Business as Usual (BAU) is the world we live, particularly those of us who are middle class and enjoy some or many privileges: it is the delusion that the world as we know it (with TV, Internet, continuous “progress”, universities, jobs and businesses) will continue to be the same or even better in 20, 40 or more years.
It is also the everyday world for many others who wish their lives become more like those of the middle class ones: they work, save, get into debt, send their children to the best schools they can afford, immigrate to “First world” countries and emulate the lives of the Westerners with the hope theirs will become the same, only to find that they are treated as second class citizens and that the fruits (when reached) were not that sweet after all.
BAU is everywhere from media to governments and corporations sharing messages that convince people that things are all under control if only they study more, work harder and buy the next gadget, car, dress or drink.
BAU is breaking down and falling apart, but it is also very resilient and supported by the making money out of nothing from banks and governments, the investment games, and the aggressive extraction of resources in places more and more remote each time. It is also deeply supported by all of us: our fears of the unknown, our collective trauma and colonization of minds and hearts that say that anything different from what we have is suspicious or plainly bad. It is also supported by our behaviours: our consumerism, our engagement with harmful systems, institutions and dynamics.
But Business as Usual cannot be supported forever because its full existence is based in a blip of time and the limited availability of non renewable resources: we could not possibly have business as usual without fossil fuels (no matter how many renewables we developed, they couldn’t possible keep the pace or replace everything), without furthering destruction of ecosystems and extraction and without deeply polluting the world. BAU counts on modern slavery and inequality to continue and that alone makes it hideous and unsustainable.
There is no point on trying to completely disengage: we all, whether we are conscious or not, have some kind of dependency and relationship with business as usual. There is also no point on blaming or shaming.
What we can do is to observe at the ways we are engaged and dependent and how we can learn skills and create new structures so we can start disengaging. We can also see how much of our life energy, time, money, relationships and need are invested in BAU and choose to move them somewhere else.
What I find important and deeply decolonizing is to not only not point fingers and judge, but to build bridges so others can also leave BAU behind.
One of the things I share in my Regenerative Livelihood workshops and consultancies is: find ways, even fun ways on how you can disrupt the system: it can be something as small and funny as dressing in ways that don’t align with what is expected from someone your age, gender, etc. or the place you are…to the ways you decorate your home and share your meals, tools and resources. I chose all of those and I also chose doing things for minimum fees or free, exchanging for other things or skills or just offering them in non-linear and expected ways.
How do you engage with BAU? How do you disrupt the system?