30 Nov Life in Santiago and American friends
I did much work on the computer and decided to go for a walk to Los Leones Station, it is about a 40 minute walk. I am doing some research into highly evolved societies so took my book with me. I stopped had some cafe con leche (coffee with milk) and lunch. Then walked on and just walked towards where I was told the river is. I noticed huge skyscrapers and took some photos. I am walking through the financial district and the wealth is unmistakable. I saw some interesting sculptures which I will upload to the photo gallery. I am constantly thinking about where we are going in the future and how it will look. I watch all the cars in traffic jams as it is around peak time, everyone is going home. It is no different to Australia. I see the illogical flows of traffic systems that have everyone leaving at the same time. I never understood this, I always thought a flexi time system would work really well. People clock on and off when they want. They essentially do the 7-8 hours they are supposed to do but anytime between 5am and 10pm. So that would alleviate traffic conjestion, everyone has different time clocks. I am a late night person not early morning. You could also have job share where everyone works part-time but paid at 3 quarters of the full-time wage. This would maximise employment, minimise fatigue and road rage and would expand leisure time. That is what I would do if you vote for me haha. One day I should start the clown party to show the world the joke we are in. I say that with a laugh not cynicism. I don´t think we have planned work with human happiness in mind. It is all around corporate profit and efficiency is just minimising costs maximising output and wages are costs of production. I think it would be much better to have all workers were shareholders, immediately their status becomes one of partner not subordinate. The class system would disappear over night. The yield would have factored into it social benefit so it is not purely self interest. There are lots of ways to build in incentive to become socially orientated and a society that promotes wellbeing.
I keep walking around just looking and noticing the people. They look very serious. I think about clowning around and sometimes I get surges of energy where I just want to start dancing around. We are so heavily conditioned to conform. One of the things I notice as a clown is that the weight of the world leaves my shoulders when i put on my play hat. When I go into the mind set of just loving everyone and smiling, it feels so light and free. I really love it, it is the only experience of true freedom I have ever had. So at least I have a physical experience of what it feels like. That is a good thing.
I see a Indian restaurant and order a tea. I can hear these American voices behind me talking about not having the time to make dinner and do the house work. I laughingly lean over and say just get a man who likes to do those things. Rare but it would be great. The girls laugh and ask me to join them. Turns out they are living here in Santiago, two of them have husbands working here and one is working for an electricity company dealing with overhead power lines. Interesting line of work (haha). I told them I am a clown and they found my journey interesting. They are christian I believe and I told them I didn´t believe in hell but felt that heaven was on earth. It is the way we see the world that affects that. That is not to say that negative things don´t happen, they do all the time, but how we choose to see and react to life creates our experience. As a clown I see only beauty and my mind set is open to love. I told them for me god is love, nothing else. I didn´t want to confront them too much in the face of their beliefs but I am just putting another worldview, I find people very accepting of me and I appreciate them allowing me a space to differ. I am not necessarily saying I am right, but it is my experience. When clowning at a HIV clinic I don´t see aids, I see people who have sparks in their eyes. When I clown with a blind child, I don´t see blindness I see the child clap with delight at hearing my whistle. So it is a different way of seeing. I can´t be the other person and take on their pain, but I can bring some joy to a moment, and that is what I try to do. I think they could see my point. Two of them work in orphanages and I said I would love to go. They said the kids reach up to hug you, so loving they are. I really would love to go and give some time and fun for the kids. I love the kids so much, sometimes I walk past kids and just feel I want to go clowning with them. They are the most wonderful audience, there is no judgement just fun and chasing around. Kids have a beautiful mindset.
We also talked a bit about Australia. One of the lady´s lived there for 4 years. She had children finishing university there. She was quite an educated women and very confident. I like American women they are very interesting, I like their assertiveness. We talked about Australian´s and I mentioned I believe more are becoming alcoholics. Whilst they are easy going they are also working very hard. I asserted the longest hours in the world, but I was corrected by Marion the American lady who said American´s do. She said you just have to add up leave. She was right, we get 4 weeks leave, in the US they only get 2 weeks if that. They have less holidays. She pointed out the trade labour movement was stronger in Australia. She is right. They have been under attack particularly by the former Howard Government who tried to squeeze trade unions out of the workplace by bringing in enterprise bargaining and getting employees onto contracts. This disempowers the employee if they are not in a unionised workplace, they have no one to help rebalance the power. Also employees are not good at bargaining for higher wages, particularly in employment environments of high unemployment. So the enterprise bargaining system was really designed to bring wages down, as the employers were influential in the Liberal party and the government at the time represented them. So yes unionism in Australia is better and the ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) has done a remarkable job at keeping themselves viable in climates where they are under pressure. They have been proactive in trying to create a more fair and tolerant Australia. There are also cases of unions who are bullies and have an adversarial stance to management, that certainly was the history, but I think they are more white collar now and well educated. So this lady made an important observation. We also talked about alcoholism where people relax having a wine at home. They are less religious in Australia, she was quoting something like 5% attending church, she would be close there. Most people are athiest with a sizeable number who are spiritual. I think the lack of a sens eof meaning or spiritual awareness along with a culture of work, television, sleep, work again promotes the drinking of alcohol to feel alive again. It is not just in Australia it is increasing worldwide, a culture of escapism from stress.
So I had a great time with these ladies, they shared their food with me, then I made the 40 minute walk back to my hosts place. I got home around 11.30pm. He was with friends drinking. He asked if I wanted a drink, I decided to have a wine, although I don´t drink much. So Chilians are also finding ways to relax and socialise. We had a nice talk, his sister inviting me to clown at the hospital. I said yes, but my sleep was pretty bad, so now I will go Thursday.
Anyway, only a few days before I head to New Zealand. I am ready for home.