Air Pressure / Stress and an unlikely solution

The pressure at 35km under the ocean will crush a human

Did you get lost swimming?

Stress is the elephant that sits on your chest


Keeps you awake at night rushing like a train through your veins

Why would you choose it, hand over hand over hand

Ascending a rope to nowhere?

Perhaps you didn’t choose it – you just live beside it, attached by an invisible thread

Beneath the ocean is quiet, dark and deep

Did you get lost swimming?


You would have run out of air long before you reached down here

Long hair flowing on the tides that no one sees, but some can sense


Nobody swims 35km straight down deep

Mermaids are fables are they not?

Or perhaps they are just incredibly strong

And live, at the bottom of oceans

Where no human being belongs

*Some people create their own stress. Like a habit they choose the drama – sometimes unconsciously – or it chooses them and like an animal caught in the headlights they are run over again and again, cortisol addiction – it’s real. Some people have stress thrust upon them, like an unwelcome relative that wasn’t invited and no one saw coming.

Stress is a disease more virulent than the flu. It emanates from the pores of another, like smoke through the room, second hand breathing leaves the non smoker wheezing

When it is gone, for whatever reason, I swear the air is different

I light incense and the trails move in languid twirls and spirals instead of straight up and to the right

It seems to sigh

So do I, my chest expands, and I can breathe again.

I like to listen to people I don’t necessarily always agree with in order to try and remain open to other opinions and points of view. A balanced perspective. I would hate to become so closely adhered to my own ideas that it blinds me. Besides, I enjoy those moments when the way I have thought about the world gets turned on it’s head and an entirely new view opens up.

So when it comes to politics – which I usually avoid – I find it worthwhile, listening at least to the other side. Today that was Sarah Wilson’s podcast Wild Ideas. I can feel her shaking the way I have been bought up, I can feel her shaking a few different trees actually.

I’ve been listening to her interview with Jason Hickel on the mind tumbling concept of economic degrowth. Western society is so addicted to growth and consumerism – it is leading to the destruction of the planet, keeping people on treadmills to nowhere and increasing disease and health problems from things like stress, heart disease and obesity.

Interestingly, some countries like New Zealand and Ireland are already moving towards alternative models.

Green ideas will not save us, we have to simply learn to live with less, consume less and change what we are consuming. That idea sits at odds with the capitalist mindset – one which I benefit from I might add.

As construction business owners, I’m aware our business model is capitalism in motion. If you would like to see environmental waste, then look at the aftermath of any building project – we try, but the off cuts and plastic wrapping and materials that we use are quite horrific. And then there is the high stress and physical detriment of being a business owner in general. Would I change all this? Yes in a heartbeat, and as every year passes I grow more tired of it.

There are two ways to be secure (which is what keeps most people on the treadmill) One – become rich. Two – live within your means and reduce unnecessary consumption.

Sometimes it feels futile to be making changes at an individual level and we give up – if nothing else the podcast this morning reminded me not to do that.

Here’s the podcast interview, because I don’t like to raise a topic without also raising a potential solution – I think this is a valid one.

Blog post written 24/3/22 thanks to Sandra Bitman Unsplash for header photo.

8 thoughts on “Air Pressure / Stress and an unlikely solution

  1. Well, I hear you. I see what’s attractive about some of their narrative. I live or did (until I came here to care for my dad and try to keep the house in the family), a very pared down existence. Simplified, tried to get rid of things. Sounds good and is a good way to live. Always a fan of Thoreau, but that’s a personal decision and different than centralized (globalize) top-driven socialism, forced on people by a tyrannical government. It’s never worked and people stop contributing if all this is not their choice, I think. Read TC Boyle Drop City, and he’s a liberal. Also, take a look at this globalist nonsense about transhumanism and more. It’s a Brave New World they are talking about and it’s been written in dystopian novels a long time. That doesn’t mean everything they say is wrong — those who I don’t agree with — that’s why we have a free society and open debate (something being shut down in America now). There is state propaganda, outright lies, and a “narrative.” They are ends justify means people with no principals and those who disagree must be demonized or silenced or both. That is not a way forward. Some of their goals can be achieved in a capitalist society. But freedom cannot exist in what they are proposing, their way. No socialist or communist society has worked long. And who do you put in charge of something like that? Concentrating power in such few hands? Competition (of IDEAS primarily) is why capitalism is the best we have found. Not perfect. But the reason the US works better than anywhere else is because of federalism and our fifty states! And the second amendment, which protects citizenry from a tyranical government -its purpose (criminals will get guns off the black market and crazies). They can’t do much now as a centralized government. Our founders were brilliant men. But they are trying to take away power of the states and centralize corruption. Dangerous things happening here. Compromise is always good, but conflict is also not bad. History mourns over those who went along with evil to avoid conflict. I always enjoy your thoughtful posts.

