What is Killing Our World? Global Warming? Or Extreme Politics?
We Want to Live Past 2050. What Do We Need to Do?
The modern trend in this decade is toward democratic governments and technological societies. There is a huge difference between modernized countries and third world countries; there seems to be an overwhelming belief that we should move all the peoples of the world in only one direction.
Whether anyone actually speaks the words or not, tribal peoples, animals, and uncultivated areas of the earth are not considered to be of the same value as educated, technological people and domesticated animals in modernized cities. We use words like underdeveloped, primitive, and even ignorant, to describe anything untouched and natural. Over a very short period of years, city people view nature as dirty and unpleasant. Organic matter is messy. You have to mow grass, rake leaves, and pull weeds to tend plants. It's dirty, messy work compared to paved streets and air conditioned buildings.
If we want to save our planet, we must start a war on this perspective. We need to see the organic as the source of human life, if nothing else. We should be proud to sweat; it's healthy. Tending to the natural world provides the body excellent exercise, and the ground-in earth under our fingernails should be regarded as a sign of today's warrior; a person who is a participant in in today's war of trying to balance our civilized, technological spaces with lush, green life.
Sweat under the arms and down the back; dirt on the face and knees; bug bites and reddened skin. These things should all be regarded as signs of actual participation and effort in today's war.
The war for balance.
Besides; it all washes off. Surprisingly, so does the vague feeling of apathy and discontent that we of the civilized nations have become plagued with. We don't even notice it's there anymore, until it's gone. We have all learned to tolerate and live with this vague aura of dis-satisfaction over time.
All life would truly progress if we, as a whole, valued all aspects of life and understood that the natural portions of our world keep the whole earth healthy. The human caregivers of the wild need to be a part of the wild themselves; they have exactly the same value as the folks in the technological parts of the world, because without a perfected balance between technology and nature, neither will survive for long.
Balance is severely lacking. Money and wealth are our only focus. They have kept our whole attention bent while longing and unhappiness have crept up on us, apathy and depression. We are lonely, and lacking, and missing... something. Something important. Something that money can't seem to buy for us, no matter how much we spend. And we spend. And spend.
It seems the governments of our world do nothing but debate and argue, always working from extreme opposite ends of every spectrum. They completely refuse to take any middle ground. To be seen as a hero of the left or right, or of any political party, you must not waver or give an inch of ground; your ideals must remain strict and extreme.
Compromise = Balance. Not Communism
Compromise is seen as weakness. In order to fight for balance, we must fight for this to change. Compromising must be seen as a great value in our world leaders, not a character flaw.
Not win/lose compromise; that is unbalanced, and once more, leads to extremes. No. It must be win/win.
We are desperately in need of leaders who are able to pull this off. We are desperately in need of people who know how to negotiate the win/win.
This lack of compromise has brought our economies pretty much to a shrieking halt. As far as progress for the common man - there is none. It's all prattle and pontification.
A Call From the Masses
What is it that the common man wants, though? What do we want? Do we even know?
We know we want.... something.
Civilized man has moved so far away from nature that we only enjoy viewing it through a window. To spend time in it is unpleasant. We feel sticky, dirty, and uncomfortable, or cold, wet and clammy. Bugs bite us, allergies make us sneeze and itch. Animals make nasty messes and spread disease. The sun burns us. It would never even occur to us at this point in time that our apathy, listlessness, lack of motivation, that feeling of dissatisfaction is primarily due to the almost total lack of nature in our cement societies.
People scream for changes and actually march in mass protests, yet when interviewed, they can’t clarify their discontent except in vague, broad generalities. Each complaint varies greatly; a unique claim can be divulged from every protestor. Reporters, who seek to focus on the one objective or goal of the common man, are incredulously confused by the sheer immense variety of complaints. They have even been heard to complain on the news that these protestors don't even have a clue what it is they are marching for.
There is no concrete mission, no set goal or direction to these massive groups of people who gather in protest. There is just a widespread, general discontent; dissatisfaction. They feel apathetic and unhappy; they feel an empty purposelessness to how they are spending their lives. They don't know what it is, exactly, but it's a wide spread plague that permeates all of civilized society, and they feel the need move against it, to demand that somebody – not them, but somebody – fix it.
