If OWS or other “occupation” movements turn out to be anything other than a minor footnote in someone’s analysis of U.S. society, I fantasize that while I sit under a shade tree years from now whittling my dance pegs, one of my grandsons asks me that question. “Well,” I would answer, “having been strangers occupying an even stranger land for decades by then, some other folks and I were busy ‘de-occupying’ society. Yep. We were a group lousy with graduate degrees and professional training – we, too, were fed up with things.”
Since all of life is a learning experience, I would continue to describe the land we were sitting on, taking note of how we enriched the soils, conserved water, raised livestock and grew food crops, and tapped into sustainable solar, geothermal and wind energies. I would tell him about how we made sure to deliver food to those who needed it, young or old, and took care of one another’s needs as members of a community.
I might go so far as to delve into the history of what lead to the OWS. How individuals worked their entire lives seeking out new “things” to have and to do, and about how unbalanced their lives were as they continued to seek new goals that others set for them. How a few used power and fear to manipulate many. Perhaps I would describe my own complicity in a system that exercised physical ‘police powers’, and my role as a priest in a religion of laws that bound many in its web of fictions.
At some point, he would have enough of my “teaching”. He would ask another question or start looking distracted, and it would be time for him to wander off… I would resume my whittling or get up to do the chores.
Through a simple question, my grandson would have taught me that the both of us “occupy” our lives from moment to moment and that teachable moments arise at all times and under all circumstances.
“Occupy education” and occupy life.