How can women stop getting raped?

In light of the horrible gang rape that took place last month in Delhi, it has inspired all of us to do some soul searching. How does this barbaric behavior still exist in this day and age? In a time when women are supposed to have equal rights with men, how is it possible that there are still individuals, both men and women, who believe and treat females to be the burden of society?

India has some serious explaining to do, and the government is clearly embarrassed about it. The gang rape of a physiotherapy student on a public bus is, unfortunately, nothing new, or rare for that matter. As for the pouring of outrage that swept the nation, it “helped” that she was considered to be a respectable girl with an education, and that she was accompanied by a respectable gentleman who tried to defend her. It “helped” that he was beaten badly in the process of trying to defend her, and it “helped” that, after they were dumped on the side of the road naked, nearly run over by their attackers, he publicly complained that it took nearly 45 minutes for the police to arrive, after which, the police wasted time arguing with each other over who’s jurisdiction the case was, all while the poor girl was dying. One has to wonder, how much media outcry there would have been, had she not been of middle class and accompanied by a male for protection?

Sunitha Krishnan, a self described anti-trafficking crusader, when asked her opinion on this case, wrote in her blog:

“My frustration was also on the sudden great interest in all the rape survivors…lets hound them…Did anybody make a single attempt to hound all the reported rapists in the country?”

And she’s right. Maybe we should be making rapists as famous ( or, in this case, infamous ) as celebrities.

There is still a mentality out there that people can be used as a throwaway commodity, regardless of race, gender, educational and financial background, or age. And it still persists to this day, even in more “civilized” cultures.

My ex boyfriend, who is now a Taoist monk living in Australia, once said to me that “if a man wants to pay to have sex with a woman, that’s his right.” My female cousin in Sydney, NSW once said “I don’t get these young girls who dress in skimpy dresses and then complain when they get raped. What did they expect?”  Or another friend I met in Banff, Alberta who said that “when a girl sleeps with a lot of guys she’s a slut. It’s just different, because it’s easier for her to get laid than men.”

And then there is also a  strong belief that these types of mentalities and violations only exist in 3rd world countries where backward, uneducated, “non-white” people live. My good friend here in Montreal recently said that “sexual slavery, luckily, does not exist in this city.”

Are you sure?

Violations will occur wherever people live.

So how can we change this? Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t wonderful men out there who will fight for gender equality, but we can’t expect men to fight for the prevention of violence against women, after all, it is not their problem. And who would bother to help a people who won’t even help themselves? This goes for gay rights, civil rights, women’s lib, the American civil war, the French revolution, victims of bullies. History has shown again and again that oppressors will only stop oppressing when the trodden on stand up together, demand respect and take it by force. Freedom, equality, and respect is simply not handed over. Case in point: after reading the article “Meghalaya, India: Where women rule, and men are suffragettes by Timothy Allen, I admit, I couldn’t help but consciously think that if the men in the village were so passive at the way they were being treated by the women, why should bother to make a fuss about it: they certainly weren’t! See, even I’m guilty of this mindset.

Yes, we need men to behave better. Yes, we need men to change their attitudes towards women. Yes, men definitely  SHOULD NOT rape women. But it’s women who have to change themselves, and the attitudes and beliefs that they have about themselves, in order to bring about real positive change. It’s women who have to be the first to take action and shout, “Enough is enough! Respect us, or there will be consequences.” It’s women who have to educate each other and their men as to what acceptable behavior is, and what is not. I once saw a video of 3 or 4 women take turns slapping a bus driver in the face, in broad daylight, yelling at him after he was caught “eve teasing” them. Now while I don’t condone all out violence that could put someone in hospital, you can probably be sure that that bus driver won’t ever be sexually harassing women again. You can also bet that the men who witnessed it would think twice before doing it themselves.

Now I am in no way suggesting that any person, man or woman, who has survived sexual assault did not do enough to prevent their attack. Sexual violations are an absolute abomination in our culture, and anyone on the receiving end of such crimes should never ever feel that they brought it on themselves. Sexual discrimination and violence are crimes against humanity. No blame should ever be put on the survivors.

What I am suggesting is that perhaps we, as a society, have simply sat back and accepted bad behavior of certain individuals to persist without consequences. Or, perhaps even at one point, encouraged it.

Oh, that’s just their culture. Oh, they’re just having fun. What do you expect me to do about it? It’s none of my business.

