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Dec 24

On Greed and Selfishness

Posted on Thursday, December 24, 2009 in Theories

I was talking to my doctor the other day and the issue of human greed came up.  Are humans inherently greedy?  I personally believe the answer to the question is “No.”  My doctor tried to used the example of how the world is today but what my doctor was forgetting is that the sample population being looked at was only 1% of all humans who ever lived on this planet.  It is my argument that it’s the way it currently is in the world is because of how we teach people to be.  That greed and selfishness isn’t human nature as society likes to preach.

The problem in society is based in the foundation.  That foundation is capitalism.  Capitalism teaches us to be greedy and selfish.  The winners in capitalism are those who exploit, legally rob, and cheat the most people.  Success isn’t measured by how many smiles you bring into the world but by how much money one makes.

Things have only been “this way” for the last 10,000 years.  Before that, humans and the planet were getting along just fine.  The problem started when man decided that the earth belong to him instead of the fact that man belongs to the earth.  I am not saying civilization is inherently bad – the Greeks and the Romans did just fine without causing the destruction on the planet we are now.  Man needs to learn to have the damage done to the planet and the planet’s ability to replenish itself  in sync.

I argue if we were to have a system based on community, sharing, and brotherhood – we would have a different world.  If parents didn’t raise their children to put “me” first.  If we taught that treating others with respect, compassion, and kindness instead of being taught that everything is a commodity.

Even the way we relate to people in retail and service reflects how capitalism has brainwashed society.  We do not see the salespeople as humans who have a family at home and their own problems.  If we did, people wouldn’t get half as mean, nasty, or upset.  We’re so conditioned that we don’t even see having the right to chose what to eat, where to shop, and what to wear as having a privilege.  Most retail stores remove all human aspects from their presentation – with each store, no matter where you are in the world – having the exact same service and the exact same product.  Cookie cutter products for cookie cutter people who like to believe they are “unique.”  It’s all a lie.

A few stores, like Costco have policies that none of their products can come from sweatshop labor.  But, we as consumers are so far removed from the way things are produced that we allow inhumane treatment for our mass produce goods.  Most of the time, people’s clothes are more well traveled than the wearer.  Most people don’t even think about the person who made it – how they have families, problems, and poverty.  We need to focus on having a human community were everyone gets their share.  Global wealth created global poverty.

I think this is one of the harder concepts I have to get people to wrap their heads around.  For every action, there is a reaction.  The reaction of having rich is that we have the poor.  In other countries, there is a limit to how much a CEO can earn.  It makes the gap between the rich and poor less so people are more level.  Not that there isn’t rich and poor, but really, how many yachts do you need?  And how many children die of hunger a day?  Think about it.

One of the main problems is that we are conditioned to not think about it and accept the motto, “This is the way things have always been.”  This is false.  We can change the world and make it a beautiful place for everyone if we just cared a little and put some thought into what we consume.

Dec 22

On Being a Celebrity and the Objectification of People

Posted on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 in Theories

The American culture is dependent on the possibility that anyone can make it big. It’s the illusion that keeps the poor in line and the rich in power. The American rich 1% holds more wealth than the bottom 90%. That is hardly fair and Americans are addicted to the idea that they can become the 1%.

Due to wanting to be wealthy and not having it, America settles for the next best thing: living vicariously through celebrities and the rich. The rich and famous become objects – not people – as portrayed by the television, magazines, and news. They become a name – a brand – to be packaged, bought, and sold like any other commodity in our capitalistic system.

This is a system of control. The poor are appeased by having the rare possibility that they too – with their talents and uniqueness can also make it big. The rich and famous; who are also inmates in our cultural prison who have more privilege, are treated like gods.

For example, I just went to see a concert a few weeks ago and during the show the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars walked into the crowd. People went out of their way to run up and touch him (it was really bizarre) to have bragging rights. To touch a celebrity or have an object that they were associated with is like touching divinity in our culture.

This is a really weird aspect of American culture that I don’t really understand because in my understanding of humanity – we are all equal. I wouldn’t want to touch another human unless I was close to them but for it to be socially acceptable to forcefully touch another person without consent on the mere fact they can sing, act, or dance is ridiculous.

This living vicariously through fame is destructive to celebrities. The latest example being the Tiger Woods incident and how people just can’t seem to mind their own business. Who cares? I have my own life to deal with and I don’t have time to be focusing my life on people I never met.

Even in death, celebrities can not escape their fame and be given an ounce of peace. Grave robbers if given the chance, will steal famous people’s remains. The Hollywood cemetery is now a tourist attractions where you can visit your favorite dead residence. Even a corpse is marketable.

People need to stop worshiping celebrities and the rich. People are people, not objects.  People need to learn to live and let live and mind their own business. Here’s a secret for you: The rich and famous only have “wealth” and “power” because you give it to them. If you would stop giving them power, they wouldn’t have any. If we spent more time empowering ourselves for our own beauties and less time drooling over our fellow apes – we’d have a much healthier society.