Saturday, September 25, 2010

Homeless Culture: Fatalism

Culturally, the homeless learn that for people who are free, they have very little control over their lives. They don’t know whether they will be woken from a sound sleep, whether their possessions will be stolen during the day, or what resources they will gain that day.

Because of this, there are two cultural consequences of living on the street. First is a certain kind of angry fatalism. That they have little control over their own lives and they feel that they should. At times this lack of control leads one to feel furious at others who one feels should provide them what they need. Thus, a homeless person might become angry at service workers or fellow homeless or God because they think that someone is ultimately in control and thus responsible for their lack.

Secondly, there is a dependence on Fate or God. Each day brings its own stresses and joys, its own lack and supply—yet somehow the homeless survive. Ultimately, there is a gratitude to life and what little is given.

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