Today I want to explore why more individuality/consumerism isn't the answer to our problems.
Why becoming 'more self reliant' or responsible for ourselves isn't the key to freedom. Why shifting how we buy things sin't the answer ether.
They are part of the solution - but the stuff we are facing as a global community is going to require an up-level in how we address our reality. Which will require doing NEW things - not just doing the same things differently.
We Need A New Way:
More capitalism, more consumerism, more free market - these things are not going to be able to fill the gaps in society that are causing such massive unrest in our global population.
The real reality is the same that it always has been - there will never, ever, ever be equality among men because we are not created equal.
He who controls the resources (that which people need to survive) will always have power over the people.
Whether they want that power or not - if they have the capacity to acquire that which is needed to live in a way that exceeds the capacity of others, they will always see that they have MORE than others do. Even if they ONLY ever took as much as they needed and left the rest - there will always be those who can’t even do that much for themselves. Meaning even if these strong people only take what they need, and can then render those resources useful (as most resources have to be acquired and then processed in some way to be useful) they will have MORE than those who can’t acquire or process those resources as effectively or at all.
Innovation, changes in how we live and work as individuals and society that improve things for us, come out of this continual desire that the human being has to optimize their life experiences. We all have a creative impulse to some degree - and when we are given the resources we need to be reasonably provided for, most of us are going to find that we naturally err towards creative expression in SOME shape or form.
This is innate to humans.
Scarcity Doesn't Create Genius:
The idea that the restrictions of upward mobility, that having fewer social safety nets for individuals in society, that ‘pulling yourself up by your boot straps’ and creating a ‘competitive’ market place is going to generate the MOST amount of innovation and will eventually ‘work itself out’ to be a place where the market demands what’s best for it, ie. that people (who are the market) will decide what they NEED, what is of most VALUE to them and society at large when given enough time - is total malarky.
We have proven this to be true over the course of our experiment with a free market - and watching what has come of each place with the varying degrees of safety nets that accompany that free market.
I believe if we as a humanity continue forward and continue to actually be HONEST with ourselves about the results we are getting from our experiments - we are going to come to recognize a few things:
1. The fact that there is never going to be equality among humans - no matter what is popular in the market and no matter to what degree we evolve and innovate - means that there will never be an actually FAIR playing field of opportunity for success in a society with no social safety nets in place. No matter how much we evolve and change - there will ALWAYS be those who are better at collecting and processing whatever resources are desired/required/in demand at the time to be profitable.
Those people will always then have the power to rig the system in their favor, making it even harder for those who were somehow manipulated or not given a fair chance to begin with to rise up.
YES there is value in hard work and not having everything ‘handed to you’.
But no. There will never be equality of outcome no matter how equal the opportunity.
It’s simply not how humans work.
Thus, we are going have to decide if we value human life MORE than we value what that human life can contribute to the whole or create. And if not, that is going to mean we let large swaths of the human population perish simply because they don’t have the means to survive in ANY system.
2. That we still don’t have anything near equal opportunity. The world we live in is far, far from equal. There are countries that have access to nearly unlimited resources, and others that have access to almost none.
Every country throughout all of time, at some point of other, used or uses SLAVES as free/cheep labour in order to generate wealth for the few at the expense of the many. When this slavery is ended (if it is) it’s not without a cost and damage t that people group that means that even IF they are given a totally equal hand in society NOW - the damage done by those years of slavery means they are behind from the get go.
We don’t have a universal literacy.
We don’t have universals access to health care, adequate nutrition, infrastructure, safe learning environments, save LIVING conditions - all the things that are the foundation for a human who even has the CAPACITY to work hard and achieve something in our world.
To think that people who need assistance are simply being ‘lazy’ or that if we created social systems to support those who have stations that put them behind even if they start would ‘take advantage’ of said assistance is again, to fully misunderstand the human condition.
We don’t naturally ‘take advantage’ of resources and being helped.
Especially when we are made to feel relatively SAFE overall.
In fact, when we feel this threat of not enough and like we must do anything at whatever cost to provide for ourselves and others - this actually GENERATES dictators, slave owners and other oppressive and violent forms of governing.
If there was more of an equal distribution of resources we would not see lazy people taking advantage 0f a system, and we would also put an end to heavy handed leaders who run off with their power because they feel so threatened. If we really want a more productive world - supporting those who have something to give but need support (even again EQUAL OPPORTUNITY that they WEREN’T GIVEN) is actually going to benefit the whole. Most people don’t turn to crime/become ‘unproductive’ members of society because they are ‘bad people’ - they do because they don’t have a chance in the system and are then forced to do whatever they need to do to survive.
Same with the ‘horrible’ people we see at the top.
That’s what competition and scarcity does.
