Repeating the past
In a nigh-cyclical manner, we humans have repeated the past despite the warnings of our forefathers. In my research, thus far, I have come upon the conclusion that the emotion we find ourselves drawn back to with ease is hatred. Now, should Hatred function like the black plague and spread through the hearts of millions in an instant, it can be the sole constance across these tragic historic moments. Any civilization in this world has had these moments, no matter how civilized. My contention here is that the reasoning behind these is our need to dominate both ourselves, the other and nature.
While revolutionary, the ideology of individualism and freedom of property brought with itself unending greed in the face of capitalism. A boon for civilized societies, it became an outright curse for third-world and developing countries. Despite the existence of the poor, the sick, and the needy, the ever-growing need for more resources to support the massive consumption zones that are First-World countries has created this divide. A divide which is maintained by the willful ignorance of these countries to engage themselves in battling this inequality. Because all plants require soil to grow, capitalist societies presume that someone has to be on the receiving end of the wealthy. If someone is a millionaire, another must be a stray.
Simple economic laws and inevitabilities of our society.
Yet, does it REALLY have to be this way?
If my prior assumption of hatred is correct, there is always an underlying form of hate that comes with ignoring the other and their needs. Ignoring nature and its needs as well stems from hate: the need to control is hatred, because it requires coercitive action. While acknowledging that humanity can never do away entirely with the quite human emotion of hatred, it would serve to have it channelled toward good deeds. I should hate passiveness, ignorance, a lack of compassion or empathy or indeed sympathy. Within myself firstly, of course, so as to not impose upon others that which I do not yet possess yet claim to hold virtuously.
We have chosen for ourselves this system, this economic science which appears to work without our consent and without our acknowledgement. Like a well-oiled machine, economic progress moves on regardless of what you and I believe to be right. The market economy needs to control, and as such, it must hate those that consume its fruits. To hate, to have in contempt, the economy needs to keep away from itself those that are the most likely to threaten its continued existence.
A people is thus helpless to obey its own desires and wants, these transcending reason to become needs. In turn, the new “needs” are put in priority over those that our bodies and our minds must have in order not to reach old age too quickly. We live longer, yes, but our minds become stale and our bodies fractured by the method of consumption that permeates our lifestyles.
In order to control, therefore, the market economy of Capitalism, like the Republican system, needs to keep the people at bay. Not everyone can or SHOULD be a millionaire, but we must make them believe that they are. Give a man seduced by consumption the possibility to own a car he believes he never will be able to afford, through the banking system, and will he truly spit upon the opportunity? Like the Hobbesian dialectic, capitalism created a solution to a problem it also brought to the surface.
It is presumed that men are greedy, but greed is a learned behavior. If I am forced to take only what I am told I can take, and then I see my neighbor enjoying fruits of better quality than I, despite the fact I’ve been told I was not meant for his, I will want what he has. What happens if I fail, however? I wanted to have a big house, a nice car, a beautiful wife and two beautiful children with a german shepherd. Yet, I am too poor to afford any of this, and I may never be able to.
Clearly, according to the market economy, this man’s wealth is due to some kind of skill I lack. My place is now known, but how much I dream – how much I wish – that I could, for even one day, own half the things he does, wear his shoes, drive his car, make love to his wife, embrace his children, play with his dog… I will not only start to hate myself, but also him.
Because, in the end, my failings may not be entirely my fault. As all things, there is nuance. Without demanding that he give me his dog, I could perhaps start looking at how the system is built, and soon I realize that the reason I am so poor and he so rich is due to a myriad of reasons that make the capitalist system nothing more than a tyranny of money.
Money is perhaps the only real God that we could say exists, because its will is mysterious, yet what it says goes. You cannot ever escape its pull, for in our world, money is power. Should democracy be upheld as our societies claim it is, everyone would have a roof over their heads, decent lodgings, food, transportation and air. Rather, much like the Republic, capitalism structures itself with the three primary modes of governance, being Monarchy, Aristocracy and Democracy.
The Monarch is the President.
The Aristocrats are the Vice Presidents and Managers beneath the President.
Democracy are the everyday employees that perform specific tasks, alienating their lives as they do so.
Let it be said however that any members of this formulation can feel alienated by their work and as such see the problems of the system. However, the reason things are built this way is that those that will be most willing to change things are in the Demos. Aristocrats live well, even if they do notice (and usually, they do) the inequality in this life, they believe that they must remain wealthy in order to help the poor. Even if their help tends to be donations to corporate-backed charities. I see measures like corporate charity as being workarounds for an endemic problem, that is the increasing divide between the 1% and the 99%.
Trickle down economics have always been a dream that only oligarchs and aristocrats high off of their greed could perceive. If the man who hates those he controls wishes to keep them at bay, he gives them his bread crumbs, so that they will be grateful unto him and demand he provide them with his mercy. Much like the problem of hatred, however, trickle down puts a balm on an ever-expanding wound.
Eventually, all the oceans in the world will not suffice to fill the hole left by extreme poverty. We can all attest to giving to the poor at least once in our lives, but the problem resides not in giving to the poor, it resides in eliminating the SOURCE of poverty, and one does not need to be a rocket scientist to see what that is:
Sociologically speaking, humans live in a variety of circumstances and most of these circumstances make becoming rich like the 1% an impossibility. If really money was democratic, one could and should wish to move from opulence to poverty at will. Yet, it is quite clear that no one wishes to be poor. Not when we know of the opulence that our society can provide to us. What use have the poor for my crumbs, when I am sharing with them the crumbs of those wealthier than myself? Yeah we can always point out to success stories, but why do we need those to remind ourselves we can be rich?
Is Manuel, working 50 hours a week in a sweatshop not privy to some kind of monetary compensation? Or does the fact that he is so devalued by our system mean that he is getting his just dessert? Concentration of wealth the way we have done it puts control in the hands of those who will never relinquish it. Banks keep your money, insurance companies keep you from becoming anxious about fatal “what ifs”, car companies want you to dream, beauty products want women to feel unsatisfied with themselves, video games want people to forget who they are in the real world, to become someone special in a virtual world.
All things that exist to distract, to make humans DEMAND to be controlled. This, with their full knowledge. There is no conspiracy here, if that’s what you think I am getting at. Like Marx indicated: The proletariat and the bourgeoisie are both interlocked in this war of classes. We wished this for ourselves, because over time, we allowed a few ideologues to tell us we are horrible people that must be kept distracted, else we kill one another over petty things.
That has not changed, yet we have preserved this system, because it makes us happy for shorter and shorter amounts of time. We crave more and more, and the planet is starting to suffocate off of our needs, while the greedy become only richer. When all fails, these men will disappear or be killed, as all the foundations of the Republican and Capitalist systems also fall. All our greed will have served nothing but these men, who will at once fall victim to their own greed.
Prophetic as my text might be, the point that I wish to illustrate here is that things do not need to be this way. We do not need to be savages that must be kept on leashes, because we are NOT savages. We are more than that, so much more. See these samaritans that help old ladies cross the streets. See these millionaires that provide millions of dollars to sick children. Women who stand up for other women in situations of war, to have equal rights. Men who support other men even if it makes you a pussy to cry in public.
Let’s look at humanity not as a bunch of rabid savages, but as a bunch of samaritans, who good or bad, will do what is needed, for better or for worse, until death do us part.