Sound familiar?

Here are a few suggestions we can implement to help girls take their power back. Feel free to add some of your own:

1. Set up a community watch system trained to detect corruption in police forces. Victims of sexual abuse are often afraid to go to the authorities, in fear of being victimized again by the very people who were trained to protect them. This is more than just a block watch: these individuals would need to be trained. If people aren’t shown what to do and how to do it, it won’t work. Regular meetings not only hold watchers accountable to be on the lookout, but also how to be on the lookout. Corruption can be deterred with something as simple as a hand held video camera. Anyone who has ever watched “Video Vigilante,” whether or not you agree with his  practices, will have to admit that he effectively deters crime in his neighborhood. The same goes for holding the police accountable for their actions.

2. Get every girl in a school, and give incentives to parents to keep her there until college. Not a new  idea in the west, but still a radical idea in many countries.

3. Teach girls self defense in schools, from kindergarten all the way up until college, and taught with as much respect and emphasis as reading and writing. Want to see what happens when a girl knows how to defend herself? Watch this video here.

4. Schools need to have a daily class on compassion, with role playing. There is such a thing as positive peer pressure, and the young are the most susceptible to it. Many of us are afraid to take a stand, since we’re afraid that we would be all alone in making that stand, and then possibly become a target ourselves. If we had been trained, from an early age, every day, on how to take a stand against a violation, it would become second nature. A hand shake is a learned behavior, one that we know will be met automatically by a similar gesture. Why not learning to yell “Stop it!” whenever we see someone being punched, knowing that everyone else has learned to automatically yell that too?

5. Legalizing prostitution, but criminalizing johns and pimps. Legalizing prostitution makes it easier for any victim of sexual slavery to go to authorities for help. There are many sex slaves who don’t go to the authorities for help because they are seen as criminals, rather than rape victims, in the eyes of the law. In a recent survey that compared 100 men who bought sex to 101 men who didn’t, when asked what would prevent the purchase of sex, a sex buyer advised, “You’d have to make more severe penalties. You’d have to make it a more severe crime than it actually is. Right now it’s not all that punishable, especially for the john it’s a slap on the wrist. It’s nothing, really, you pay a fine and they’ll let you go the next day. . . .[you need] longer incarceration. What scares people more than going to jail? I think it’s the largest deterrent. And maybe large fines, but very large fines.” Most systems re-victimize sex workers over and over again. Go after the johns, there will be less demand for paid sex, and less demand for human trafficking.

6. One of the best things that I did to protect myself when I went traveling alone around the world, and still use to this day, was to be aware of where my cell phone was, where my keys were, what street I was on, and to always check behind me. And, if there was someone nearby, to make sure that that person stayed 100 meters away from me at all times. Where did I learn this? Not in school. I had to read about it from a book I borrowed from my public library.

These are just a few ideas. What are your  thoughts and suggestions to help women take back their power? Please feel free to comment below.

10 reasons you suck at changing the world into a better place.

Statistics show that 100% of humans get angry in their lifetime.

Here are 10 reasons you suck at changing the world.

1)You didn’t bother to sign that petition your friend emailed you/posted on Facebook/twittered etc. In the age of ever increasing download speeds, people just won’t sign something that takes more than 5 seconds to load and costs more than 1 click. I remember when we had dial up – kids younger than 20 might not even know what that is – and when we went cable, oh boy, a ten second page load was like a boy getting a boner for the first time : unexpected, shocking and yet absolutely delightful at the same time.  Now  10 seconds takes too long. We have become a generation of the lazy ass privileged kind who can’t remember when getting stuff done BEFORE the digital age actually took a Really. Long. Time. Suck it up. Sign that petition next time you see it.

2) You didn’t forward that petition you just signed. Petitions should go viral people.

3) You purchase products that are produced unethically. This has to be the HUGEST voting power and one that can make the MOST difference.  Whatever you buy, counts as a vote, creates a demand, and where there is a demand, there will be those who will meet that demand. Factory farmed meat, blood diamonds, slave farmed cotton, animal tested cosmetics, sex slavery, mercury infused light bulbs, pesticide farming – the list goes on and on. Put your money where your beliefs lie.