Support Generates Innovation:
People innovate MORE when they are supported. This is key for us to recognize as a human species.
We have been doing a lot of creative work under the pressure of HAVE TO because of course, we have been fighting to survive for a long time. Not understanding much. But this doesn’t mean that this is where innovation MUST come from. In fact, we see again many people living in Westernized countries that have resources being INCREDIBLY innovative. Not out of emergency - but out of having been given the resources to develop themselves and their craft to a point where they can EVOLVE something based on insight and desire to improve - not from a place of ‘oh my gosh if we don’t do this we are going to die.’ If this is what humanity has been able to accomplish in what is technically a pretty consistent fight or flight response - which we KNOW LOWERS OUR IQ and creative capacities - imagine what a supported society could achieve?
Lack of wealth disparity makes a whole population SAFER.
- Crime rates go down when people have access.
- They are more willing to take risks for innovation.
- They are more willing to go for LONG TERM solutions to problems over short term profit/that have long term negative consequences.
- They are more apt to pay attention to things, their community, being less selfish and more unified in their way of living.
- People who are living in a society where they aren’t desperately afraid not to have enough don’t turn to desperate measures to numb the fear or get what they need.
It’s as simple as that.
Structure Is Not The Enemy Of Freedom:
We will always need some form of structure to make a society run. Without governing bodies to some degree - even if this is just the people of the community coming together to democratically decide upon things - the free market won’t sort out the bugs. Things need to be organized.
Finally, the free market isn’t being created and run by the people and what they actually want and need.
Its being run currently by corporations and government structures that have a vested interest in hoarding the mass amounts of resources they have for themselves through manipulating the minds of the general population into engaging with and feeding this system of inequality.
Consumerism as it stands, especially in societies with little to no social safety nets have created s situation where MASSIVE lies, public manipulation, misinformation and out right destruction has flourished.
The very real constant fear of not having enough drives people who have power to doing whatever they have to do to acquire more for themselves, at the expense of whomever they have to manipulate and exploit to get it.
Those at the bottom them have little to no opportunity to get out of their situation AD they are more susceptible to being told that this or that is going to make them happy, that this or that politician is going to be ‘for them.’
That this or that item is going to give them STATUS which will theoretically give them more of a CHANCE in the system (which it won’t) and are more dependent upon stimulants and distractions to get through their miserable days.
It’s not fostering a fair and free market based on true supply and demand. These lack of social safety nets are CRATING the corruption we see in society that we then turn around and say we need more individual liberties to remedy. NO. We don’t need private property protection because of ‘bad people’ it’s because of BAD SYSTEMS that don’t allow people to have enough. We don’t have evil corporations and governments due to a lack of individual freedoms - we have these things due to disenfranchised populations being manipulated by those who have more access. It’s not going to fix itself.
We are going to find a solution in realizing that people work better together and when they have enough not to worry for their survival.
Compassion Is The Way Forward:
Social programs, lack of billionaires, less social disparity by acknowledging the inherent inequality in humans and addressing that through more equal distribution regardless of skill will create the peace AND the innovation we want. We can figure this out. I know we can. Humanity has NEVER THRIVED as a collection of individuals working for ourselves. ALWAS as a community working together based in the reality of our differences. The more global our world society becomes, the more we are going to see this to be true. The more we connect, the more we are going to have to learn to work together to thrive and not off ourselves with a world war 3.
This is NOT about getting RID OF individual identity, or the opportunity to ‘make something’ of yourself - being motivated to contribute/work hard/innovate/create/make something of yourself purely because in so doing you can acquire riches.
Again, we will come to see that there is actually MORE to life than material possession.
We want so much more than we need because it gives a sense of security that we wouldn’t lack if we had social safety nets AND because it gives us a social buffer and sense of belonging that again we could foster in TRUE and REAL ways without the constant fear of competition and lack.
Becoming our true selves would be EASIER in a society with provisions. Socializing would be easier. We would’t be so desperate to fit in so as to not be alone - because being ALONE means DEATH. We are not better people in this system. We are not bringing out the best in each other or humanity at large here. We aren’t actually even tapping INTO ur POTENTIAL as individuals within this system. Social safety nets would actually FOSTER individuality more than hindering it.
The less we are focused on getting our basic needs met, the more we can focus on creativity.
Creative ways to support everyone.
The more we can take the risk to get educated or do challenging things that actually make us MORE productive.
The more we have access the more we can DO.
The less we are manipulated and the more we have the capacity to demand transparency and good faith leadership.
We should not be fighting AGAINST the things thinking they will take away our freedoms. They all make us much freer to produce and consume and LIVE in ways that actually serve all of us better.
We thrive together. As a society. As a collective of individuals. When individuality is REALLY celebrated, we will have systems where may, many more can thrive.
Always have, always will.