Man and Nature; It's What We're Missing
Can people see it now? Can people see what it is that we need? We need various shades of green and blue reflecting in our eyes, we need the lush scent of greenery in the air, we need the feel of real soil, sand and rock under our feet. And grass. Fresh, green grass.
We need... we must... make great shifts in our perception of nature if our planet is to survive. We must actually change what is valuable - and what is not.
Balancing Nature with Technology
Today, money and material possessions are the mark a person’s worth. If you have money, you have power, toys and comfort. These things are greatly valued. With money, you have electricity, water, appliances, vehicles, ease and luxury. With money, you can pay the people without money to do the more unpleasant work. You can delegate. You can buy yourself free time. Without it, you must struggle very hard with very little to show for your efforts, and eventually lose all enthusiasm and zest for life. Eventually, many people simply give up trying and become dependent on the wealthy.
It's not like that for the wealthy though. The wealthy people of the world have no doubts about where they fit and what their place is. They are very happy with their lot in life, and suffer no unpleasantness of any kind.
Or do they?
No amount of money can ease that vague sense of discontent and yearning, that want for ... something. That craving that we can't seem to satisfy by immersing ourselves in movies, video games, fancy cars and conditioned air. Rich or poor, those who dwell in civilized society feel a deep need for... something.
Living as we are now, we are paralyzed.
There is a huge confusion down here among the common folk; those of middle and lower class, those on welfare and disability. We, the people, have been taught to believe that all men are created equal, and therefore, the people who are not rich have the same value and are entitled to the same things the wealthier folk are. We are taught we are unique and important; we can do anything, we can be anything we want to be, have anything we want to have. We spend money that we haven’t earned. We've also been taught that we don’t need to really work hard to actually earn that money. If we are actually expected to work hard for it, we feel insulted. It's embarrassing and demeaning. If we have to do something unpleasant, we deserve to be paid. A lot.
Wealthy people, who have more pleasant jobs are paid a generous amount. Why aren't we? Why aren't we, when we are taught by schools, the media, the government, that we the people have unique, individual talents and value? Why is an educated mind more valuable than physical labor?
Not everyone can be a brain surgeon. Not everybody can be a ditch digger, either. The brain is an organ in our body. So is muscle. If we value one organ and pay it a generous amount to function for us, why do we not value the other? Productivity, of any sort, should determine pay.
What are We Worth?
But we don't feel we should have to work for anything anymore. We feel we are entitled to it.
Where one extreme says you should work your life away, the other extreme says you should do nothing. Once again, we need to balance this.
People were abused. People were enslaved. People were indentured servants. People were forced to create Unions to prevent being abused. People were grateful for the changes. But over time, people have demanded more and more of their workplaces while doing less and less work.
In every human group, no matter who or where they are, people will build a caste system; some work is looked down on as menial and beneath their doing. Without any actual words being spoken, some work becomes highly prized, and the workers respected, while other work - and the workers doing the work - are viewed with disgust and treated with contempt.
We've tried to change that; but at some point, people stopped being grateful for these changes, and have become entitled. We have become dissatisfied with the things we are given; 401K, pension plans, health insurance, overtime pay, on-the-job training; company career paths, diversity training. Company cafeterias and gyms. It's not enough; we aren't satisfied. We want more and more.
On the other hand, if people didn’t continue to demand these things, then employers would take advantage; and they do. They move their companies to different nations, where the people are willing to work long hours in dangerous conditions with low pay, no breaks, and no chance for betterment. There was a time when people were paid in "company money", not government issued bills. Coal miners could only use this money at the company run stores; no one else recognized it as legal tender. This pretty much trapped the employee and left them no opportunity to move away from a bad situation. Does this still happen today?
Extremes. Always, we want extremes.
People working in corporations have no idea what a wonderful deal they are getting, especially if they have never worked in a small business environment. If you work for a small business, a really good year-end bonus is a frozen turkey, not a week’s base pay. People come right out of college and start their first job with these benefits; they have come to be expected, not appreciated. They complain and demand more and more.