4) You pollute the air, litter sidewalks, dump trash in the ocean, leave cigarette butts on the ground that cause fires. It’s not that hard to hold onto that empty juice bottle until you find a rubbish bin for it. If you litter, you’re lazy, and the litter gets washed away into the drains and eventually oceans, where it contaminates and harms wildlife, some of which we eat. Speaking of wildlife….

5) You treat nature as if it was of lesser status than humans. This is a human problem of believing that any thing that does not behave in a similar way as humans is therefore unintelligent, and you assume that not having intelligence must mean not having emotions therefore it’s okay to abuse them or turn a blind eye to their abuse. Here’s the thing: without animals, plants, fish, insects, we would be dead. Our existence depends on THEM and THEIR well being, not the other way around. What would happen if all the  humans in the world perished? The world would bloom and be healthy again. If we truly want world peace, we have to suck it up and include ALL of earth’s citizens in the respecting process, not just the human race.

6) You’re not open to “radical” ideas or changes, like:

  • universal healthcare
  • free university for all!
  • voting on policies, not parties
  • world peace
  • putting girls in school
  • clean energy
  • electric cars

7) You blame others for your problems (I realize this is rich coming from an article telling you that you suck). Atheists blaming religion. Religion blaming other religions. Bosses blaming employees. Spouses blaming each other. When has blaming, in the course of history, ever solved anything? Take responsibility for your own crap. 90% of the time, the reason you’re in your current situation is because of how you’ve chosen to react to the 10% of what you can’t control. You can’t always control what life throws at you. What you can do is control how you react to it.

8) You discourage other people’s dreams. It’s sad, but true: most people will discourage dreams, without even thinking about it. Dreams are precious and fragile when they are new. The person who encourages these “crazy” dreams stand out like a beacon of light from the rest of the haters. Unless a person is doing something illegal and unethical, you don’t have to agree with what they are doing, but you can support them by keeping your mouth shut whenever you have something negative to say about what they are doing.

9) You discriminate and judge. We are all guilty of this one.

10) You sit back and do nothing.

There’s one thing that all of these have in common, and that is, in order to change the world, you have to start with yourself. Be the change you wish to see in the world. There’s a lot of crap going on in the world. Perhaps there always will be: it’s overwhelming. What we can do is not let evil win.

I consumed a product that had a Poison Control Warning on it for decades because it was “good” for me.

Something is peculiar with the label on my toothpaste.

toothpaste warning

Wait a minute. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately? I thought toothpaste was supposed to be good for us.What is it in toothpaste to require such a warning?

The answer is: Fluoride.

The fluoride that is put in our toothpaste to prevent our teeth from developing cavities is also poisonous to our system.  We shouldn’t swallow it.

In fact, by the late 90s, the FDA started to require that toothpaste companies show this warning on the label as it was clear that small children could be seriously injured – or even killed – by fluoride poisoning.  The “serving size” of fluoride that is being talked about here is found in a pea size amount of toothpaste, which is about a quarter milligrams of fluoride.

A quarter milligrams of fluoride can also be found in about 8 ounces of tap water.

Quarter Milligram Fluoride.

Quarter Milligram Fluoride. Do not swallow. If you do, contact Poison Control Center.

Quarter Milligram Fluoride. Do not swallow. If you do, contact Poison Control Center.

If fluoride is poisonous enough to require a warning label, why is it in our drinking water?

Fluoride is, in many districts, added artificially to the local water supply. Siliocofluorides – the chemicals used to artificially fluoridate a water supply –  are industrial wastes from phosphate mining and manufacturing, repackaged and marketed as a “public health product.”  From the government’s point of view, it was to be a cost effective mass medication to prevent tooth decay in the population. But if you look at the stats, there is no evidence that mass fluoridation has any real impact on the prevention of tooth decay. Ironically, too much fluoride in the system can actually damage the tooth enamel in children – exactly the opposite of what we want to achieve! When we get white and brown spots on our teeth it is the result of dental fluorosis which usually develops in the developing years. The only thing that can cause fluorosis is fluoride, and dental fluorosis is an indication of having had too much fluoride in our system.

Yep. Even that's what my teeth look like.

Dental Fluorosis. Yep. I too have those two white dots on my front teeth.

fluoridation chart

This chart shows that tooth decay rates are in decline equally well in fluoridated countries as in non fluoridated countries. Does this not indicate that there is no benefit to fluoridation?

