Why no bags? As hunter gatherers we go to the grocery store to collect food and communicate with others.It hearkens back to gathering by camp fires and pounding our chests. Being asked to not use bags is peculiar. It goes against our ancestral habit of collecting. Having no bag means not having an object with you that you can collect things in. Your hands want to grab and collect food and survive..Our hands themselves are a collecting vessel..
Bags as a cultural agreement
Cultures throughout the world have used things like pottery and woven bags. They are part of culture like any other used object. The vision of a shopping cart filled with plastic or paper bags is an accepted part of American culture. It is easy to come up with a slew of American Films on the spot in which characters are shopping for groceries. Normalcy is a given as characters use bags chatting away or playing out a scene. The sight of unbagged groceries would be an odd inclusion in any film. Bagged groceries are a cultural agreement. A culture has a connection to things we use and so being asked to not use things asks us to not be part of culture. Not using an object is a request to be removed, to be ostracized. If the thought of not using bags is unsettling to you, this is completely understandable. Being considered an outsider by the very culture you feel part of is a scary thing.
When culture asks for a demise
Be that as it may, any cultural agreement that asks you to endanger yourself this needs to be examined. There are many examples of cultures that have contributed to their own starvation or lack of shelter. A few recent examples are anorexia in teenage girls, and the use of arsenic to improve ones complexion in the Victorian era. Social studies asks us to consider the tragedy of the commons. When a shared resource is depleted by a common need.
Everything goes somewhere.
But couldn’t we just be overthinking the whole thing? . After all, it’s just shopping. You may be asking what does this have to do with just getting my shopping done? Realizing that everything goes somewhere is a form of empowerment. Not concerning yourself where things are from and where they go invites in a sort of passivity and even infancy.. We are wanting and crying out to be fed, but not involved with how things get there or where they go.It is awkward at best when it is time to make a choice and there is no recognized involvement. It is hard to understand a role or involvement. To imagine that everything is created in each moment for convenience is believing in a magical existence and removes us from reality.
The choice of nothing - no bag
Deciding to use nothing, or in this case no bag, is a choice. Deciding to use an alternative method like carting your groceries to your car means that you have considered the conditions. The cart is more durable so you are using it. There are less places for a virus to harbor. The nothingness of places a virus can harbor is in your favor. Nothingness in this situation is a good thing. .If i am creating a need to have something to walk 20 feet to my car I am discouraging my resourcefulness and my ability to consider what I am using and why.
Trusting and embracing my environment:
The cart is supplied. Sufficient weather is supplied. Safety is supplied by a cultural agreement. When going to a car only using a cart to move supplies enjoys communal conditions. Knowing that everyone is enjoying these same conditions (the cart and the weather, the protection of others) means that you are enjoying conditions communally. You have a reason to enjoy these conditions. Needing to package merchandise in plastic bags to a vehicle means you do not feel conditions from the store to car are acceptable. But the cart is strong. Rain is not pelting down. It is all good. Thinking the opposite is true creates a sort of paranoia. Why are the conditions from store to car without a bag unacceptable? What kind of world has been created in which I need a plastic covering? To use bags from cart to car is an effort to not trust the cart, the weather, and the people around you. This sort of paranoia should not be cultivated. .The need to be protected by plastic should be examined. What I buy does not need to be packaged or covered on my trip to my car.
Using one's own mind and hands.
All of this connects with the use of the Rs ( reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink, refuse, recycle). It enables a thinking process of how an object (a bag ) is used and why. The pandemic fears of virus contagion has asked us to either exasperate our resources by using more and more bags. Hands shadow the use of the mind by moving objects at the checkout counter instead of standing idly by. The use of the hands echo the use of the mind. These awesome multi dexterous digits and hands that like to handle, grasp, hold and move things is part of our history of evolution. There has always been a connection between the use of our hands and the use of our minds. It is our tendency to want to continue the habits of the past. Filling plastic bags at stores, in our cars and in our homes. These bags symbolise a stagnant state of thinking immobilising ourselves in a sea of plastic. It’s time for a change. A change of having no bags, no plastic, no impediments.