Who’s to say if the world is in a good shape or a bad shape right now? We all are. Even though we all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences that have taught us different lessons about the state of the world, all of our perceptions are valid, even if they contradict each other. We grew up in separate, unique environments. Some of us were born into better lives, but most of us were born into worse lives. If you think that’s a pessimistic thing to say then look up the global poverty and crime rates. It’s a statistical fact that most of the human beings alive today are living very hard, unjust lives.
The only people who live really good lives right now are the rich. Everyone else from the upper middle class to the lowest of the lower class has it bad; it’s just a matter of degrees. Anytime anyone complains about their living conditions they’re shot down by optimists telling them, “You should be thankful for what you have. You could be starving and getting gang rapped just before you’re thrown into a bonfire in Darfur.” And to be fair, that’s true. Most of us could have it a lot worse, and we do have a lot to be thankful for. However, if every level of disparity is accepted under the auspice that “it could be worse,” then we end up enabling every level of disparity.
When things happen to people that are too horrible to write off as whining, we find other reasons to write them off, and if we can’t excuse away a human right atrocity we just pretend it doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter.
The entire world is like one of the small German villages outside the Jewish concentration camps. We all know that just past the city limits people are being systematically deprived, tortured and murdered. The difference between us and them is that the atrocities are happening across your country’s border, not your city’s.
Excusing all the world’s problems away by saying, “It’s not that bad.” misses the point. The point is that it could be better…for everyone. It should be better for everyone. We have the technology and resources to live in a very awesome world. In fact, we’ve had the technology and the resources for quite a while. If we had done as much as possible to help as many people as possible achieve their potential since 1980, we would all have flying cars and cute semi-intelligent robot servants by now. And we would most likely be in the initial stages of colonizing either Mars or the moon. If you don’t believe me, ask Stephen Hawking. He’ll back me up.
But instead of doing that we’ve driven history to the point where there’s a continent sized patch of garbage in the Pacific ocean, the American Gulf coast is ruined, people are dying of radiation and food poisoning, natural disasters are leaving bodies in the streets, the mines that provide us our resources are collapsing (killing the workers and cutting off everyone else’s supply of raw material), more and more of our budgets are going to putting peaceful people in jail for the crime of being different or for not filling out the right forms or paying the right fees. Our news stations lie to us and we know it but accept it. We worship moronic celebrities and try to emulate their stupidity. We view intelligence as a bad thing. Our schools are crumbling. Our teachers are taking the blame for the rest of society’s failures. We’re actually talking about teaching mythology as science in public schools. We’re doping ourselves up with government-approved mind-numbing pacification pills, building our houses with poison and bullying each other at work. We treat “lower” ranking workers like second class citizens. We’re stealing from the poor, killing the planet and ourselves. And the whole time we’re playing video games, watching television, fussing with our cell phones, surfing the internet and laughing at dick and fart jokes, LOL cats, canned cliff hangers and unrealistic love stories.
To be fair, I might not have to worry about being executed in a ditch tomorrow, but I bust my ass at work, and I barely have any money left to myself after I’ve paid the bills (that I know are inflated). My life is hard, but there are illegal immigrants all over the world working three times as hard as I do for three times as little while getting belittled by conservative shock jocks. Those men, women and children’s lives are hard, but their lives aren’t as hard as the refugees living in tent cities hoping someone will send a truck full of rice so their dying family can survive another day, but their lives aren’t as hard as the people who died in the next tent over. But all of our problems are valid. They’re all real, and they all matter.
So instead of bickering about who has it worse and how thankful we should all be for what we have, how about we all focus on what we all could have if we worked together to give ourselves the opportunities and resources the world never gave us (or the person next to us, or the person 1, or 5, or 10, or 100, or 1,000, or 5,000 miles away).?
It’s simple game theory. We all have the most to gain by working together. I know that sounds a little Communist, but isn’t it also exactly what the founders of the United States of America advocated? And regardless of who said it or why, isn’t it an obvious truth? We all have the most to gain by working together.
Yet we’re not doing that. Instead we’re fighting each other tooth and nail in a dog-eat-dog rat race. We’re treating everyone like our enemies. We’re cutting everyone’s throats, stabbing everyone in the back or turning a blind eye to each other’s’ problems (sometimes in the name of optimism). And look where it’s got us. People are building bunkers preparing for the apocalypse. Nobody questions whether there will be another war, just how soon it’ll happen.
So the world’s going to hell in a hand basket because everyone is acting stupid and mistreating each other even though the people we’re discriminating against are the only people in the universe who can help us build the most advanced world possible. We all have our excuses, but in the end, no matter how justified those excuses are, the end result is still that if we don’t work together we can’t build the most advanced world possible.
