14