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Regarding the conversation with Theodore Roszak and his essay “Anna in the Aisles of Plenty” [April 1994] — yes, we are being seduced by continuous novelty in exchange for freedom. We let bosses and managers control us forty hours every week, and in return we get to watch a lot of TV and go shopping. Now that we’re becoming disgruntled with the system and thinking that democracy is something we might want to participate in, they’re coming up with five hundred channels to distract us. Shopping channels. Being spoiled into oblivion is what’s ahead of us. We’re so accustomed to our cages that we only look forward to being let out on weekends. Is our imagination of what-could-be stunted?
If only we could loosen up and not go to work. Then we could walk down the street visiting all the neighbors we rarely see — listening to their stories, helping to plant lettuce and peas, learning to enjoy each other’s company. We’d have time to go fishing, and if the stream were dead we could plant cattails and help the companies who are polluting it find better things to do. We’d be having too much fun living our lives to need to show off expensive belongings. We’d no longer see success and marriage as the goals in life, and we’d have time to learn how to play drums, write poetry, build our own house out of old tires and scrap timber. And chaos might reign and not all would go smoothly, but it would be so much better than exporting guns and stirring up trouble to monopolize oil. Phooey on the apocalypse!