It’s as Bad as They Say Pt 3

If you’ve gotten through the first two parts of this meditation, you may be saying:

Get on with it!

Agreed.

The main argument has to do with how much of our present problems are tied to the monster we loving call Capitalism and how integral it is in everyday life, how the roots of racism, inequity, opportunity, immigration, war, and all they entail, are part and parcel of an economic system that consistently degrades and consumes the very people it supposedly benefits.

But it does benefit us does it not? Better standards of living, medicine, education that directly impact our day to day lives? It does just as it coercively forces us into divisions of management or labor, relegates creativity to a market concept where the intrinsic value of creation is reduced to product, scarcity, and arbitrary values that bear no resemblance to its human value.

More pernicious is that more and more of our lives are subject to spectacle, to passive observation than to personal witness, or even more basically, individual action. All of our lives, certainly in those places and countries where technology has penetrated all strata of society, are bombarded by the messengers of the Capitalist system. Everything now is advertised and for sale. Everything we are, everything we are supposed to be, to strive for is presented to us through media as a means to maintain our participation in the machine.

Our purpose is to consume and be consumed; to collect and discard based on the images and values thrust upon us by the mercenaries of commerce, whether malignant or benign, whether progressive or regressive; whether life affirming or soul crushing. Our lives are forever juxtaposed to a series of created vignettes that we are expected to see as the templates of a happy contented existence. We experience in bursts of observation rather than by action. The world is a place to visit rather than inhabit. We toil with the belief that our efforts have meaning, that our production has a definitive measure beyond days spent; that at the end of our life we can say our pursuit of happiness was worth the time.

That worth, that value is inevitably played against the movements of the system that cannot tire or slow or pause. That ours is tied to our communities, our perspectives, our time is immaterial; when the system moves on, it moves on. It does not venerate the works of the past, it does not care for the poor or broken; it does not repair those communities no longer of use.

How can we then be surprised by the ferocity of the anger or despair it leaves in its wake; of those to whom promises were made but not kept; of a politics that is reed thin on matters that are intimately tied to our economic welfare but blood thick on those emotional issues that tear us apart and returns nothing except contempt and division.

The irony is that within the problem lies the solution but not the will, certainly where the present leadership is concerned. The directions we take are alterable, are malleable, but only if we recognize value in diversity, in dignity, in the commonality of human desires and needs rather than the destruction of compromise for the sake of opinion. Life must mean more than consumption, it must mean more than dollars earned or spent. Who serves what? The machine or the man?

©2018 David William Pearce

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