I become confused, and I so hope it’s not just me, by the ethical landmine of divestment.
Does purging myself of toxins atone for all my sins absorbing them? Does the divestment of a negative value create a positive value, and is it at least as positive as the negative was negative?
Should I, instead, stand among my kindred stockholders in sackcloth and ashes, repenting, perhaps a little self-flagellation helped along by the bewilderment of my fellow sinners about what may seem to them as excessive as a monk transforming into a crackling flame of protest?
Does quiet divestment optimize my opportunities and responsibilities for ecologically balanced values, where negatives greet positives as ancient appositive allies, like Yang and Yin, and space and time, identity and individuation, places and spaces?
Something about the stark simplicity of divestment feels unnatural, like deliberately choosing to ponder the monochromatic negatives of grayscale tucked inside a back cover of my favorite full-color family album.
Holding a stock to protest against whatever values and disvalues may be represented by that stock seems like a lively example of talking talk without walking in the way I am suggesting to others. Divestment is to mentoring as stockholder action is to lecturing others to not do as you have ever done yourself. Why not divest and then send out a memo:
Dear Fellow Publicans and Sinners,
Just want you to know I sold off my stock in Toxic Fuels and Chemicals, Incorporated, for the best price I could get in exchange for an investment in a poisonously unsustainable lack of future for our kids. I claim no moral virtue for doing what is so clearly in my own best interest, just because it also happens to be in your best interest as well. Nor do I mean to gloat over my continuing investments in self-serving corporate structures, rather than cooperative and sustainable, inclusive, and, by the way, icing on the cake, economically buoyant and resilient investment opportunities.
You see, when I finally realized why I want to divest from extractive short-term high risk markets, it suddenly came as quite the epiphany that I want to take that money and invest it in cooperative, long-term low risk and locally nutritious and sustainable enterprises. Rich opportunity and value, indeed!
Apparently eco-logical reinvestment policies and procedures are much less value-ambiguous than divestment quagmires, not only ethically and environmentally, but financially and biologically and sociologically, and, oh yes, teleologically too. The intersection of my experience’s meaning and our future’s purpose, to remember we all got into this incarnational mess together and we will each get out of it what we bring into clearing it up for ourselves and future generations. As for the rest, it’s just a messy commodity investment confusion, searching for a wiser Left and Right brained balanced economy.
Namaste and Peace Out to all fellow travelers,
G. O. Dillenbeck