Posts Tagged ‘global poverty’

On Greed and Selfishness

December 24, 2009

I was talking to my doctor the other day and the issue of human greed came up.  Are humans inherently greedy?  I personally believe the answer to the question is “No.”  My doctor tried to used the example of how the world is today but what my doctor was forgetting is that the sample population being looked at was only 1% of all humans who ever lived on this planet.  It is my argument that it’s the way it currently is in the world is because of how we teach people to be.  That greed and selfishness isn’t human nature as society likes to preach.

The problem in society is based in the foundation.  That foundation is capitalism.  Capitalism teaches us to be greedy and selfish.  The winners in capitalism are those who exploit, legally rob, and cheat the most people.  Success isn’t measured by how many smiles you bring into the world but by how much money one makes.

Things have only been “this way” for the last 10,000 years.  Before that, humans and the planet were getting along just fine.  The problem started when man decided that the earth belong to him instead of the fact that man belongs to the earth.  I am not saying civilization is inherently bad – the Greeks and the Romans did just fine without causing the destruction on the planet we are now.  Man needs to learn to have the damage done to the planet and the planet’s ability to replenish itself  in sync.

I argue if we were to have a system based on community, sharing, and brotherhood – we would have a different world.  If parents didn’t raise their children to put “me” first.  If we taught that treating others with respect, compassion, and kindness instead of being taught that everything is a commodity.

Even the way we relate to people in retail and service reflects how capitalism has brainwashed society.  We do not see the salespeople as humans who have a family at home and their own problems.  If we did, people wouldn’t get half as mean, nasty, or upset.  We’re so conditioned that we don’t even see having the right to chose what to eat, where to shop, and what to wear as having a privilege.  Most retail stores remove all human aspects from their presentation – with each store, no matter where you are in the world – having the exact same service and the exact same product.  Cookie cutter products for cookie cutter people who like to believe they are “unique.”  It’s all a lie.

A few stores, like Costco have policies that none of their products can come from sweatshop labor.  But, we as consumers are so far removed from the way things are produced that we allow inhumane treatment for our mass produce goods.  Most of the time, people’s clothes are more well traveled than the wearer.  Most people don’t even think about the person who made it – how they have families, problems, and poverty.  We need to focus on having a human community were everyone gets their share.  Global wealth created global poverty.

I think this is one of the harder concepts I have to get people to wrap their heads around.  For every action, there is a reaction.  The reaction of having rich is that we have the poor.  In other countries, there is a limit to how much a CEO can earn.  It makes the gap between the rich and poor less so people are more level.  Not that there isn’t rich and poor, but really, how many yachts do you need?  And how many children die of hunger a day?  Think about it.

One of the main problems is that we are conditioned to not think about it and accept the motto, “This is the way things have always been.”  This is false.  We can change the world and make it a beautiful place for everyone if we just cared a little and put some thought into what we consume.

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Cultural Prison

December 20, 2009

Just finished reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. It was a good read and he presents some interesting ideas. One of which is that we’re all living in a cultural prison. It’s an idea I have spent sometime thinking about in the past – how we are all enslaved by the current system: work or don’t be fed. Quinn presents the idea that one of the driving forces behind our prison is the destruction of our planet – which all of modern man is taking part in. The only way our planet will be saved is if we stop being prisoners to the current system and change our path. He suggests that we need to destroy the prison – not work within it because that won’t bring about real change.

Most people aren’t even aware of being in a system since that’s where they’ve been their entire life. It’s like trying to explain breathing to a fish – something completely outside the scope of their personal knowledge. People usually accept it was being, “The way things have always been.” when it isn’t true. The current system we have has been in the works for the last ten thousand years but humans have been alive for three million years before that and we were doing just find until we decided to rule the world. The system is composed of almost everyone and has been drilled into our heads since we were children. “Work or don’t eat.” seems to be the strongest motivation that keeps the system in place.

The foundation of the system is that it is possible for humans to have certain knowledge of good and evil. We have thousands of laws enforcing this agenda. We have priests and rabbis mimicking this in their sermons. We have our family, friends, news, and media repeating this rhetoric and judging others constantly. When in reality, there is no certain knowledge about this. It is all man-made and people fall into the fairy tale that works best for them. We justify our actions with the reasoning “We know this is good.” when in reality no one knows.

Let me point out that the “sinner” verses “saint” mentality is a mirror of the “us” verses “them”. Separate the people and keep them divided by imaginary lines makes people easier to control. They won’t want to get to know the other because of beliefs. You can’t argue logic with beliefs.

So, maybe you fall for some dogma which enslaves your mind or maybe you reject it. That still doesn’t mean you are free because money controls our society. Those who have it have power within the system but by no means are free from it. Those who don’t have money are forever at the mercy of their fellow inmates who have it. The distribution of wealth and power has nothing to do with justice. It is just luck of the draw which wasn’t the way things used to be because we made this system of the “have’s” and the “have nots.” The system is inherently flawed because it depends on people not having. Global wealth makes global poverty.

The only way this system is going to be teared down is if we have a revolution of ideas and change our ways. Repeating the same mistakes over and over again aren’t going to get us anywhere. The hardest part with this is that those who have their wealth due to exploiting of others will have to part with some of their wealth and privileged so that everyone can have some. Those with any wealth and privileged don’t want to give it up willing which is what is necessary for the division of power to be changed and the playing field be even. A golden example of this is gay marriage, heterosexuals don’t want to give up their heterosexual privileges and share with everyone. Humanity needs to learn to share with other humans and species else it will be our own end.