We Are Society, and We Are the Problem

powerToday is Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

As long as you think “Obama” or “Bush” are the problems that need to be fixed, they have won.  The problem is much bigger than one man; the problem is a system corrupted and infected by greed.  And it’s not just on the top; an entire society and culture exists throughout the world that worships money and power, instead of health and wellness.   – Unknown

Who’s “they,” you say?  Good question.  More and more people are realizing that it’s not government that is in control, it’s business.  Big business. A few very, very big businesses, run by a very few people.  This small group of people control almost all sectors of our lives today, including the governments of so-called “powerful” nations.

Really, politics is just a side-show.  It’s bread and circuses for the masses.  It gives everybody a chance to “belong” to a group, if that’s what they want to do.  Some people actually get their jollies from not being part of the group.  And some people get their jollies from complaining loudly about the system.  Lots of jollies to go around.

Writing for News Junkie Post, Gilbert Mercier remarked on the apparent disconnect between what Americans say they believe and what they actually believe.  Many Americans will tell you that they believe in God, for example, but their behavior indicates that they actually worship money.  Think about it.  People do things for money. That’s the whole idea behind getting a job.  If the whole point of getting a job was having a way to serve other human beings, or a way to protect and preserve the natural environment, how many people would be in the workforce?  Would you?

Mercier also mentions a sense of confusion these days between “need” and “want.”   Well, I’m confused now, too.  Companies like Nestlé say that we need water.  Well, we do need water, in order to stay alive.  But they say we don’t own the water; they do.  So because we need it and don’t have it, we want it.  And since we want it, we will pay them money for it.

Monsanto is another company that is working along the same lines.  They have produced seeds that are genetically altered in the lab.  The secret is that the crops produced by these seeds don’t have seeds in them that will reproduce, so once you plant a GM (genetically modified) crop, you have to keep on buying seeds from them every year.  So you need food, fine.  Whether you grow it yourself or buy it in the supermarket you are ultimately paying companies like Monsanto for your food.
Mercier says the cornerstone of capitalism is consumerism, which is driven by marketing and advertising.  The point is to create an artificial need for products that never ends.  The vast majority of products are consumables, now.  They are made so that they will break down eventually – hey, sorry about that, but you can always buy another one, and a better model, too.  And we’ve raised the price, because it’s so much better.  Aw, shucks, you need another one?  No, these can’t be repaired, but we have some new models right over here…

Another observation made by Mercier – and he’s by no means the first or only person to say this – is that we live in a society in which money defines social values because how much money you have, how much you can buy with your money, what kind of stuff you have, and how much stuff you have all serve to define our value to society.     It’s interesting to see who gets the money in our society:  politicians, investors, bankers, celebrities and sports figures.  Many of these people receive amounts of money that could be described as “obscene.”   Why do we allow this?

These days, if you work hard, go to school, and play by the rules, you still can’t get ahead.  No wonder so many people are fed up.  People just want the system to work, but what system?   It appears that the present system is in its death throes.  As Annie Leonard points out in her video, “The Story of Stuff,”you can’t run a linear system (the materials economy) with finite resources.  Or, as the Native Americans put it, “When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.”   Bad system.

But the system isn’t the problem, either.  We are the problem.  Each and every one of us.  Until we grasp that, nothing will change.  The system wouldn’t be what it is today if we didn’t allow it.

There are a lot of people who are talking about a global paradigm shift, and I do believe that it’s happening now.  Just not very fast.  Right now, we seem to be hanging on for dear life to a system that is destroying us as well as the planet we live on.  Mercier says that we seem to be in a state of “paradigm paralysis” right now, and that a true shift will be a matter of “developing the psychological ability to welcome the unknown, without fear, and enter uncharted territories.”

Going back to Mercier’s comment about people saying they believe in God but actually worshiping money, it seems to me that people who really do believe in God and have a spiritual focus in life are less apt to put money and possessions on a pedestal in their lives.  The people who realize that we are really Souls, spiritual beings, who are just here for a short time to gather worldly experience are the ones who are the most successful at getting off and staying off the consumerist treadmill.   I don’t know what the term “spiritual freedom” meant in other times and places, but nowadays, I really think it has something to do with avoiding the mindset that says money equals power, and power over others is everything.

Like the little figure in today’s graphic, anyone who is not seeking spiritual freedom is simply a puppet.  :-/

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