I’ve been considering alot.
These last few weeks I’ve replaced my music with pod-casts and on-line videos of the world’s philosophers to try and grow my knowledge.
I’ve listened to some opinions from Peter Joseph, Naum Chomsky, Jaques Fresco and Stefan Molyneux.
And I’ve basically been walking around like a Zombie because my mind is so full of all these amazing new insights that I have no idea how to sort through them, let alone do anything with them.
Coming to terms with the realisation that the world is going to be a very different place in 50 years or so isn’t easy. The planet is facing an enormous threat and I think that greed has an awful lot to do with it.
No matter how you feel about the system, whether your a believer in Venus or Zeitgeist, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism in it’s true form or something new an totally profound, someone is always going to throw in the very popular phrase of ‘Greed is Human nature.’
This disturbing statement is lying in wait to decimate any promising idea.
‘It won’t work, it’s human nature to be greedy.’ You don’t have to search far for this term. Just look for any topic on change.
I decided to ask my friends on Facebook how they felt about the term by simply liking my post for a ‘yes’ or commenting for a ‘no’. There were 16 likes and 8 comments. You can check out the string here.
In my opinion, Greed is not human nature but more a product of programming from the very day that we are born – If we are given the things we need the most, we won’t want for excesses of anything. Humans are highly adaptable. We have adapted to a system of greed.
You may or may not agree. However, I would be very surprised if we did not all agree, in terms of human civilization, greed is a serious player and there isn’t anything good about it.
In my newly discovered lessons from Seneca, I came across this little anecdote. It was not a philosophy on greed, it was a philosophy on anger:
There was a high Imperial Roman Official called Thaddeus who once threw a slave into a pool of Lampery Eels to be eaten alive. The slave’s crime was dropping a tray of crystal glasses.
Seneca’s theory was that this powerful and wealthy person’s expectations were so high that he believed someone dropping a tray of crystal glasses deserved to be eaten alive for it.
My belief is that Thaddeus’ wealthy station had distorted his humanity to the point where his crystal glasses were worth more than the slave’s life.
If crystal glasses are worth more than a persons life, is that greed? A product of greed? Anger / temporary insanity, based on expectations that are too high?
Or is that just the standard behaviour of a complete psychopath?
Right now, currently 1% of the world’s population own approximately half of the worlds wealth. The articles on this issue are a dime a dozen. With wealth comes power. In today’s system, money is king and so too, the ones who wield the most of it.
Just think about that for a moment. Take your own rationale on greed and apply it to that.
I’d like to (in my naivety) hope that the wealthy and powerful are not so primitive as this example from Seneca’s time.
But consider this sentence. The world is dying.
Consider this response: We are just supplying a product that meets demand. If you want change, then change the things that you demand.
Does this sound like the statement of a visionary? Visionaries are what we need.
50 years is not a lot of time.
Those with the power have the most ability to affect change. Do we trust that the 1% of the population with the lions share of the power and wealth to save the planet are doing the right thing at the moment, even when greed is involved? Personally I’m not seeing compelling signs of it.
It’s fine to trust science. To believe that our scientists will find a way through technology and our own human stubbornness to survive. As long as we can see that there is a decent commitment.
But where are our resources going at the moment?
What is the greatest attempted project of the last 15 years in regards to spending?
Any of these? Unfortunately not.
Our biggest project at the moment is called the War on Terror, or going by its more truthful name, the War for Power.
Conservatively to date, 1 Trillion dollars has been spent on the War for Power. Because somehow we think that in 50 years we can spend all the worlds money to stamp out a ‘vicious ideology that is threatening our existence’ as well as save the only planet we currently know of that can currently support human civilisation.
How much time do we really have to ponder this? Shouldn’t this money and power be put to better use so we can be better equipped to handle the next 50 years?
Define freedom: The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Now lets convince ourselves that we have it, any way we can.
Define progress (in terms of humanity). Is an ever increasing gap and an elitist power group part of that equation?
Define irony: The way the War on Terror (Power?) has damaged our flimsy (at best) hold on freedom as well as our progress.
Define apathy: Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. A right, you may agree, reserved for the privileged.
Define an excuse: [insert word] is human nature.
The War for Power see’s no end in sight. What will our children think of us in 50 years? How favourably will they view the War for Power if the ecosystem is dying all around them as our technology struggles to catch up? Will this defining cornerstone of our time, be acceptable to them?
Will they understand our comfort zones, our lack of action and our absence of vision? Will they lament our hollow excuse, that greed is human nature?
Or by then, will we have just managed their expectations? Trained them in our old ways of justifying and accepting things for the way they are?
It’s not Armageddon, it’s science. Things need to change. For our children and theirs.
But maybe that’s what needs to happen. That we all simply, eventually…Die. Mass depopulation to save the Earth and maybe some of the human race. Is that the purest form of non greed? Simply dying so that some can continue on?
Survival of the fittest? Or is that survival of the richest?
I’ve got two young girls. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that option.
Isn’t it time we got organised?
We need to start asking some serious questions. Then Educate. Unite. Protest.
Only then can we create change.
Here are some resources that helped me start to question things:
Add your own in the comments. I’ll update this post as we go.