12.5% Think - 87.5% Follow
This lens is about governments controlling its people - the rich getting richer, how society will not change until we as individuals (and as a species) evolve into something more compassionate, more caring and less greedy than we are now.
Those in government and those who have money to control those in power are the ones who ensure that their social, ecomnic and political structure remains the same. Why would they want it any other way.?
Most of the people, regardless of what country they live in, are unable to think for themselves. They believe whatever they hear on the radio, see on TV or read in papers and magazines. They make the assumption that the owners of these media and the people that work within them are out for the common good of us all. They fail to realize that the owners of these information resources are wealthy people who are not going to doing anything to endanger their own personal status or wealth.
The big difference between the cartoon and real life is that the leaders don't drown but instead maintian their status quo. Mind you, many of the followers still suffer as they are are kept in the social and economic situation they have always been in. The rich and powerful remain rich and powerful. The others still will not be able to afford food on their table, get the medical attention they need, and are still denied the opportunity to improve the qualitiy of their lives.
This unfair situation in the world is everywhere we look. Compare the wealh of a country like the United States or Australia and then look at the poverty in Somalia and Haiti. Nor do you need to look outside even the wealthiest of countries to see the enormously rich and the masses of people who struggle day by day just to keep their heads above water.
87.5% of people (maybe it's only 84.7% ... but you get the point) are like the lemmings shown in this cartoon. They go wherever their leaders tell them to go. They just follow blindly because they are unable to think for themselves. Look at the cartoon - they are all following the two who are leading but haven't got a clue what dangers lie ahead. All except one - he's got a lifejacket on - he's the only thinker among them.
This lens was a difficult one to write. I started with the idea of showing how we are controlled by people in power. As I wrote, I found that I was straying to other subjects which, although related, did not keep me on the straight and narrow path. Still, I am somewhat pleased with how this has turned out knowing I will enlarge and "tweak" this lens as time permits.
I welcome you to my lens and hope that you can understand what it is I have been trying to say here. Thanks.
The Main Control System - The Government
Governments come in different shapes and sizes. There are democracies, dictatorships, socialist governments and even communist ones. They all claim that they are governing for the good of their people. Democracies are especially prone to telling you how great their system of fairness and human rights is. What they fail to tell you, however, is that a bad democratic government is far worse that a good dictatorship. What really matters is how concerned the people in power are for the people who live within their domain.
In those countries which allow elections, consider how many times a winning candidate reneges on his promise to do something even when he has the power to do so. Empty promises far outnumber the promises that are fulfilled.
What do governments do when somebody speaks out about injustices? They try to shut them up. Some countries are more severe than others. Some countries even allow us the right to free speech (or at least make us think we have that right)!
Everything is fine until we step over the invisible boundary and then find that our governments start slapping sanctions and punishments on us. Every country in the world has its own boundaries - some may be more lenient than others but all governments have their own built-in security system to make sure the internal structure stays pretty much the same. Sure, sometimes there are small changes and those have usually taken years to occur but for the most part, things remain the same.
SOPA : As my wife says: " Did you know??? If you buy a book and lend it to your friend without getting "Express written permissiion" from the Publisher, you are breaking the law?? Read the inside or back cover - small print. We should ALL be put in jail!!! Better still, we should ALL write to the Publishers - millions and millions of requests ...."
The idiot politicians who are trying to pass this law will also be breaking the law because we all break the Copyright Laws !!!
Always have - always will.
Perhaps a solution is that the creators of movies, books, art, etc. be giving one settlement based on the what is deemed to be the value of their work and then it become "Public Domain" throught the entire world. How, I have no idea but that seems to be the only situation that might satisfy everyone.
Other Control Systems
Besides the actual government, there are many other systems in place which ensure that the status quo does not change.
Those with power and influence can manipulate the environment for themselves, their familly and friends. They can minimize the judicial penalties that might threaten them; they can get their sons and daughters into the best educational facilities without the need to prove academic achievement and, they can appoint people in high-paying positions and influential jobs on the basis of, "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours". Merit does not enter into it.
Unlike you or I, they are privileged and with that privilege, they get perks and can avoid the obstacles that we must deal with. Rich people rarely go to jail - maybe a small slap on the hands, that's all. If they do go, they get a luxury suite.
