First of all I would like to qualify my statement: “the acceptance of pain and suffering.”It was written in the context of what a life of not knowing (that which is beyond us) is like. This includes accepting pain and suffering because many individuals shy away from these feelings, but I’m trying to say that we should recognise that they are there and we have to deal with it. Moving to the crux of the article: there are two broad issues that I think Artful Dodger is articulating, the first (a) is the about how lifestyle is impacted by and influenced by income, which leads him to the next issue (b) which is how being conscious is perceived to be living a life of poverty. I will attempt to situate my argument in terms of (a) and (b) and simply propose that the outward expression of consciousness does not have to be material (financially or in the use of fabric). It seems like Artful Dodger’s opinion has the similar tone and prepositions present in Smuts Ngonyama’s statement that he “did not enter the struggle to be poor”.
As much as consciousness does not mean poverty, people who have work (corporate j.o.b.’s and “having a stall at Noord taxi rank selling woolen caps, clothing made from hemp and some bags of grass” included) need to realise that with success comes the need to be conscious (aware) of where you are coming from. Taking cognisance of the fact that although I work hard and can afford to go to so-called expensive restaurants; I should also be ready to shoulder the responsibilities of being in such a position. It is important that people have to realise that doing what is necessary before enjoying the fruits of labour is real success. It is that mentality that uplifts communities, peoples and creates generational wealth. An individual has not sold out by merely having a corporate j.o.b but they will have sold out if the first thought is to self-enrich, without ensuring that at least cousin mang-mang who is needs assistance has not gotten it from you the person who is in a position to give it. No-one is saying that it is a cardinal sin to enjoy the entitlements of what you own and have worked for but at the very least be kind and that does not always require money. Many ‘conscious’ brothas and sistas have the following rationale: if the ‘soulista’ subculture is black then one should then be automatically poor.
However, it is not only the so-called ‘soulista’s’ who fall into the trap of viewing poverty without embedding race and thus by extension culture. We need to recognise that as individuals we are products of history and the history of this country is such that one cannot deny the realities of blatant structural inequalities. These inequalities have also been compounded by the racialisation of class in this country. Poverty is not black neither is it culturally specific. The issue is that many black people do not have financial and budgetary life skills. Now we find that a few of us are no longer poor and black and are just black and they do not know how to act with foresight when it comes to material benefits. Yes, fundamentally your economic base will influence your lifestyle but the problem comes in when u let your income define you. And many people will say that they don’t but I know everyone (myself included) has at one stage let money and the lack of it define you. One should not confuse or conflate the idea of living in the everyday life with the manifestation of consciousness. Consciousness can be manifested in ways that go beyond the life of poverty, and strife. Consciousness can be manifested in the action one takes: how you treat the next person, how you behave. If one just respects the self and the next self you are manifesting consciousness. You dig?