Today, even the American Dental Association, who are outspoken advocates for the use of fluoride in the prevention of tooth decay, included a new study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association confirming fluoride as a toxic substance that actually destroys teeth, particularly those of developing young children and babies. The ADA  even recommends that parents do not feed their new born child with fluoridated water, even for mixing formula, because mother’s breast milk contains far less fluoride than tap water. If you must use water to mix formula, distilled water is the best way to go.

Alright, we think.  As long as we don’t swallow fluoride, we should be okay right? Not necessarily. Our oral health is a gateway to the rest of our systems in the most amazing feat of engineering: our teeth are connected to gums which are connected to blood vessels that have a remarkable ability to absorb: just one reason why flossing is so important for the prevention of heart disease and stroke. So if our own mouths are absorbing whatever is going on in our mouths, doesn’t it stand to reason that even if we DON’T swallow fluoride, our gums would STILL be absorbing these harmful chemicals into our systems? I was fortunate enough to grow up in the country where I drank pure untreated ground water. But I spent my entire life – until 1 month ago – brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and today I have white spots on my teeth.

Okay, so lets just not drink the toxic tap water and toothpaste. Lets just use bottled water and we’ll be safe right?

But once again, fluoride rears its ugly head. Many bottled waters, even sodas, juices, contain fluoridated water. Heck, even our food that’s been manufactured with fluoridated water contains it. This is another reason why the ADA cautions against the use of fluoridated water for infants because with all of the added fluoride in our everyday consumption, it’s very easy to surpass what is the “acceptable level” of fluoride in the human body (interesting fact: the lethal dose for adults is between 5 to 10 grams ).

What you can do

Home treatment systems

  • You can install either “point-of-entry” systems, which treat all the water entering the house
  • Install “point-of-use” system which treats water at  a single tap.
  • Reverse Osmosis – filters fluoride, nitrate, bacteria, pesticides, solvents, lead, among other things.
  • Distillation – boils your water into steam and then collects and condenses into a container.
  • Brush with a non-fluoride toothpaste.

Talk to your dentist

  • Ask your dentist what he or she thinks about the use of fluoride in toothpaste. Calmly ask them if they’ve seen the report on fluoridation in the National Academy of Sciences. No health care professional wants to harm his or her patients, and just because they’ve been to medical school for close to a decade, doesn’t not mean that they’ve had access to all the information out there.

Conclusion: Fluoride is toxic and needs to stay out of our bodies. It does not prevent tooth decay. It’s the action of brushing and flossing that prevents tooth decay. My own grandfather never used toothpaste in his life. His used plain water and a toothbrush and brushed his teeth twice a day. He died at the age of 82, never having had a single cavity.

Vancouver police arrest buskers and confiscate instruments

Yep. I heard through the grape vine – anyone who knows the Vancouver freestyle rapper Un-1  – that Vancouver police are actually arresting musicians and confiscating their instruments. From a post on Un-1’s timeline:

“We need to rise as a generation and take responsibility to change our world. Police are arresting musicians in Vancouver now and confiscating instruments. The message made clear, no microphones, no crowds, no fun city. “- Un-1

Bagpipes and tambourines and other percussive instruments? Banned. Those musicians who play such instruments are no longer issued busking permits. Oh, and you can forget about amplification too.

This bylaw not only outraged music lovers and musicians, but even the Vancouver mayor himself. Seriously? Vancouver? Are you really that uncool?

There are other countries that do this too. In Britain, Bongo-player Graeme Conway was banned from busking in Newcastle for “annoying residents and businesses with relentless rhythms.” Apparently he made customers want to groove more than shop.

What do you think? Do you think the City of Vancouver has taken things too far?

How not to ask someone out via text messages

Okay folks. This is how not to ask a person out. The following text messages are from my own cell phone with a man I met while doing my job in Ottawa. I gave him my phone number so that he could order the product I was trying to sell him the next time he was in Montreal.

Him: Hello, this is Sean, you met me at the auto garage yesterday… We talked about your makeup…

Me: Hello Sean. How are you?

Him: I’m am good! It was a pleasure meeting you. So where are you today?

Me: I’m in Montreal but I’m not working until Friday as I am ill. Were you planning to make a trip out here?

Him: Oh, sorry to hear  you are not feeling well… It looks like I will come in for the 30th…

Me: Okay. I’ll put it into my calendar. Let me know if things change.

