We’re finally ready to wrap this bad boy up.
Then let’s get ready to dive into today!
Our systems are set up to profit those at the top as much as possible, via the exploitation of everyone else.
Those at the bottom of our society are used as cheap labor, are scapegoated as the reason we all feel unsafe and insecure, they are blamed for society's problems, they are used as tools to scare us into conforming - lest we end up ‘like them’, and they are continually exploited. This is a MASSIVE social problem, and one that needs deep reform in order to remedy
Those in the middle are put under constant pressure to perform, to measure up, to be ‘good enough’ in a never ending sea of changing cultural norms and expectations. We are asked to work jobs that again, require exploitation and keep any power out of our hands. We’re given two options - continue to try to climb the ladder in the hopes that you too one day can finally be ‘enough’ and have ‘enough’ or become like ‘those people’ who are at the bottom of society.
We are continually distracted with promises of fame, luxury, rest, reprieve - if we just do more, are more and keep reaching for ‘success.’ We are constantly told that happiness and fulfillment come from doing right by society’s standards - and thus if we AREN’T happy that the problem is ALWAYS that we aren’t measuring up and we need to improve ourselves in some way. We’re told that our anxiety, depression, burn out and general ill health is due to our poor choices/weak character - but don’t worry! We can sell you a course, a journal, a coaching program to help FIX you.
We’re constantly gaslit into believing that our emotions aren’t relevant, but rather that they are hindrances to our capacity to thrive. We’re constantly shown images of ‘strong men’ who dominate, who are sacrificial lambs for their country, who are tough, brute, stoic and strong. Meanwhile we’re shown that woman need to be subservient, kind, meak, docile, sexual at all ages and that we must earn our place via conforming to the place we’ve been given by society. If you’re not happy in these roles? Again, there’s something wrong with YOU and YOU need to be fixed. We’re not supposed to show negative emotions. We’re not supposed to be tired or worn out. We can only be ‘vulnerable’ in very specific ways. Our full humanity is 100% denied to us if we want to be ‘in’.
If you have unhappy relationships or can’t find a relationship again, that’s a YOU problem. We’re again given a very cookie-cutter view of what a normal or a healthy relationship is supposed to look like, and in our world we STILL measure a woman's worth especially by her relationship status. Who we’re with, how that relationship looks to the outside, how much that relationship profits us socially - THAT’S what really ‘matters’ in our culture - not genuine connection, not genuine self understanding, not healthy communication, not healthy boundaries, not a HEALTHY sense of self and self identity - just having that partner that you can be proud to show the world.
We’re given a very narrow range of ‘acceptable’ body times we’re allowed to occupy, which is continually shifting and changing. Our beauty standards leave us all feeling continually insecure, like we need to buy something, do something, fix something in order to better fit in and be acceptable. Any meager attempt we make at ‘body positivity’ is quickly swallowed up by the corporate world, being packaged, bottled and sold back to us. We’re trained from very young to ignore our body's signals, to dampen its wisdom, to distrust it and to outright go against it in order to live up to the expectations of society.
We’re currently being told that we need to be successful, that we need to be ever young and beautiful, that we need to have that ideal career with that ideal partner - but ALSO we’re supposed to be taking care of our mental health, ‘resting more’, saying no and doing our bubble baths. But the reality is, the reason most of us aren’t ALREADY doing those self care things is because in our system, we can’t. The two don’t mix. You have to hustle. You have to ignore your body.
If we have addictions, coping mechanisms or ways we numb out that DON’T match what’s ok in society, we’re told that there’s something broken in us. That we are weak, lazy, not working hard enough, that we are choosing the wrong things and need to start choosing the right things. If we can’t ‘get along’ in society for whatever reason, the answer is ALWAYS to change yourself. If we engage in ‘normal’ coping, numbing, self sabotage and ways of dealing with the pain of our system - that’s good. But then if you DON’T indulge in alcohol, don’t party, don’t buy the latest and greatest, don’t escape with modern entertainment, don’t eat processed foods in the name of ‘balance’ - again, you’re stigmatized. If your indulgences get in the way of your productivity - that’s a problem. But if you become ‘too healthy’ in that you stop CONSUMING at a rate that our corporations need you to consume at to keep THEMSELVES going, again, you’re a problem.
