If you haven’t done so already, please go and read
In this series. They are important and this part won’t make much sense without the other two pieces 🙂
Now let’s carry on!
Our Society Is A Pyramid
In real reality, our society is set up in a way where there is a whole bottom ‘class’ that is constantly living in a state of threat - because the work they have access to is going to under-pay and over work them, the communities they live in will be under resourced and often antagonized, and their access to upwards mobility will be extremely limited. This bottom class again will be constantly exploited and scapegoated as a way of amassing the most wealth at the top AND as a way of ‘scaring’ the middle class of people into conforming to the system lest they end up like ‘those people.’
This is not to say that many, many people don’t do AMAZINGLY well under these set of circumstances, and it’s also not to say that all societal problems would be solved if we resourced everyone. Individuals are still individuals and there is still personal choice and will - but we DO have to acknowledge the systemic issues that make ‘good choices’ harder, and we have to acknowledge the TRAUMA that causes people to behave in ways that are going to look to be in opposition to their best interests and the interests of society in general. Sociological issues are complex and we don’t want to oversimplify in either direction - saying everything is a result of the structure or everything is a result of choice - the truth is in the middle.
The middle class and the slightly upper middle class then tend to have enough, and oftentimes have MORE than enough - but they are kept in a constant state of manufactured insecurity via the continual threat that someone is going to come along to take their job, the constant threat that they aren’t socially acceptable, the constant threat that any security they do have could we washed away at any moment and they are then in a perpetual state of stress, striving and feeling like they are never good enough.
Remember, the first program that ALL of us received as children in the temporary codependent reality of our childhoods was that love and approval = safety and rejection = death. Because to us as children when we were fully dependent upon our caregivers for everything, it really SEEMED to us that their care and provision was a direct result of their love and approval of us. Thus we learned deep in our BODIES that to be loved is to be SAFE and that to be rejected is to DIE. We carry this program forward into our adult lives, which means even when it goes against our ADULT reasoning and understanding - the feeling that we are being isolated or that we will be rejected still triggers a deep survival fear within us, causing us to really FEEL like we’re about to die/some emergency is happening. This triggers us into fear mode, and it drives us to look for WHERE WE’RE BEING ABANDONED/REJECTED so that we can ‘fix’ that by changing our behavior in some way.
This means too that when we experience pain that we don’t fully understand - be that not liking our jobs that we’ve been conditioned to believe we should love, not being happy in our relationships, not being happy in our bodies - we automatically start to look for where we’re failing to live up to expectation rather than looking for what’s ACTUALLY causing our pain. Because in childhood this was how we learned all problems were solved. Get more approval and your pain will be taken away.
This fear then causes us to double down on all of our habits and behaviors, all of our ways of coping and numbing, all of our ways of trying to fit in so that we will be approved of - because the mind in this state of fear doesn’t want to see other options, other truths or anything that may contradict our patterns. It wants to SURVIVE. For almost ALL of history, survival was BEST achieved through repetitive action. Doing what we’d always done. So when we get scared, our bodies and minds shut down and look for the familiar - keeping us locked in our mental and behavioral patterns of seeking approval in whatever ways we learned we needed to as children - and thus, we continue to buy into the system that we are not enough and that our pain is all our fault - and that the answer is to do better to fit in.
This is why we can be so easily manipulated into living lives that don’t feel good, into constantly believing that our pain is OUR FAULT, and into a chronic state of fear and stress. That fear of being abandoned/rejected is used as a tool in our society via the constant changing of trends, what is and isn’t acceptable, what is and isn’t valued by society and so on to keep us perpetually in a state of feeling like we’re on precarious ground, and like the solution is more self help, self improvement and self fixing.
Then the upper class flaunts their wealth, pretends to be philanthropic as a way of demonstrating that they believe they DESERVE to choose when and where the wealth in society will be spent and on who, and continues to pedal the message that they are SO much wealthier than 99% of people because they DESERVE to be.
With all this stress people are then constantly vulnerable to all the ways society distracts us from our pain and from what’s really going on - via entertainment, sports, sensationalist media, food, drug, alcohol, partying and all other forms of working to avoid feeling what we’re really feeling, working to just get through the days and weeks - and this just generates MORE profit for those at the top of the totem pole as they manufacture and sell us things we don’t need and that actually cause us harm - but that we WANT because the system is so painful we need a way to cope.
Then we’re taught to blame ourselves for indulging in these distractions as though there’s something wrong with us for wanting an escape from the constant pressure of the system.