So the question is this, “What are you going to do?” Of course, we’ve all been asked that before. In fact, a lot of us have been asking ourselves that question a lot. The only problem is that we don’t know what we can do. Sure, we can vote, but how much potential progress has that turned into reality in the past 60 years? Where’s it gotten us? It’s gotten us to where we are today. We’ve given billions to charity, but half of that gets siphoned off to “administrative expenses,” stolen or mismanaged. There’s a question as to whether the money that does make it to the intended recipients helps them more than it enables a brutal cycle of dependency.
The question of “what we can do” is a complicated one because the truth of the matter is that we don’t have as much power as we like to tell ourselves. Truth is most of us barely have the power to take care of our own lives. Truth is a lot of us don’t even have that much power. So how can we be expected to save the poor when we’re relatively poor ourselves and can’t even save ourselves?
Well, ask yourself, how did the people with all the power today get all their power? They bought it. Money represents anything money can buy, including power. In fact, the only way to get power is to buy it. Sure, you can take power with force, but force costs money. You can win power through popularity, but popularity costs money. No matter how you cut the cake, money is power.
If you want to change the world then you need power. If you want power then you need money to buy it. If you want money you need to make it. And you don’t need to do anything illegal, violent or terroristic to make money. In fact, the best way to make money is to start a legal business. That’s how all the most powerful people in the world today came to power; they started a legal business and made their money right on the store shelves in plain view of the entire public, and that wouldn’t have hurt or killed anyone if they hadn’t gotten greedy. Somewhere along the line they lost sight of the fact that we all have the most to gain by helping the most amount of people as much as possible over the long haul. Then they decided to help themselves to as much as possible as quickly as possible, and they sold the rest of us out and exploited us to make that happen.
The most lucrative (and thus most potentially powerful) way to change our lives is to follow the example of the people who took our lives from us. We need to start our own legal businesses because that’s where we stand to make the most money. The more money we make the more we can build a sustainable lifestyle that reduces our dependency on the archaic and inhumane systems that we have to reluctantly serve today. The less dependent we become on the systems that prey on the poor the weaker those systems will become.
Even if you didn’t own a share of the system, wouldn’t you want a system in place that didn’t own (or have any interest in ever owning) you? If any part of this idea appeals to you, I can promise you that the system with the most power will always be the system with the most money. The system with the most money will always be the system that sells the most goods and/or services. If you want to have any power over the environment you live in, you have to own a share or be an employee of (or be in the good graces of) the system that sells the most goods and/or services.
You only have as much control over your life as you have over your environment. In the world we live in, the amount of control you have over your environment is relative to the percentage of the wealth you own within that environment. When you look at the entire globe as a finite environment it looks to me like people’s lives suck because they don’t have enough control over their environment, and the main reason they don’t have control over the environments they live in is because the people with all the money (and thus power) are exploiting their positions of power to force the poor to work under worse conditions for less pay so the rich and powerful can have more money and more power.
Even if there’s not any bizarre Illuminati conspiracy theory (which I honestly don’t believe there is), there’s still no denying that the rich are screwing over the poor. In fact, you can look it up in any intro level economics text book. The backbone for our economy is based on the idea that businesses need to pay as little as possible to produce goods and services that they sell for as much as possible. The idea is that you have the most to gain by screwing the most amount of people for as much as possible. If you don’t believe me, go fill out a loan application at your nearest bank.
I’m not saying it’s the only way or the end-all best way for the poor (and/or the relatively poor) to take control of our environments (and thus our own lives), but as best as I can tell from where I’m standing, the best bet we have to make our dreams come true is to start our own perfectly legal businesses and earn more money than the bastards who are making our lives suck more than they have to.
If we want to control our environments (and thus our lives) we need to own our own businesses and reduce our personal expenses. We can kill two birds with one stone by living in our offices. That way we won’t have to buy our own homes. We won’t have to commute. We won’t have to pay for repairs to our property out of our own pocket. And any fun and luxurious amenities we wanted in our house we could bill to the company and call an “office improvement.” And we wouldn’t have to hide it because we would own the company and get to decide what the company’s profits are spent on. It wouldn’t be illegal or immoral in any way.
Think about it. You could spend your life working and financing someone else who is going to use that money to pamper themselves and hold your head down farther or you could start your own business and spend your life working and financing your own security without having to hold anyone else’s head down. The only thing you would have to do is exactly what you already do. Just instead of doing it for a greedy wanker, do it for yourself and share the wealth with your fellow workers equitably.
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