    • Thanks Lynn, I enjoy your thoughtful replies, a lot to take in – I’m not as familiar with the American political system, it is far more protective of individual rights then how our system feels, or seems to be.
      We are very over governed and our leaders and are very controlling. Perhaps we need that in some ways , not every person is capable of the more high ordered thinking required to protect the community above their individual needs. The trouble is that if the government keeps taking the weight of responsibility off the individual then we live within a society where no one knows how to take responsibility except leaders and business owners – who bear far too much responsibility. We need a system where personal responsibility is enforced instead of personal rights promoted. People want the rights without the responsibility – in fact I think there is a groundswell of people that do not know what responsibility is or how to manage themselves. Responsibility leads to meaningful lives and protection of the people around us, rights (without responsibility) lead to the idea that we can have our cake and eat it too and unfortunately all these people eating cake is bad for both individual health and environmental health. Our world is a reflection of who we are. Micro/macro and as above, so below.
      Entitlement and convenience is eroding our planet. All of that said, I choose to be hopeful because individuals now have more power than ever, we need some more great ones coming through, and we need the masses to begin to be more worried about their responsibilities as humans that live limited lifespans, to become custodians rather than consumers. There’s a lot to be said and argued here really, too difficult for one post or response for sure 😊

  2. p.s. It’s also an elitist idea — we know what’s best for humanity. I do not believe that’s possible. Small agrarian societies that traded and had their own interests worked best. Most of our problems are arising because of globalism. But everybody should have a place at the discussion table. These people do NOT know what’s best for humanity. I’m a conservationist but they are using climate change as a political issue. I’m sorry, but the little they know about viruses they can study directly shows me they likely have some things wrong about the universe. Hubris. Gain of function, late term abortion, nuclear power, GMO and pesticides. “Science.” ? I was and am a fan, but as Einstein said, “technology has surpassed our humanity.” There’s no way they have all this right about the universe and what is happening here. These elites are using it (and now a virus) for world domination. It’s not a conspiracy theory. Check out the UK website on transhumanism: I checked. At the time he wrote this, it WAS on the UK government website, though they did not claim it as their “official position.” r. Malone of course is the scientist who developed the first technology that made mRNA vaccines possible.

    • Thanks Lynn, I agree that environmental concerns have become politicised and everyone knows how that ends. Just a token shuffling of a hot potato that ends with grand declarations and stupid knee jerk responses that do absolutely nothing and benefit the few and can be manipulated to increase money instead of results – I’m thinking carbon credits and green washing to name a few.

  3. You’ve described our human predicament in a nutshell: our very lives depend upon a destructive economic model. I have a son who works in home repair and renovation. Our pursuit of luxury has no limits.

    • Hi Rosaliene – no limits is the mantra of the capitalist machine and unfortunately that sort is hedonism simply feeds an addiction to more. I look at Putin and the amount of destruction one human being can cause within a couple of months and then I think of the rubbish piles and waste and think of the destruction that collectively we are contributing to on a daily basis and it isn’t overwhelmingly sad. The recent floods washing all that debris into the ocean. The people speak of global warming but I’m actually more distressed by plastics and micro plastics and waste and the saturation of our oceans with filth and the pillaging of our eco systems on both land and oceans. Actually I’m distressed about a lot of things when I begin to think about it. People are becoming grossly entitled without taking responsibility and unfortunately our systems are promoting this. Our media is promoting this. Until the return of responsibility over entitlement occurs or at least responsibility with entitlement -the human species will continue to eat itself alive and suck every other species into that toxic spiral.

      • Kate, I’m also distressed about a lot of things. Adding to my distress is the awareness of my past and continued complicity in all this destruction. Breaking free from the socioeconomic systems we humans have created will not be easy. In Part II of their book, Deep Adaptation: Navigating the Realities of Climate Chaos–an overview of which I will share in a later post–Jem Bendell lists “entitlement” as the first of six pillars of our belief system that has led to our destructive behavior as a species.

      • Entitlement yes and convenience Rosaliene – convenience is where I reach for plastic wrapping instead of using a beeswax wrap or a container because I’m feeling to rushed. I try and check myself to slow down. That after all is what has created this monster of consumption. Rush, stress, hard work makes us think we deserve – are entitled to convenience and luxury which then filters into everything around us. I think guilt for where we have been or even for the little slip ups that might occur now and then, serves no purpose. We are at least aware and we return to trying – that’s all we can do. Millions trying to be better and creating incremental change is better than just a few carrying the load. This isn’t a government fix – or not entirely, I think it begins as all great movements do – from the ground up. Looking forward to your future post on the subject.

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