Occupy Union Square: "I Think Outside My Box"

Occupy Union Square: I Think Outside My Box

Occupy Union Square was born after Occupy Wall Street protestors were evicted from Zuccotti Park for a second time in March. They maintain a People's Library and an information stand at the 14th Street park entrance.

The pictured homeless gentleman has his "box" setup next to the Occupy information stand. He sells Occupy Art and gets donations from curious photographers like myself. When he sees a photographer, he flips the flap of his box which reads "Photo? Please Donate". Marketing genius! A quick online search revealed that, David Everitt-Carlson, before he ended up homeless, was indeed a marketing executive. You can read his story in his blog, "A Homeless Blogger in NYC". He has also written his memoirs in book form.

Thinking inside the box is unknowingly accepting the current assumptions of a situation. Thinking outside the box, on the other hand, has become a catchphrase commonly used by corporate and marketing executives, which simply means to think differently. Although we all would like to believe that we think outside the box, only a few of us actually do.

The conflict between the status quo and progress is as old as man. Both personally and socially, we are predisposed to maintaining the status quo. Change and progress imply work, effort and even suffering. They require that we think outside the box and challenge the accepted paradigm.

The privileged and the powerful fear losing their status quo. They, often ruthlessly, push for more power, money and privilege. The struggle between the status quo and progress is a constant source of social and personal conflict. Even the underprivileged who later attain privilege, those who have lived on both sides of the struggle, are not immune. Yet, history does have examples of great men, who, once they achieved power, tried to put checks and balances in place to prevent this inclination. Most of the Founding Fathers of the United States were men that could truly think outside the box. In the 200 plus years since, history has revealed that their success was limited, and that, rather than build on their ideas, we've taken a path of regression.

Many philosophers, writers, intellectuals and activists believe that civilization will never undergo a voluntary transformation and that the status quo can only be broken in response to tragic events. Those who do think outside the box are often targeted by the powers that maintain the status quo. Good ideas are selectively hijacked by those in power and their proxies to further justify the status quo. Increasing poverty and homelessness are stains in the social fabric of the world's wealthiest nation. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH, one in four adults in the United States suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. An already troubling number that is increasing. All the good ideas that are floating around in the public domain, in books and in lectures, seem to be ineffective in the overall improvement of the human condition. The current economical system which is based on the exploitation, of both people and nature, is unsustainable. A culture based on hedonism, the idea that pleasure is the only intrinsic good, can only self-destruct. There is an urgency to think outside the box and find ways to convince the power elite to change how we collectively shape human life, before we self-destruct.

More Occupy photos.

Song of the Day: Float On - Modest Mouse (2004)
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