Him: Hi Lee, does you product have a website?

Me: Makeover-essentials.com. I’m selling the Personalized custom compact for $__+ tax. I’m giving away with it ____, _____ and _____. Bonus is _____ for $10.

Him: Yes I remember. I like the deal.

When I come into town I do business for sure. But I also like to play and I go to a special club with a good friend of mine. And I wonder if you would like to come along?!

Hello?

Me: Hey Sean. Sorry I’ve been away from my phone. Sure let me know when you’re in town.

Him: I hope you are feeling better today…

I love your openness. however, I think I should elaborate on the nature of the evening… The club is an environment where you can explore your desires, thoughts, fantasies, and fetishes…My friend and I like to dress primarily in leather, and watch the evening unfold… We have always wanted another beautiful woman to join us for the evening… I am not sure you are into any of this, but you don’t know until you ask. I hope I didn’t offend you… We are honest, caring, and sincere people…

Me: Hi Sean. No, it doesn’t hurt to ask. I’m pretty conservative and am not into clubbing but I’m not offended by your asking. I wouldn’t be interested in that.

Him: Hi. Thank you for being honest and open… I am curious, are you single?

Me: No Sean, I am not single. I would appreciate it if these questions ceased as they are making me uncomfortable. Thank you.

Him: Ok, for sure…

 

I’ll admit: the blogger in me screamed for me to continue the conversation in order to gain awesome blog content. But I’d like to believe that I am a mature being and a person who is not afraid to set boundaries. Folks:

-it’s okay to have fetishes. 

-it’s okay to try to figure out if the object of your desire is single or not but

 -there are more subtle ways of going about it!  

What sane person would go to a fetish nightclub with strangers from Ottawa who wear leather? 

 Certainly not this girl. 

 

 

Rant on cell phone etiquette

This is bothersome for me and a lot of other people.

Has anyone ever read the chick flick “I’ve got your number?” Not that I don’t love Sophie Kinsella, but why would anyone, man or woman, want to start a relationship based solely on emails and text messages? I’m not bashing online dating here people. The question is: would I want to text message a complete conversation with my boyfriend? He’s my boyfriend: we should be doing things other than messaging each other.

For cell phone users, here are some etiquette rules:

1)When you’re on a date/interview/coffee with friend, and your phone rings mid conversation, ignore it. Best way to do this is to turn it off before you meet with said person. You’re there for the person sitting across from you, and when you answer your phone mid-conversation, it sends the message that you really don’t care about the other person’s time.

2) If your phone rings and you see it’s your mother/potential job offer/person you’ve been playing phone tag with for the last 2 weeks, make an overly painful expression towards your friend and say “I’m really really sorry, I have to take this.” And then make the conversation as short as possible. This tells the other person that you still value their company.

3) Same goes for text messages.

4) For emails, do what Tim Ferris does: set up your email to auto-reply with the message “I check my email at 12pm and 5pm everyday. If it’s urgent matters that cannot be put on hold until these times, please call me at (your number here).” Emailers won’t get anxious at your not replying straight away. It also makes them feel loved and cared for.

5)As a pedestrian, when crossing the street, your first priority should be the cars/cyclists. Don’t text and cross. Don’t talk and cross. It’s pretty much the same thing as being drunk.

6)Don’t text/talk and drive. This is dangerous, like doing drugs and driving. It’s not worth the suffering that you could cause. If you don’t drink and drive, why would you text and drive?

7)Dont’ text and cycle.

8) In fact, just don’t be on moving wheels while on a phone.

9) When you send a text message to your friend, don’t send another text message 30 minutes later asking why she didn’t respond to your last text message. It’s possible that she’s busy/didn’t hear her phone/needs to organize her schedule first before replying. If you don’t hear back after the next day, feel free to send a gentle reminder. Some people just forget. Don’t text her asking if she’s pissed off with you. Don’t send two or three text messages in a row. Don’t tell her she’s not very good at text messaging because she doesn’t get back to you instantly. She’s not on hold, ready and waiting to respond to you in real time. She’s got a life outside her phone for goodness sake.

10)Asking someone out via text is just not classy. But maybe I’m just old fashioned.

11) Online daters: don’t suss out a potential date via text messages. Call the dam person. You’ll get a better idea if that person is a psychopath anyway by hearing them on the phone. And if the person isn’t a psychopath, you can rest assured that they won’t ever have to think why the f*ck did we converse via text message?