Greed, Power and Lack of Compassion
What really irks me the most is the inequality in this world. I have been to places where I have seen hundreds of million dollar yachts (yes, in the same city) and I have been to places where people live in houses constructed of old boards, plastic and cardboard all patched together in an effort to protect them from the weather.
I have seen barrels of food thrown away on cruise ships and have seen people begging for food. I've seen people in limousines driving by people sleeping on the streets.
What is wrong with us? It's like everybody is blind to what goes on outside their own world. Well, I suppose not everyone, but most seem to be.
We are all guitly - yes, including me. Some people are more guilty than others. Some of us do try to help others less fortunate than ourselves but still we could do more. Where exactly does one draw the line?
My wife and I go on cruise vacations when instead we could send a couple of thousands dollars to Oxfam, Red Cross DIsaster Relief, and other organizations. Instead we wait until there is a disaster before we send money for aid.
Mind you, we are sponsoring 6 children in developing countries through World Vision. We could certainly afford to sponsor a couple more but we do not. So, yes, we are not the perfect example to follow but we are trying to do something. There are others who do little at all and in some cases, nothing.
I wonder how much people such as Paris Hilton does with all the money she has. She might very well being doing something but I rather suspect she does little in the way of charity. If she does, my apologies to her, but since she is so rich (and young) I suspect she knows little of anything outside her own environment. There are many rich and influential people who do nothing to help the less fortunate. I am not trying to single Paris out - there are thousands who could help and do, like Oprah and Bill Gates but many others do not.
Let's not forget how those with money and power are able to exploit those among us who are in need. The greater our need, the easier we are to exploit. How many people work for a $1 a day so that they can have enough money to buy a few grains of rice?
Countries say "buy Canadian", "buy American"," buy British" but the majority of their imports come from third-world countries in Asia and Latin America. Why? It's simple economics - if the quality is comparable, why would you pay extra for it? Fair Trade has a long way to go.The Chinese economic system, with the mass population that exists there, is on a lower cost basis than in what we call the Industralized World. Therefore we purchase outside our own country, preserving a portion of our wealth at the expense of others.
Che Guevara, who by the way was a medical doctor, took a motorcycle trip through Latin American countries. He was appalled by the conditions in which the Latinos lived and the manner they in which they were being exploited by other countries. Yes, he was a revolutionnary - one who was killed (machine-gunned to death in Bolivia in his detention cell where he was unarmed) by those who saw him as a threat to their status quo.
Yes - even Zynga !!!
Yes, you cannot even escape when playing games on the Internet. Sure, it's not as serious but it just shows how control can be achieved. There are millions of people playing games such as Farmville. Zynga continually introduces new features and people just can't break away. Some are all ready to break their addiction but up pops a new challenge they can't resist and on and on they go.
I have jokingly said that Zynga has discovered a way to control a lot of us. Imagine, if you will, a Fire Chief saying his men can't respond to a fire because his crew all need to harvest their crops in Farmville. Go figure, eh?
These are the people who don't (or are unable to) think for themselves. That could be for a number of reasons including:
1. They are too young to realize
2. They are impressionable
3. They are obsessed with one idea and can't think outside the box
4.They are too busy just trying to work and survive and have no time to reflect upon anything else
5. They do not have access to information
6. Perhaps some just don't care
Take. for exampe, those who will tell you there is only one God because the Bible says so. I got rid of a friend who told me exactly that on Facebook. She didn't realize that the Bible was written by man (not God). She also did not realize that had she been born in a different culture, she would be promoting another God as stated in a different Holy Book?
Religion itself is an important controlling device. Many good deeds and good people are born from religious faith. However, when a controlling device is included, there are pitfalls.
The Roman Catholic Church sanctioned the Crusades because Christianity was losing a foothold in the Middle East during the Middle Ages. The Crusades were an attempt to restore Christianity - the action was approved by Pope Urban II.
How many people died in the name of religion then? How many die today in the name of religion?
The Thinkers and The Doers
The problem with the 12.5% or so that are thinkers is that some of them become our leaders and do nothing to help create a more equitable society. They are the greedy ones whose thoughts are egocentric and self-fullfilling.