Even within the spirituality world we’re sold the idea that if we perfect, purify, spiritualize and enlighten ourselves enough, that in THIS we will be liberated from all suffering. That we can literally escape the human condition by WORKING ON OURSELVES. Working on our thoughts. Working on our emotions. Working on our perception - all in the hopes that one day, with enough individual effort and enough self focus, we will become impervious to fear, pain, doubt and vulnerability - and that in this everyone will love us, because really what else is the point 😉
We’re indoctrinated into the idea that it’s individual success and power that leads to happiness and safety - and that individual success is dominating in your work so as to make a lot of money, that you can then spend on luxuries for yourself - rather than being shown that those at the top are at the top PURELY because they were invested IN by society and because they use society to their advantage. No one at the top worked their way there - because our system is rigged.
We’re tricked into a never ending loop of self help and self improvement - being told that the solution to all of our pain is to fit in better - when in reality fitting in is exactly what’s CAUSING the pain in our incredibly destructive society.
Our brains and bodies fight seeing all of this, because it would trigger our nervous systems into a state of fight or flight - believing we’re going to be outcasted or that we will be unable to provide and care for ourselves. We fear questioning the conditioning we were handed because, THEN WHAT?
We’re continually told that happiness is possible - and that it comes from wealth, luxury and social success - and we never get to take a break to actually look at the truth of this claim.
Is Luxury REALLY The Answer?
Being able to afford luxury clothing, gourmet food, endless hours of entertainment - is this really happiness? Is this really fulfillment?
Is it really SAFETY? Is it really going to soothe our existential dread and make us feel secure and safe in this world?
Is fitting in REALLY the answer to all of our pain? Is it the solution to the dark feelings we all feel in the middle of the night when we sense our mortality, our lack of awareness around what happens after death, when we feel our vulnerability?
Are all the ways we have to sacrifice our individual identity in order to ‘fit in’ to an incredibly superficial and disconnected social structure actually worth it?
Is the fact that we are taught to ignore all the pain and suffering that our system causes to those at the bottom so that we can have the wealth and privileges we have actually a GOOD thing?
Or does all of this lead to suffering - suffering we’ve stigmatized and swept under the rug, continuing to press the idea that it’s still better to be wealthy and disconnected than it would be to be poor/less wealthy?
Is it possible that even those who are ‘winning’ in our system are losing?
Is it possible that if we were to work together a little more, if we were to create a system with better social safety nets, with more inclusion, with more understanding of the human condition we might end up with less profit for those at the top of our system, and less chance at LUXURY - but that in exchange for that we would have LESS insecurity, fear, dread and existential crisis - because we’d have actual SECURITY?
Is it possible that if we redistributed a little more, created a system where everyone got a living wage, where we valued LIFE more than we value entertainment/cheap goods/luxury that we would create a world where no one is uber wealthy, but at the same time no one is falling through the cracks either?
If we said no to exploitation and called for a more community based society - would the sacrifice of being able to ‘fight our way’ into the upper middle class be worth the fact that we could ALL have enough to live an actually GOOD life?
Is it possible that less capacity for wealth would create more capacity for reasonable working hours and conditions for all, everything still getting done - but getting done in a way where MORE people could enjoy and actually ENJOYABLE existence - one where they could have enough - and let’s be honest in our world today we could still have MORE than enough.
Is it possible that a community mindset would actually make ALL of us feel better? That the removal of the constant pressure to perform - even if we have a lot - would create a situation where having less ‘luxury’ wasn’t really an issue, because the fear we’re trying to soothe WITH that luxury isn’t there anymore?
If we could all be secure in the system - would we still NEED to be over consuming and producing? Or could we find reasonable ways to keep society running that leave more time for ALL of us to explore OTHER THINGS?
What About Innovation?
Some people fear that if we made the world a safe place for everyone via community based systems, that in this we would lose the motivation to ‘innovate.’ That it’s the pain and struggle that creates our greatest leaders - and thus to make everyone safe would be to make everyone lazy.
Some people *may* be at the top of the ladder due to their innovation and that’s something to celebrate. There are SOME who have done true good in the world and who are celebrated/lifted by our culture for that contribution - and again I want to validate and acknowledge that.
