Hearing people wail, whine, and moan about not being able to have this or that, complaining about services others provide not being good enough, those who exploit others or manipulate for their own benefit, not wanting to participate in the work that needs doing, yet demanding the goods and services that others provide, tells me there isn't enough criticism happening. Spoiled humanity wanting more doesn't work for anyone.
I wonder how the Earth would be if all those greedy members of the human family would find just one problem to solve and work to solve it? No one succeeds alone. Each one of us needs others, not to exploit, but to grow and develop into the fully mature adult we are born to become.
My wish is that the privileged of the Earth see, hear, and respond to those who need.
My goal is to find a need, explore ways to meet it, find others with a common interest in solving a problem and live a life rich, full, satisfying, and full of compassion, to laugh a lot, sing and dance often, and to leave the Earth a better place than I found it.
It gives you an EXCUSE not to offer help.
Oh yes! I can tell at least a dozen stories like that. The point I should have made, and the photo didn't convey the message, is that poverty is a reality that is created and can be eliminated. If people were paid fair wages, more would have money to spend, there would be fewer people looking for freebees, those who do need help can be looked after, and the whole society can benefit. Helping one person at a time is OK, but the real issue is to get to the root causes of poverty. Then it requires vigilance to prevent exploitation and manipulation.
When I began writing this piece, I was looking at those who exploit the systems and that I absolutely deplore. Then I realized that poor people who are smart learn how to manipulate others. I see it in my own family.
So the answer isn't to stop looking, hearing, and feeling the pain of those who are in need, but to create a system that cares for the planet. That implies, at least to me, to get rid of the faux-religious charity, and start looking at the role of greed in the institutions and challenge them. That means sticking my head out and risk having it cut off.
I don't mean only the Roman Catholic faith. Let's look at all the religious communities and their greed- monger- lovers.
Why are we spending one moment defaming poor people? We are being robbed by RICH people. Sure there are scammers. What street level, penniless, scammers take from our economy is ---nothing. They are simply more visible. They spend every cent they scam on necessities! It goes back into the local economy, if not your pocket. The real villains are behind locked gated communities. They have beggared the lot of us. The rich have stolen their money from the poor, not vise versa.
You say it so much more powerfully than I. That is what I am trying to convey. Thank you Dogly.
I recently came out of the Mountain Equipment Co-op Store in downtown Toronto and two idealistic university students approached me and asked me to sign a petition. I am not particularly wealthy but still enjoy clean water, sufficient food, shelter, more goods than I need and the freedom to travel and expose myself to any ideas that interest me.
I said I am grateful for the efforts of the many people who provide me with all these goods, services and freedoms. I had reservations about signing a petition since it might indicate I do not appreciate all the effort that went into providing the quality of life we enjoy. Anyway I needed to get home and fix a friend's bicycle. They said they could see my point and thanked me for my time.
I try to take the time to consider the effort that has been spent to allow me to enjoy my life. I don't only smell the roses but notice the clean water coming out of my tap and the wonderful recreational paths I can wander to my hearts desire. If I want I can find examples of man's inhumanity. We should also look to find how society has made life good for so many. Above all we should try to keep a sense of perspective. This is not the best of all possible worlds. This is not the worst of all possible worlds. We should tend our garden, and if that garden is beautiful we should appreciate and enjoy it. ENJOY. Thank you Joan. There are many people trying to get me to feel bad about humanity. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy the abundant goodness we share.
Looking at trends, over time, one can see an important change taking place in our culture, indeed in the cultures of the world. That period between 1945-1975 created more wealth and reduced poverty than any other period I could find on the longitudinal charts. The spread between the hungry and the well fed is now wider than during the French Revolution. Something important happened these past 30 years; what was it? why is it happening? Will we be able to reverse the trend lines? Are we helpless? Do we have power? Do we want to make changes?
Yes, I enjoy the benefits of that very unusual period of history; I am not seeing it continue into my children's, grandchildren's and great-grandchildrens's eras.
What are my options?
Do nothing; let them figure it out for themselves;
Prepare them for a future that will probably occur if trends do not change;
Leave them alone to create a future they will create for themselves;
Enjoy what I have, pass on what knowledge they want to learn by osmosis;
You can look for recurring themes in history, psychology, philosophy etc. to get insight into how these relationships work. I have also found the Millgram experiment "Obedience" and Jane Goodall's observations in the Gombe Stream Reserve provide insights that help me understand what has happened these past thirty years.
Jane Goodall used bananas in bait boxes to attract chimpanzees so she could observe them. As an experiment she increased the quantity of bananas to well past what they could eat. It is possible to form a rational conclusion that affluence should result in more civil behaviour by removing the pressure of competition for scare resources. The opposite happened. The chimpanzees tried hoarding the bananas and started fighting. There was a degeneration of conduct brought about by excess.
In the Millgram experiment, it was found a person would go farther up an increasing scale of electric shock applied to a person, the greater the distance between the person applying the shock and the person being shocked. As we increase the size of our social groups the distance between the person making policy, and those effected, increases.
Humans are very close to chimpanzees and I doubt there is much difference in social behaviour. Goodall's observations should alert us to human's degeneration of conduct when experiencing excess. By being aware of this relationship we might be able to control our impulse towards hoarding and fighting.
As our societies develop increasing larger social and economic institutions we should be aware of increasing distance between management and employees. Again this awareness might provide an opportunity to avoid increasingly inhumane policies.
Finally the French Revolution. The economic and social inequalities of the Ancient Regime resulted in a revolution that created one of the most authoritarian and blood thirsty eras in history. The Reign of Terror of Robespierre and the Jacobins is not something I would like to put humanity through again. When I went down to the park in Toronto to see the Occupy movement I saw the same Romantic Primitivism of Rousseau, Robespierre's muse, in the signs bashing Israeli Apartheid. I had already experienced the stifling oppression of political correctness as an employee of the Toronto District School Board. Free thought has been suppressed at the TDSB for about twenty years. There are too many signs of a new Jacobin style political movement taking hold as a reaction to the increased greed of the wealthy. This is a recurring theme I would like to avoid.
As a philosophy student I have tried my best to understand what was the cause of the failure of the French Revolution. What I have found was the Jacobins replaced the religious institutions of the Ancient Regime with similar secular institutions based on similar myths and similar concentrations of authority. They replaced Adam with the Noble Savage. Robespierre had a day celebrating some greater being, which I cannot distinguish from god. All executive, legislative and judicial authority was under the authority of the Jacobin party. They had substituted religious authority with political authority.
The justification of this authority was also based on myth and idealism. They had a book, or manifesto, which explained how they thought the world should be. If the world didn't conform to their policies they concluded it was because humanity lacked obedience and redoubled their efforts to reshape the world. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Gotta love Peter Townsend!
I look at the empiricism of Darwin, Diderot, Galileo, Bacon... and try to make a conscious effort to not indulge in idealism. Like being an Atheist, I often find myself alone since idealism is such a predominant trait of human behaviour. Analyzing the epistemology of your understanding is a step more abstract than most people are capable of. We are a society that does not understand the value of philosophy. We employ empiricism when developing our military technology but revert to idealism when developing our social policy. Makes me imagine a twelve year old playing with an AK 47.
Dogly, OK, you said it clearly. Now what?
The French Revolution? "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." Denis Diderot
Things are a little different now. Not much. We poor slobs must stop swallowing the lie that the very rich all worked harder than we did, were smarter, and more deserving.