Anymore? I’m writing this because I just got my first smart phone and I already hate it.

Coming up: Umbrella etiquette.

Performance in the 21st Century – A Scientific Report: Part Two!!!!!!!

 
 
An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.” Mae West. 
 
All the world’s a stage.” Bill Shakespeare
After a fairly typical youth of skipping out of school and blowing money on girls, R. Buckminster Fuller suddenly found himself at a difficult crossroads and made a commitment to devote the rest of his life to the betterment of humanity. He had no formal university credentials or specialized training beyond a stint in the Navy, (when asked, he identified himself primarily as a “sailor”) but nevertheless pursued and achieved a great deal in diversified fields of study including architecture (he is best known of course for the Geodesic Dome which is visible in many cities around the world including our own Science World in Vancouver), engineering, design, cartography, economics, mathematics and poetry. Buckminster Fuller believed in a utopia that could be achieved through technology and mass production. He created the concept of CADS, a Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science that would “make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”➀ In the 1930’s and 40’s when he was first introducing his revolutionary inventions, 
(notably the Dymaxion House and the Dymaxion Car:
 
(Dynamic… Maximum… Action? Buckminster Fuller also like to make up his own words) he was largely regarded in the scientific community as a sort of lunatic, although harmless. He was an untraditional thinker, a futurist visionary who sought real solutions to improve situations world-wide, pursuing an ideal of global harmony and abundance for everyone and backing up all his assertions with scientific method and statistics. “I started with the Universe: as an organization of regenerative principles frequently manifest as energy systems of which all our experiences, and possible experiences, are only local instances” ➁. 
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Thus, all of the energy that exists in the universe is constant: it has always existed in one form or another. Energy is transformed into matter and back into energy again. During the frenzy of industrialization and mass production in the 20th century, a great deal of pollution (wasted resources) (“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.”)➂ was generated due to everyone’s excitement over suddenly available “STUFF” like never before, a vastly “increased” standard of living in select parts of the world. Long ago in 1992, things were already getting serious. A conglomerate of more than 1,700 top scientists from all over the world issued as collective statement, the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”➃ stating that we, the world, (especially YOU-KNOW-WHO-YOU-ARE) had better get our act together as the window of opportunity for reversing the damage that we as a species had inflicted on our natural habitat was running out. We could keep having fun shopping and water-skiing and robbing future generations of breathable air, delicious fresh water, seafood, scenic nature walks, interesting animal friends, etc., or we could call it a day and start to slowly stick things back together again. Looking at our current world situation now, 20 years later, it’s difficult to believe that enough of us took the warning at all seriously. As the great big comforting lump of our planet continues to spin reassuringly through the heavens, our biosphere, the fragile layer that comprises all of the earth, air and water that sustains all of life here is threatened by increasing pollution and decay. Nonetheless we have continued to swish to and fro in the “family car”, guzzling fast food and generally behaving “unsustainably”, perhaps believing that somehow the world wasn’t really our problem and that somebody else (let’s point fingers now at the big ugly smokestack in the centre of what’s-that-town– way worse than us!) would surely clean up the mess. It is quite possible now that our chance to do so has run out. 
In the midst of so much complaining about “the way things are” by the disillusioned and the disenfranchised (including a lot of us artists who could never afford to go water-skiing anyway) it is important to remember what Buckminster Fuller succinctly pointed out: that ideas and conclusions have no social importance unless they are transformed into tangible entities. We may indeed be doomed, but the sun is still shining and in the meantime we have little choice but to make some hay with sustainable farming practices. 
 
By the 60’s and 70’s, Fuller was lecturing at universities around the world, had received a slew of honorary degrees, had been endorsed by the likes of Albert Einstein and was consultant to several world leaders of the day including our own extra-saucy ex-prime-minister Pierre Trudeau. He continued to reference the absurdities inherent in modern industrial life, how society is shaped by our meaningless obsession with the work ethic resulting in unnecessary work, inefficiency, “job creation” and other such nonsense. 
 
