Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Don't Piss Off the Yogurt, Female Chauvinist Pigs

Tom Shadyac sits mere inches from an angry bowl of yogurt. Why is the yogurt quivering with angst? Because Shadyac has just sent waves of tension into the ether, and -- the yogurt is ALIVE. A scientist with a Will Ferrell 'fro and awesome 1970s specs has inserted sensors into the yogurt, and then caused Shadyac stress by referencing his agent, lawyer, and ex-wife. Shadyac, not at all connected to the yogurt except by the air shared between them, made the yog-o-meter fluctuate wildly just by the energy he was exuding, his stressful feelings of unresolved conflict.

Watching "I Am," Shadyac's documentary about the connectedness of all things, I was in turn inspired, moved to tears, grossed out (look AWAY when you see an image of an eyeball), and concerned that I might never want to eat yogurt again. And I love yogurt, especially the good, thick Greek kind. But because my yogurt has live bacteria, part of the reason it's so good for me, is also the reason that it responds to the energy I'm giving off. So now, just before I devour it, I send waves of love and sunshine to my Chobani.

The brilliant minds and hearts whom Shadyac interviews on his journey warn us that we're facing a major change in how we live.  If we don't act in more compassion and cooperation, we won't survive, or at least not living life as we know it. The film highlights that in Darwin's Descent of Man, published in 1871, Darwin only mentions the phrase “survival of the fittest” twice, while he mentions the word “love” 95 times.  "As Thom Hartmann notes in “I AM,” behavior across the animal kingdom regularly demonstrates cooperation—from the group selection of a watering hole, to the flocking of birds, to the schooling of fish.  “It’s in our DNA,” says Thom Hartmann.  “We are born to be our brother’s keeper."  (Borrowed from Steven Meloan's blog.)

Shortly after watching the doc, I started reading the book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture.  I'm having a hard time putting it down, it's so juicy and enlightening.  More on that in another post.  Tonight, I was reminded of the theory of cooperation and a sea change in our way of life while reading about the women's and anti-war movements in the 70s.  Author Ariel Levy writes, "Brownmiller, characteristically, was seeking something more momentous and unwieldy: nothing less than the overthrow of the patriarchy, which had to start in the minds and bedrooms of Americans as well as the workplace — change from the inside out." She continues to quote how Bill Ayers described his involvement in the Weathermen's protest activities, "I was committed to being a part of what I thought was going to be a really serious and ongoing rebellion; upheaval that had the potential of not just ending the war, but of really overthrowing the Capitalist system and put[ting] in its place something much more humane."

Where are we making those changes today?  What can we do?  We can start with awareness of the emotions that we feel and are exerting upon every living being, even our breakfast foods.  And we can try to be the change we want to see, as one loving and powerfully compassionate man taught us.

We can pay more attention to each other, and injest more Michael Franti:

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