Posts Tagged ‘them’

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.

We are all in it together.

December 5, 2009

We live in a society that thrives on the “us” verses “them” mentality. Country against country. Worker against worker. Subculture against subculture. It is everywhere. Imagine what the world would be like if we stopped dividing ourselves into groups and just accepted each other as being human and help each other out?

For example, most middle class white gay males are so caught up in their own “oppression” that they aren’t an ally to other causes. They are holding a couple of positions of privilege in the hierarchy that exists in our society by being male, middle class, and white. They feel marginalize because they can’t marry but they won’t join in the fight for other oppressed groups. However, what they don’t see is that their oppression is linked to the oppression of others. It’s like a drop of water in a lake – it ripples. If they would be willing to help out other minorities they would be helping themselves. No one is free while others in society are oppressed.

Some oppressed groups have taken a separatist approach to constructing their movements which I believe is an error. For example, some people of color groups don’t want white allies involved or feminist groups don’t want males involvement. I think that is very silly. It isn’t someone’s fault what color their skin is or what they have in their pants. To discriminate against potential allies simply because they don’t fit the mold and discounting their attempt to help the struggle due to factors beyond control is mad. We need all the allies in all shapes, sizes, and colors they come in if they want to help fight for freedom and equality from all oppressive forces.

I’ve met a handful of separatists who are always in denial of being a separatists – it’s really odd. See, if the world is going to be non-oppressive place – all forces will be working together in reality. By dividing and fragmenting – you are not mimicing the conditions of the real world and the real world will never change if you keep on keeping to yourself.

It’s like the idea of the monk who goes up to the mountain and is enlightened by never shares his insight with the world. It’s just a waste. Part of the project is sharing the knowledge with the world – with everyone. Not just “us” or “them.”

Let me point out too: just because you disagree with someone’s lifestyle choice doesn’t give you a right to dictate the rights or govern how someone else lives. I disagree and think my dad is a murderer because he eats meat. But, we co-inhabit the planet peacefully because it isn’t for me to make those chooses for him. The same can be applied to other aspects of life – that others shouldn’t censor their peers because of not approving.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life so far is that you can’t please everyone. Someone is always going to find something to be unhappy about and it’s not about being PC for everyone. It’s about having freedom and not being oppressed. That should be the goal of society and we have a long way to go.