Today is remarkable. I put in paperwork to offer to buy land! Verbally, the seller has already accepted the offer. I have never bought real estate before.
I am purchasing two small lots that sit side by side in Saskatchewan. They belong to an area that the city is incorporating into city limits under city jurisdiction. For instance, the lots just got civic addressed.
The land was farmland but much of it has been abandoned and lain idle for about 100 years. Recently, the city rezoned the area, slating it for residential development. So says the realtor involved, a company acting as agents for both buyers and sellers. While it is in its hands, I guess investors are invited to buy pieces and hold onto it temporarily as a means of generating revenue for infrastructure. That is what one friend of mine conjectured and it makes sense to me. Anyway, buyers can only buy and retain temporary title to earn appreciation on the value of the land, but they will have to sell to a developer eventually, which could be in two years or maybe later. In the meantime, ownership on many lots is already turning over; for example, I’m buying from a previous investor who has no doubt made something like $5,000. I hope my purchase brings a similar return in two to five years. It should, because the city is growing and land values in general are on the rise.
The circumstances are favourable for me. I have enough cash for a smallish investment. To me, it is like moving my money from one form of savings account to another in order to get a better return, with the added benefit of increasing my potential for security back in Canada. It is similar to the smallish purchase of gold that I made recently in the hope of getting more than what banks pay in interest on money put aside for the future.
Another benchmark for me occurred today: I uploaded Volume Three of this blog project to the Smashwords website to join the previous two completed Volumes. I wrote an introduction and conclusion to Volume Three yesterday. Finding some free time this afternoon, I thought I should take care of the task of uploading it today as it is a little late considering that the timeframe of blogging for Volume Three was to end on August 13.
Fittingly, August 13 fell around the end of the ILPS International Peace Solidarity Mission. It was the day I parted company with S who left Korea on the following day. The Peace Mission is a good and appropriate bridge to Volume Four, which I want to deal with social change as a motive, angle and goal of living with a positive perspective.
I think people can get energy and hope out of working towards improving the conditions of humanity and the natural environment. Working towards social change for lasting peace and social justice can keep us from being overly preoccupied with our pain and our selves. Also, it can keep us looking for solutions to problems, and reaching out to others for ideas and assistance. Social change as a motive and goal of daily living goes beyond being generous and charitable, beyond community voluntarism. It takes us to addressing the world such as it is and being part of the solution. It can motivate people to be actors rather than passive onlookers. It can build associations among positive thinkers including various kinds of activists, and thus build energy, ingenuity and further resources to facilitate the growth of movements for change how and where they can.
Though some may believe that working towards social change means to be absorbed in the negative and turning into agents of conflict, I beg to differ. My perspective on positive thinking and attitude opts to frankly address problems, including frictions and preferences regarding people, acknowledge problems and then develop strategies in order to take action to solve them. I also have been emphasizing working together and thereby building alternative culture and communities along the way. In short, it is healthier to air out the facts, say how we feel, and make adjustments, rather than to submit to our own oppression and pain.
I do not take a passive stand to life in general, or to peace in particular. I remember reading a poem presented in the Vancouver International Peace Poetathon the other day, and thinking how saccharine sweet and limp the message was. It was expressing an impossible vision of peaceful life, and one that may suit the afterlife but not the life before us. This poem envisioned a utopian harmony. Life could never really be like that because it is life.
Life is a process of change that features struggle and conflict. Growth does not happen without radical transformations. It does not happen without birth and death.
I occasionally watch science programs. Lately, I have been watching documentaries that explain the changes and explosions in the universe that create or transform matter, and cause adjustments to solar intensity, alignments of planets, compositions of galaxies, magnetic fields, radio wave transmissions, speed and direction of movement, and so on and so forth. I have been reminded that human habitations sit on a ball of fire as hot as our sun that erupts from time to time and constantly shakes and knocks about the crust of the Earth, at times drastically effecting life populations and habitations with tsunamis, floods, avalanches, lava flows, and more. Our planet and all other celestial bodies are in constant motion, and they have beginnings and ends. Violence and change is the nature of the universe and life on Earth.
A wise person, armed with the knowledge that is easily obtainable in this day and age, acknowledges this reality. A wise person does not expect passivity nor acts passive all the time. It is to realize that there are aggressors and learn how to build defenses, and fight in a principled way to resist domination, exploitation and inequality in unified coordinated communal discussion and action. Taking an active stance means being a dynamic open-minded and flexible person willing to speak the truth. I do not mean becoming aggressive people. I do not mean becoming vigilantes or joining gangs or mobs, or supporting armies ordered to attack, rape and beat the weak and innocent, or the territorial and politically autonomous, or ideologically or theologically different. I do not mean turning to a life of theft and crime, or undermining life, on a small or big scale.
In social life, one should acknowledge contradictions and imbalances. There are standards today, though few powers that be practice them. We humans are only part of the way to a workable democracy and very far away from social equality. We have yet to establish a reliable method on negotiations, while practicing enforcement of standards, to arrive at cooperation and find arrangements to sustain social balance adequate enough to avert war as a method, debilitate the means of domination and aggression, and discourage greed and lust for individual power.
Look, I do not mean to say that everyone must take on the project of changing the world or regional system today. There are many small and local ways in which we can all contribute in important ways to putting human societies on a healthier course. That said, I still think that everyone should participate in education on what has happened and is happening and why, and engage in discussion for education, analysis and strategy building.
Well, I have four months to discuss this. I need to develop and formulate my own understanding of and on “struggling for social change”. I will keep on writing and it will come to me.