The truth of the matter is, people are never happy with what they have and will always want more. In a perfect, utopian society, people will be complaining because life is too boring and stable. The purpose of humanity is to tweak and perfect, and we over-tweak and perfect until we reach extremes. We don’t seem to understand that these extremes – whatever they are – need to balance in order for the system to truly function. Right now we are in a paralyzed state, caused by two extremes where neither will give any ground. At all. Democrat and Republican.
We are paralyzed.
These extremists need to have a paradigm shift in their perceptions if our modern world is going to break out of this paralysis. They must, because what doesn't bend will eventually break, and we are breaking the very planet we are standing on.
Today, we all want to have the money to be able to do the same things the rich folk do. We want everyone to be treated equally. We want all of life’s comforts and conveniences to be on par, at least, with the upper middle class. Everybody wants to be able to live a good, abundantly provided life style, and follow any of the interests they want. Instead, the majority of us work hard, long hours for a few dollars and come home too tired after work to pursue any real interests other than a few vices to take the edge off our day.
Still, there is a sense of entitlement, where everyone feels they are owed a certain amount simply because they exist. Everyone should have food, clothing and shelter as a basic human right. Whether you work, are disabled, injured, sick, mentally ill, addicted, orphaned, criminally inclined, or just unmotivated, you have the right to food, shelter, and clothing.
The movement to bring everybody under this umbrella is worldwide. All human life should be treated equally and fairly, regardless of any conditions. All of the modern societies want to embrace this belief and make it real. But the only way to do this, it seems, is to make all society "civilized". We need to build more houses, bring in electricity and water, and modernize. We must teach and train people about technology. That is the only way they will ever learn to take care of themselves.
If you watch or read science fiction, this utopian kind of world becomes a reality. You have people working on star-ships – everyone from bar-tenders to fleet admirals – who don’t get paid a cent. However, they are completely provided for, and any interests they wish to pursue are available to them in their free time. You will also notice that none of these star-ship people lay on the couch all day, shirking their duties. All of the people in these utopian worlds are diligent, ambitious and provide a useful service to their society; they give the best of themselves in return for what they are paid, and they are all paid exactly the same - food, clothing, shelter, and the freedom to pursue their unique interests and happiness.
That's a beautiful ideal; but can it be realistically applied? What do you do with the folks who simply aren't willing to participate?
The modern world we have now sees the third world peoples and the wild animals of this earth as being something to offer charity to, but not something to cultivate and grow as an asset with any sort of value. Rather, these people should be brought up to speed and made to join the rest of modern, technological society, and the animals... well, if they are not of domestic use to humanity, they will either be captive-bred in zoos, or pass into extinction. It's sad, but it's just evolution. They are not capable of evolving as quickly as they need to survive in a human, technological world. The extinction of animals is really just part of the earth's evolution.
Extinction: A Part of Evolution
We need to balance the value of work. CEOs earn more than the workers in their factories. Football players earn more than soldiers. Actors earn more than educators, and singers earn more than nurses and medical assistants. Home caregivers earn nothing at all. People who work very hard physically, mentally, and emotionally earn very little compared to others that work a couple of hours a day. And there is no paying work that involves protecting and enhancing nature, other than the observation or destruction of it.
Because of the fight for extremes, the modern world we have now has a lot of dysfunctional people demanding to be provided for in the same fashion as motivated, ambitious working folks. And the dysfunctional people, instead of becoming an asset to the world, are doing nothing to improve themselves or their environment; they are simply producing more dysfunctional people, who are raised believing they also deserve to be taken care of. They don't appreciate that care because they feel entitled to it. They are dissatisfied with what they are receiving now. It's not enough.
This dysfunctional group is on welfare. They are also the kids born into wealthy families who have privileges from day one and never had to wait for anything; feel thirst, hunger, or a hole in the sole of their shoes. They have jobs they don’t have to fight for, and delegate their work to others, while other people do the jobs that require all the hard labor. They are also middle class people who are insulted at having to start low in order to work their way up to CEO level. If they can’t get a job making good money sitting behind a desk, or doing what their education says they are entitled to, then they aren’t going to work. They stand sullenly with their broom, staring enviously at the people behind their desks or work counters. They resentfully do the bare minimum and complain about how little their employers offer to them.
