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undisposable
Episode 2127th July 2022 • PowerPivot • Leela Sinha
00:00:00 00:14:39

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People are not disposable. And yet many of our institutions and systems treat them as if they are. And you would think this would be obvious, but people are not commodities. So how do we reshape our businesses and institutions so that people are not seen as a resource to be used up and spit out, but as an integral part of everything we do, and one which needs to be nourished and kept healthy?

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Transcripts

Leela Sinha:

My body and I had to come to Jesus this morning in

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the wee dark hours. It kept shouting outside my window

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carrying signs I couldn't read. And so I shouted down and said,

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"what are your demands?" and it just made uncomfortable possum

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sounds or the noise that a baby otter makes before it touches

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water for the first time. And I said, "okay, but really?" and it

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said, "ow." And I said, "okay, but where?" And that is how I

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ended up lying awake at 5am with my thumb pressed into the muscle

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just to the left and center of my sternum, feeling the

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throbbing all along my rhomboids, the point of my

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shoulder, and assorted other places that I'm not used to

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feeling sensation at all, that humans are not really made to

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feel sensation in at all, unless perhaps, we have been hit by an

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arrow or a falling log, which I have not. But what I have been

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hit by is two plus years of pandemic, poverty, heartache,

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separation from my loved ones, exhaustion, burnout, and the

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flailing of late-stage end-stage some-stage? of capitalism, that

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part where fascism and oligarchy try to take over, over and over

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again. And somehow, we do not smoothly make the obvious

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transition from being wealthy to sharing that wealth. Socialism

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seems obvious to me. But in the meantime, we have to have some

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kind of bridge, something that helps us regain our humanity,

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because it has already been lost in this morass. I know about it,

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because the point of my shoulder and my rhomboids told me so. But

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I am informed by reliable sources that most people have

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long since forgotten how to hear what their bodies are telling

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them, because it hurts too much. And as a consequence, cannot

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also hear what the body of humanity, the body of the Earth,

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the body of life are saying. And by saying, I mean shouting. Even

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when it is also ourselves down there doing the shouting,

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holding literal signs that literally say what we literally

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want. But we forget that the people in the tops of the

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skyscrapers can't actually read the signs once they get up

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there. They can't see the signs once they get up there. And

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hiring a sky writer is both dangerous and ineffective, not

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to mention expensive. Ani DiFranco said, if he doesn't

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come down and put change in her cup, she's coming up, which is a

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great line. But the fact is that the elevator is guarded and

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stepping into a small box into which one can be locked for

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basically ever makes that strategy probably not the most

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effective way to create change. And so what is the most

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effective way to create change? And how do we recognize who we

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are? And we are in fact, the ones also with the keys to the

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elevator, we are in fact, also the ones leaning out the window

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squinting at the shouting, perhaps even sincerely engaged

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in the possibility that we might be able to meet the demands of

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the people down there while retaining our seats up here.

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That is not really how it works. In the old days, the buildings

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were shorter, even on the fifth storey, you can basically tell

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what people are yelling about. And I think that's important to

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being in touch with the ground from which we come is

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a vital part of our survival. And at the same time, we need to

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start stacking people better in cities so that we retain some

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compactness of resource distribution. And at the same

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time, we need more people, more kinds of people moving to the

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places where the skies are open, and the farming is good. I

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believe in us, my friend Mina Raver believes in us; she is not

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the only one. My friend Vanessa Burnett believes in us; she is

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not the only one. I believe that those of us who believe in us

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are actually in the majority. I believe those of us who want to

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simultaneously be in power and share the power are not as

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unique or as far apart as the narratives that we hear would

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have us believe. Even the people writing the newspapers sharing

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the stories have become the people leaning out the 125th

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floor of someplace, squinting down the street, trying to read

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the signs and figure out what the shouting is all about,

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trying to figure out what the demands really are. Because from

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up there, it all sounds like possum sounds. This morning, my

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body and I had to come to Jesus and I lay there at 5am firmly

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consistently pressing out knots that my body doesn't even let me

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know that I have, most of the time. Usually, there is no

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shouting. The shouting is a way of finding the problem. Shouting

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is a way of knowing there is a problem. The shouting is the

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first step. But it is only the first step, then somehow,

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somehow there has to be consensus, consolidation of the

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people at the top of the skyscraper and the people at the

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bottom. Somehow, my body has to trust me enough to let me work

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out the knots in my pectoral muscle. So that my shoulder can

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move freely, so that I can exercise, so that I can breathe.

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So that I can meet the very things about which it has been

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shouting, that I can meet it on the ground. It can meet me in

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the air so they can meet everywhere it wants to. The

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signs aren't merely symbolic. I'm relieved about the shouting,

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but only when the shouting leads to something.

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Here's the irony. My personal trainer and I have been on this

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exact problem. My personal trainer and I have been working

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on this for months, trying to find our way down the fire

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stairs, floor after floor after floor all the way to the bottom

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every chance we get. Every time we get a clue as to where we

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might find the doorway, the entrance, the way to find out

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what's happening down there. The way to read the signs the way to

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hear the demand- something, something gets in our way.

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That's the way of capitalism. But I have known intuitively and

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from the beginning, that the key to this problem is heart ache.

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And the way the human body curls around the center of the chest

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in defense. My body has to know simultaneously that my heart is

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breaking and that I am doing everything that I can to save us.

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