But at the same time, many people who we praise as being pictures of success are people who use the most resources, who have depended the most upon exploitation in order to get to where they are and who are capitalizing upon a system that requires that many people don’t have enough.
Most people who had the OPPORTUNITY to innovate, had that opportunity because they were already in a state of access, wealth and privilege to some degree. They had the time and the resources to focus on creating something because they weren’t trapped in focusing on survival.
And pretty much every innovator then depended upon exploitative labor and unfair pricing in order to make their innovations a ‘success’ in the marketplace.
It’s not those who are ‘suffering’ that are innovating. It’s those with access and privilege that are ABLE to innovate.
If anything, we’re LOSING people who COULD be innovating in our system where so many have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other or are in such a state of stress they can’t be creative, more than we are creating innovators with the pressure.
Those we celebrate are often the ones who push themselves into states of constant production and consumption - drowning in their own lack of connection to humanity. They have to reply upon exploitative practices to get their innovations out to market and to have them succeed.
It can be no other way in our system.
Those we celebrate as being ‘boot-strappers’ or people who overcame, often aren’t telling the whole truth about how they got to where they are, and often aren’t revealing all the ways in which they were advantaged, helped and supported in getting to where they are. Oftentimes these people cheated, and aren’t being forthcoming about that.
They aren’t acknowledging all the people they had to step on, all the labor they had to exploit, all the ways they had to turn off their own feelings and desires in order to fit in, all the ways they had to tow the line for things that caused them and others harm, all the ways they had to sacrifice their humanity to be strong, cut throat and dominant, all the ways in which the system asks them to give up true connection and true pleasure for superficial relationships and luxury.
The real reality is, innovation would happen MORE in a fair system, not less. More people would have the RESOURCES to innovate - and in that we would have BETTER, not worse outcomes.
This System Isn’t Working For Anyone
We’re not looking at how miserable this entire thing makes everyone.
We’re still being fooled into the idea that wealth in our system actually leads to happiness.
We’re still being fooled into the numbing and stimulation that we’re headed as our ‘reward’ for participating in the system only serves to degrade us further.
We’re still being fooled into the idea that there’s something wrong with us when we can’t hustle, drive and work hard enough to ‘succeed’ in this system without losing our souls and sanities along the way.
We’re still looking for the ‘good people’ to put at the top of our systems instead of realizing that so long as we have a top, we’re going to have suffering.
The system isn’t set up for HUMANS. It’s not set up for a practically functional society. It’s not set up to support everyone.
It’s inherently a pyramid. It’s a system that REQUIRES that there are people at the bottom of the system who can be exploited to help profit those at the top. It’s inherently imbalanced in the sense that those who START at the top tend to STAY there, and upwards mobility is actually really rare - because to be at the bottom is to be put in a constant state of stress and lack of opportunity and resource, making getting out incredibly difficult.
It’s inherently built on false inflation of value so that those who own the means of production can hoard more for themselves than they offer back to society.
It’s built upon valuing luxury, excess and waste - and it’s built on attaining these things THROUGH the destruction of our natural environment and of the lives who labor to create these luxuries.
Is it possible that our idea of a successful person is part of the reason we’re destroying ourselves without being able to recognize that we’re doing it?
Is it possible that this system we’ve created where ‘success’ basically means that you’re a maximal consumer and producer means that exploitation and degradation HAVE to exist? That poverty has to exist? That unequal distribution of opportunity and chance has to exist?
Is it possible that we need to stop measuring ourselves against a corrupted system and start measuring ourselves against our actual humanity?
Is it possible that we’re anxious, overwhelmed and depressed because our two options are to destroy ourselves participating in a rotten system or try to find some other way which is almost impossible for most people?
Is it possible that WE are not broken? But our definitions of SUCCESS are broken?
What if the answer is those of us in the middle seeing where we don’t need to hoard anymore, where we can give up the fight for more for ourselves, where we can check out of the superficial ways of being so that we can start to assess what really matters in life?
Then from there, could it be that the more WE pull out of supporting the systems we have, that the systems will then HAVE to change?
Is it possible that we have to deprogram ourselves to see success in a new way - and in that we’re going to be able to start demanding something better for all of us?
What if finding our enough is the key, and then working to redistribute is the solution?
Can we question the system enough that we can break ourselves out of the paradigm of dominance completely?
I think we can.
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