Fuller showed us that Energy=Wealth. Because energy cannot be created or destroyed therefore wealth is also constant. “Wealth does not come from the bank. All energy and wealth and growth emanates from the stars and energy is pouring down upon us… Energy is actual wealth if its rate of conversion through work is rapid enough to stem natural chaos and leave a residue of arbitrarily spendable time.”➄ “The importance of arriving at man’s ‘work’ or energy conversion rate is that the determination of the means of accomplishing work with the least energy and time loss is the primary need of the day, and is, therefore, the goal of all scientists-artists and the criterion of efficiency amplification is unimplemented man”➅. So proper utilization of the available energy in the universe equals our freedom, and Fuller demonstrated that it was an achievable goal for everyone in the world if only we cared enough to make it happen.  
 
I like Buckminster Fuller’s ideas because they continue to give me hope and they confirm with facts, figures and the tracking of world resources my lifelong suspicion that much of what passes for “work” in our modern society is in fact merely a sort of glorified welfare that is doled out in return for the unquestioning completion of inane and ludicrous tasks often created at the expense of many who still live in poverty. It is a means for control that plays on our sense of guilt and an abstract and ill-informed “desire to contribute” and be a socially-acceptable “productive member of society”. As a kid I was intensely skeptical when my parents made it clear that it would be in my best interests to “learn to type” as then I would surely “end up with a good job” (good enough for a girl anyway…) 
“Money costs more than you think”, writes French economist Corinne Maier in her hilarious 2005 book Bonjour Laziness– Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay. “In the struggle between the corporation and you, the corporation always wins, just as in the jungle the lion usually gets the better of the antelope”➆. She suggests that if you don’t have the option of quitting your job, the best way to make the most of things in the world of big business is to look busy, keep your mouth shut and do absolutely as little as possible because nothing you do will make any difference anyway. This can apply to other situations as well. When I recently questioned a relative of mine who has been employed with the City of Vancouver for the last 30 years what it was he did at his desk job, he replied, after a short consideration, “Well… I don’t really know…”
 
It is refreshing to realize that as performing artists emerging from the warm cocoon of a college education into the so-called “real world” we are now free to do exactly as we like because let’s face it, society is not dangling any very tasty-looking carrots our way. We could go work on a cruise ship, earn lots of money and make a meaningful contribution to Big Business and its attendants Pollution, Gluttony, Greed, Boredom and Alcoholism; we could make wonderful paychecks via jobs on TV and in advertising or “hit records” if we are pretty enough or at least brave enough to undergo facelift operations and cap our teeth; or we can live in poverty for a couple of years (the romance of the starving artist) performing poorly paid, poorly attended gigs in order to “establish ourselves” so we can be eligible to apply for the ever-diminishing supply of arts grants (or perhaps alternately try winning the lottery). 
 
But who cares? The future of the arts and indeed EVERYTHING ELSE (at least in human terms) is nebulous and problematic at best but problems can be fun because they require solutions. As part of the grand scheme, artists have a special relationship to the beauty that one finds in the midst of the cosmic mess. I’ll wind this up with a couple more quotes from my favorite dude, Mr. R.B. Fuller. “On personal integrity hangs humanity’s fate” and also, “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I’ve finished, if the solution isn’t beautiful, I know it’s wrong.”➇
 
Footnotes
➀ R.B.Fuller. I’m quoting from memory here and far too lazy to dig my giant pile of books to figure out where this one came from.
➁ Ditto.
➂ Bucky Fuller. I think I found this quote on one of those websites with all the quotes from famous people.   
➃ “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”. I wonder if I knew about this at the time? Anyway David Suzuki reminded me. Also: 
➄ Page 64, Nine Chains to the Moon by R.B. Fuller. 
➅ Page 67, Nine Chains to the Moon by R.B. Fuller. 
➆ Page 39 Bonjour Laziness by the wonderful Corrine Maier.
➇ Same as ➂
 
Works cited/ plundered/ plagiarized:
 
Cowen, Tyler
Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World
2009, Penguin Group Inc. New York NY
 
Fuller, Buckminster
Anthology for the New Millenium 
(Ed. Thomas T.K. Zung) 2001. St. Martin’s Press, New York NY
 
Fuller, Buckminster
Nine Chains to the Moon
1963, Southern Illinois University Press, Illinois
 
Maier, Corrine
Bonjour Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay
2006, Vintage Books New York NY
 
Schumacher, E.F.
Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered
1973, Blond and Briggs Ltd., London, UK
 
Suzuki, David
The Legacy: An Elder’s Vision for our Sustainable Future
2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver BC