Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pessimism as a driving force?

Recently, I wrote about my granddad Tjibbe, and how much he enjoys his daily dose of sambal. Even though Boersma's indeed like it hot and in general have quite a good dose of self mockery, we are also a bit heavyhearted at times. I know this might be hard to imagine given my mostly (often, sometimes) cheerful disposition. But I think it can be said: We Boersma's are a bunch of pessimists.

My dad with my sister Ayla, pessimists?
Just last week I went out for a very lively and tasty dinner with my dad and I realized that he seems to have given up on the world - in the sense that he cannot see what he could contribute to change course. I had quite recently also almost done so, but have slightly regained faith (because of initiatives such as Your Lab and podcasts like this one by Chris Turner on TVO). To be honest, I am in part to blame for my dad's dark outlook on the future; I gave him 'Guns, Germs and Steel', a book by Jared Diamond describing how humans have been pursuing commercial gain and bringing forth destruction since the beginnings of history. I have not yet read the book - even though every time I see my dad, he tells me to. So, I guess I should. I did already read another book by Mister Diamond and it did not really cheer me up.

Goofy and happy (with drop, THE best Dutch invention ever), yet downright pessimists
While riding my bike home, I realized that yes, the odds seem to be against us as a humankind. We have created islands of plastic, are consuming much more than the environment can handle and have created an economic system that seems beyond repair. Of course, my dad is right in many ways: we cannot all live lavish lives and solve our global issues at the same time. I know he's right about the hypocrisy in me, in so many of us - we do want it all. But, instead of sitting around waiting for the world to end, I would rather do something more fun and rewarding. It could be organizing massive street games so we can go down playing. Or something to try to prevent the end of the world from happening anytime soon.

One of my recurring thoughts is to start a re-fill shop. This would be a place where you can come with your empty bottles and fill them up with shampoo, dish soap, olive oil or soy sauce. You can bring jars and fill them with rice, pasta, salt or dried beans. It'll be a tiny little thing, but heck, it's something. So, let's get to work. Who's with me on the re-fill shop?

Only if you can handle it: Jared Diamond on "Why Societies Collapse?"


Beatriz said...

Me, me! :)

Amis Boersma said...


Susan Soesilowati said...

And of course your mamie!I already started with the plastic bags!