Berkeley Musings

I think I may have moved to the one place in the US more magical than San Francisco: Berkeley

I’m so thrilled by my life right now: the beautiful parks perfect for picnicking and cartwheels, less than a block away. The sidewalk tiles containing poetry and inspirational quotes. Food from every delicious corner of the world within walking distance. The spaciousness of my new house, its huge closet with organizers, my extra-long jacuzzi bathtub. The windows can be left open every night for fresh air. Like it was made for me :-)

I began thinking about this as I noted how many homeless people I see on the way to the BART stations. It made me think for a minute: why does San Francisco and Berkeley “allow” so many homeless and mentally unstable people to live openly on its streets? Part of me questions whether there is really no momentum for change: in a true “La-La Land”, perhaps people are so well-off they become indifferent to the struggles of those much less fortunate, as if they are so far removed from that suffering, that it no longer pulls on the heartstrings as a worthy politcial/social cause.

Or, rather, perhaps it is just the open and tolerant nature of the residents, to “Live and Let Live,” giving the homeless the “freedom” to live as they wish to live, assuming the chronically homeless have chosen and prefer their way of life. When you adopt an attitude of personal responsibility, it can become difficult to perceive anyone as a victim of their circumstances. We are either masters or slaves to our destiny, and perhaps we are living amongst many masters.