Many of the remaining thinkers do not have the resources to make any drastic change within our society. The "Occupy Movement" which started in various countries in late 2011, has shown us that things can be quickly brought back under control. That movement was rather like a small spark in an old fire which was quickly put out by those in authority. What we need is a huge spark and a big fire. That is not to say we need a violent revolution but we need a much stronger and broader collective desire for change and perhaps it can be best achieved by larger, longer and more effective civil disobedience. Having said that, we must be prepared for some of us being sanctioned and punished by the authorities for opposing them.
If we do not back down but continue the pressure, perhaps the governments in power will tire of our protests and give us a little crumb of freedom and fairness every once in a while. Though not much, each little crumb is one more step towards a society where we can all be equal.
Inspect before you accept
Whenever you are presented with new information whether it be radio, TV or the printed word, ask yourself if it is plausable. Many reports that come out, especially where governments have control, have hidden ulterior motives.
It cannot be stressed enough that you need to be cognitive of the fact that everything might not be really what it appears. Try to get alternaivte versions of the same story and weigh out the crediblity of each.
The Internet has proven to be a wonderful thing in that many of the reports, blogs, postings,links and uploads are coming from people whose strings are not pulled by others. They search diligently and, for the most part, post accurate informtaion. That is not to say that all of the information is accurate nor that they don't have hidden agenda. However, with the hundreds of thousands of people trying to inform others, we have a chance of filtering out what is the truth and what is not. No longer must we "swallow" whatever our governments try to feed us.
The Importance of the Internet
As I alluded to in an earlier module, the Internet is of utmost importance in today's society. It will help steer us toward a world that is fairer, more understanding and more tolerant of each another.
If you, like most of us, are on Facebook or another social medum, you will have friends throughout the world: friends who are a different color, whose culture and language are not the same as yours and whose religious views are also different. Yet, they are our friends and by being so, they and we are better for it. In the future, it will be even more evident than it is today, that the Internet is instrumental in bringing peace and equality to the world. I can only hope that it can accomplish total equality before we destroy ourselves.
Please look at the disaster/relief requests. We cannot be equal if many of us have so much and others have so little. We should try to balance this inequality by donating what we can through the Intenret. We have provided some links below for your consideration.
The percentage of Thinkers among us
What do you think is the percentage of those people who can think entirely on their own?
George Orwell - 1984
I only got half-way through this novel but what I do remember of it, seems to fit well here. I must read it again but this time to completion.
It talks of Big Brother and how the government tries to control our thoughts and actions. Ok, so we made it beyond 1984 and not all countries have slipped into an "Orwellian State" but some are not very far from a totalitarian society.
Nobody can trust anyone. If you have thoughts, they are best kept to yourself because the Secret Police could be watching what you. You must even be careful of what you do in case it is considered a threat to "Their System".
So, why did I write this lens?
I wrote this lens as I result of what I have seen going on in the world these last few months. The unhappy people in Syria, Egypt, Libya; the wars around the world in which a country's infrastructure is destroyed by another country which claims it is there to improve the quality of those citizens' lives.
I see young people who need jobs and sign up for the military on to find themselves in combat zones. Citizens and military alike suffer during wars - the shortage of food, the need for medical care as a result of the violence, the dead and injured. Regarding the dead and injured - the lucky ones are the dead ones - they don't have to try to survive with governments who toss them aside once they have fulfilled their purpose. How many veterans of war live in meager existence because they are missing limbs, blind, suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Perhaps their government continues to give them some compensation for their service - but it is far from enough.
Do you ever see a politician volunteer for military duty? How about the sons and daughters of somebody in a priviliged position like a Judge or perhaps even those of a film star? If you do, you can bet that they are in a Command Centre where they are pretty secure and not on patrol dodging bullets and land mines.
Is there anything we can do?
An equatable society where fairness and respect to all is possible if each of us stops feeling insecure. I believe that one of the reasons for greed is that we must accumulate money and material things so we know that we can survive. If, instead, we knew that society was fair and would make sure we would survive, we wouldn't feel as insecure and perhaps we would not be so greedy.
As inidividuals, we need to be more compassionate than we are - all of us. Take an inventory of what you have and compare it to what others have. Distribute some of your excess to those who have less. I'm not saying you need to give all your excess away but try to part with some of it for the overall good of humanity. We are all aware that people are starving throughout the world but how many of us do anything about i?. At Christmas many of us spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to celebrate but how many send even $20 to an organization that tries to help those in need?