Which leads to a vicious cycle. We constantly feel threat, which makes us feel MORE dependent on the system, which means those who own everything can manipulate and control things more, leading to more and more desperate situations for everyone else, which makes them desperate for distraction, which leads to shame and guilt or self sabotage - which makes more opportunity for people to believe THEY are the problem instead of seeing that it’s the system - and round and round it goes.
So long as we are continually scared for ourselves, in a state of constant fear about our safety and capacity to make ends meet, so long as we are continuing to believe that wealth and access is available to anyone who is willing to work hard, and so long as we believe that luxury is the antidote to our stress and pain - we are going to be stuck in a system that feels HORRIBLE for most people and we’re going to keep blaming ourselves instead of seeing the actual cause.
People in every sect of our society are suffering - and we’re trained to view this suffering as being our fault, as being a result of not being productive enough, of not having the right things, of not fitting in to culture enough - and we’re trained to demonize those who are the MOST exploited and to worship those who are the most exploitative.
We have a totally messed up value system because we’re deeply confused about what actually brings value to life and what only causes harm and destruction.
We feel scared all the time, and we’re being told over and over and over again that it’s because we are lacking something - we either aren’t producing enough or aren’t consuming enough.
Enter, the self help/spiritual influencer.
Where Is The INFLUENCER Coming From?
Generally speaking, our influencers are coming from a place of disconnection from seeing our systems, and they’re often coming from a place of access and privilege that most people don’t have.
This isn’t to say that all social media influencers have nothing of value to offer, nor is it to say that they are all totally out of touch with what’s going on in the ‘real world’ and what would be beneficial for people in terms of helping them actually move forward in their lives.
Rather it IS to say that many, many of them are sitting in a place in society where the ‘empowered’ actions they’re able to take to make their own lives better aren’t universally available, where moving ahead in their own lives isn’t actually making them happier/giving them more health but rather is only perpetuating the toxic cycles of excess we’re all swimming in, and where again they aren’t seeing the broader systems that are at play in all of our lives - thus they tend to place the blame for why we feel shitty onto things that aren’t the true cause.
Most of our influencers are deeply caught up in our culture of not enough, and are deeply indoctrinated into the idea that pain is always a result of a personal failing/flaw and that ANYTHING that we could ever want in our lives is possible for us to create/achieve so long as we ‘work hard enough’ to make it happen.
Most of our influencers are themselves caught in loops of never feeling good enough or satisfied, in feeling the drain of the system, in feeling burnt out by their normal jobs and normal lives - and they aren’t seeing the real cause.
They aren’t seeing that it’s not a lack of them ‘doing what they’re passionate about.’ It’s not a lack of motivation to work harder so that they can have more. It’s not about finding higher level relationships. It’s not about better personal choices and more personal empowerment.
They are also indoctrinated into the cultural lie that if you are suffering in the system that means you are failing on some level.
They may have realized that they hate working ‘real jobs’, that they want more authenticity and true connection, that the ‘normal’ way of eating and living harms our bodies, that what we’re being offered as the template for a successful life isn’t 100% something we should actually be striving for - and this is great!
But where most of them get lost is in not seeing the real ROOT of all of these issues.
Instead of realizing that so much of our pain is caused by the CONDITIONING that we aren’t enough even when we have and do enough, instead of realizing that expansion at all costs is toxic when it means we have to dip into exploitation, instead of seeing that working normal jobs is horrible because of the fact that they don’t pay adequate compensation for labor and because conditions are inhumane, instead of realizing that our systems of distribution and access make it so that many people don’t have the ability to make ideal choices for themselves and their health - they get fully caught up in the ‘personal choice’ narrative that drives them to go DEEPER into the system, even as they think they are taking themselves OUT of the system.
Nowhere do we see this playing out more than in the ‘spiritual abundance’ influencer circles.
In the spheres where people are teaching that you can ‘manifest’ your dream life, as much wealth as you want, perfect health, perfect relationships and a life that is perpetually blissful so long as you ‘find your purpose’ and live that to the highest degree possible - what we’re ACTUALLY seeing is capitalism dressed up with some sparkly font and new age lingo.
We hear influencers tell us that money is ‘just an energy’ and that we ‘attract what we are.’ Therefore, if you want more money, better relationships, better health and so on, all you have to do is better yourself. Lift your vibration. Increase your ‘value’ in terms of what you offer the world. We’re told that if you want to make a lot of money, the key is to discover your ‘gifts’ so that you can start offering those to the world - all with the assumption that everyone has a special ‘purpose’ that is somehow going to magically be valued by our culture.