It’s beneath rich people and their children to do the manufacturing and production level parts of the jobs. Rich people are upper management.
It’s beneath middle class working folk to do the sweeping, the cleaning, and the ordinary physical work. Middle class people worked hard to get their educations. They have desk jobs.
It’s beneath lower middle class kids to be bothered with school, it’s an embarrassment to be caught studying by your friends. They won’t take a job where they have to train to become someone with a title. If they can’t get a job as an assistant manager right away, then they certainly aren’t going to take a job as a fry cook. It’s embarrassing and insulting.
It’s beneath folks on welfare to work waiting on tables or sweeping, or doing construction or factory work; they get just as much pay from a welfare check, they get free health care they wouldn’t get with private insurance, they are actually better off than they would be struggling over 40 hours a week at menial labor. The kids raised on welfare learn everything they need to learn about how to continue that lifestyle after their parents are gone; they don’t see any other life, and they don’t hear any promise for any other life in the words that are spoken to them.
Then you have your folks who are truly disabled and deserve to be taken care of from the day they are born. But this group of folks is truly very few; even disabled people have a lot to give to the world if they are allowed to. There is no reason disabled people can’t do their share for the world in whatever way they are capable of. But disabled people are often hidden away from society as an embarrassment. They are unpleasant to look at and don’t bring in the customers. If anything, they drive business away; they create an unpleasant aversion and scare people. Whatever skills the disabled have aren’t worth the reaction of the general public to the fact that unpleasant things in the world still exist.
You know what a lot of "unpleasant" things are? Natural. They happen.
Is This What We Are Longing For?
Perhaps there is an aspect of work that has vanished completely with the spread of civilization. Perhaps a lot of the unmotivated people would suddenly perk up and become ambitious. Once upon a time, there were people who lived as one with nature. Native Americans. Aborigines. The tribes of Africa. These people weren't decimated and starving, as they are now. These people used to thrive in the natural environments they lived in. They had a system that worked; but it doesn't work in today's world, because the system they had relied very strongly depended upon a perfect balance with nature and it's abundance of uncultivated resources.
We need to get that balance back. We need to look at these people, not as primitive, but as successfully blending their human societies with that of nature. We need to value their knowledge and opinions. And we need to figure out a compromise that is a win/win for both technological and natural societies.
Until we begin to see all aspects of work as having the equal value, until we encourage and reward all the ambition and dedication and enthusiasm that people should have for all these different aspects of work, until people actually start getting up in the morning feeling valued and having enthusiastic desire to go out and sweep, or wait tables, or teach kids, or work in factories, or pick tomatoes, or put shingles on a roof – until people actually feel worthy, and are proud to do these things, are actually appreciated for doing these things with the same admiration as a star quarterback, there is no hope for the Utopian society everyone seems to long for. All this work needs to be done, even in Utopia. The difference is how you feel about yourself while you are doing it. Utopia isn't rich. Utopia is content, and happy.
This is why communist and socialist societies don’t work in reality as they do in science fiction. Human beings are natural, organic creatures with emotional needs and a desire to compete. One of the strongest impulses of all living things is for the strongest to overcome the weak so that only the best flourishes and prospers. Competing is a key component of evolution. It requires that there be a top dog and a low dog.
What we don't understand is that this is okay. We need to have the top dog and the low dog. The only thing that needs to change is how we value them.
There will always be leaders and followers, but a leader cannot lead if there is no one behind him to follow. Neither the leader nor the follower has any real value when left standing alone.
Most importantly, the outdoor sweaty, sticky, dirty work, needs to be regarded with the same value as the indoor, air conditioned, suit-and-tie work. We need to put an effort into valuing, replenishing and nurturing our natural world.
This is where we need to shift our perceptions. This is what we need to teach our children in order to change the course of the world. In order to have a happy balanced society overall, you need the good and the bad, the black and the white, the leader and the follower.
We need both nature and civilization. We need both the primitive and the modern.
What is it we need to do? We need to stop this fight for nothing but the extremes; but we still need to fight. We need to push. We need to raise our best compromise-ers to power. We need to shift the mindset of our world: toward balance.