This is capitalism.
It’s spreading the idea that:
A) More money/abundance is always the answer to our problems. Which again, is *sometimes* true when we genuinely don’t have enough, and because in our system money really DOES buy security and safety to a degree. But at the same time much of the time our issue isn’t that we actually need more, it’s that we need to learn to check out of the culture that tells us we constantly need more when we in fact, have enough to be perfectly happy - and that our issues are stemming from other areas of our lives. We need to see WHY we don’t have enough and where that isn’t something we’re doing wrong - but is a result of our unfair systems. We need to understand that more is better to a POINT, and beyond that it becomes harmful excess.
B) It assumes that your value as a human and the amount of money you’re able to make are equivalent. This is how capitalism has taught us to see ourselves and everyone else. This is how capitalism has trained us to accept inhumane working conditions, less than living wages and all the other forms of exploitation that are required for the wealthiest in our society to continue to hoard more and more for themselves. We’ve been indoctrinated into believing that the human life is only worth as much as it provides for the SYSTEM vs. seeing it as something inherently valuable that the system should be set up to support. You are not what CAPITALISM values you as. You are not your LABOR. That is capitalism. Your worth is not defined by what you do in our systems of production and consumption and the fact that we are all trained to see people as ‘lesser or more than’ based on what our culture is valuing right now is totally messed up and out of sync with truth. Our world doesn’t value what has real value, and again, people can’t be boiled down to what they DO. This is just a justification to exploit some life so that other life can prosper. It’s not a spiritual truth, it’s a way of camouflaging toxic capitalism.
C) It assumes that if you find something you’re really good at/passionate about, that this thing SHOULD always be monetized and that that monetization will ALWAYS lead to wealth if you invest yourself enough. It assumes that our work should always be something that’s deeply connected to our personal selves - which is not always true and not always healthy. Many, many people might find that they have no issue working a job that isn’t their ‘passion’ - so long as that job provides enough income and security that they can enjoy themselves well enough while at work and so that they can have a fulfilling existence OUTSIDE of work. It again assumes that there’s some sort of fair rule in our system that everything has an equal chance at being valued - which is not the case by any stretch of the imagination. It postures that people who do work that NEEDS to be done like city maintenance, food distribution and other ‘low level’ jobs simply aren’t living their fullest lives - and this again is a fallacy. If we valued what had value, and if we made a rule that every human being who is offering something TO SOCIETY in their work should be compensated fairly - we wouldn’t have the terrible working conditions we do that lead people to feeling they need to eject themselves to find something better. If we can understand that our cultural values are not in alignment with true life, if we can see that many people get paid ENORMOUS amounts to do things that are objectively harmful while others can’t make ends meet doing essential services - we can see the whole flaw in this logic.
D) It assumes that these lines between who we are and what we do should be as blurry as possible. That we should be selling ourselves to the system as much as humanly possible and that the answer to our work dissatisfaction is always to find work that we are passionate about - rather than seeing that oftentimes again our work dissatisfaction comes from too much labor hours required for to little pay to have a reasonable quality of life. It assumes that our STORY and our LIFE should be a part of our LABOR, and that that’s the only way to be happy - to integrate our entire being into our consumption and production practices. This.is.not.healthy.
E) It assumes that our culture, again, is going to magically value everyone’s ‘passion’ equally and GREATLY. It’s assuming that we live in an economy where anyone can be wealthy doing ANYTHING - which is simply not the case. Many of us have passions and things we love doing that we’re NEVER going to be ‘good enough’ at for society to value, and many of us have passions that will simply never be highly prized by culture. Many people again do work that is a net harm on the planet and people and prosper via exploitation, and people doing amazing things aren’t supported. Our culture doesn’t have a clear view on what’s beneficial - and therefore again, this whole line of thinking is a fallacy.
This isn’t spirituality. This isn’t manifestation.
This is capitalism.
Again, this isn’t to say that finding joy or purpose in your work isn’t a good thing. This isn’t to say that doing something we love might not bring us wealth. This isn’t to say that if we ARE able to do something we love for money that we SHOULDN’T.
Rather it’s to say this idea of ‘finding your purpose and getting rich’ is totally oversimplified, it ignores the reality of our systems and it minimizes the human life in a way that’s neither spiritual or helpful.
Ok, let’s let that settle for this week, and come back next week for more!