What does freedom look like to you? Is freedom having enough money to thrive in this world? How much money is enough to thrive in this world today anyways?
Are you aware that 85 people control an equal amount of all the worlds wealth as the poorest half of the whole of planet Earth's population? That means 85 people have an equal amount of wealth as 3.5 billion people. 3.5-Billion-People! (I hope you read that in slow-motion for effect.) If that is not a slap to your face you are either one of those 85 people or you perhaps just do not understand the ramifications of this.
Have you ever played monopoly and started to lose so badly that you just didn't want to play the game anymore? And have you ever been playing say, an older brother or sister, that made you keep playing the game even if he/she and you both knew the inevitable outcome? Every roll of the die was a larger and larger risk on your part, chances of landing on a neutral zone that didn't have a cost to you, got slimmer and slimmer. The vast inequality of available funds allowed him/her the freedom to pile more and more onto the properties that they owned, which increased the cost for you in every space you landed on even though you didn't have a higher income...it was still just that measly $200 every time you passed go. And now every time they landed on an unowned plot they swiped it right up without putting the slightest dent in their available resources, which had continued to balloon since they now were siphoning off all of your resources with your every move. They could afford to pile hotels right onto the newly purchased spaces, and each spin around the board was just a joyride in their shiny new convertible, while you were stuck in a old stinky boot. The truth was inevitable...if you continued playing, eventfully they would siphon everything from you, and the only reason to keep playing the game is so that they can do just that, siphon off everything from everyone else. But eventually you stopped playing because the lopsided game ended up just getting boring for both of you.
To me, this feels like the current state of our world economy, except we didn't start the game, we were born into it. Without a major change you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives draining our own resources, and our planets resources, they are being siphoned off to just a few people and by all appearances, this will continue until the whole economy and all of the resources of the world are depleted. You lose. Game over.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life hoping for a large number on every die roll so that I can get around the board with the least amount of damage...because...what happens once you do get around that board? You've just got to do it again. This is not what the living American dream looks like, this is what the long dead, decaying corpse of the American dream looks like. This is a system of vast inequality, and a there is a huge gulf that separates us from those that hold the lions share of the worlds wealth. The truth is, we've been tricked into a system of slavery where we are merely being programmed into complacent consumers.
Everything we do costs us in this world. We are not free to live today, we pay to live. Every ounce of food put in your mouth has a dollar sign attached to it, every trip to work is more fuel burned, every place you live siphons off your funds more and more....perpetually. Is water free? Not in most places these days, corporations have poisoned water in it's natural environment, and have bottled treated water for you to buy. Every drink you take is money out of your pocket. Is air free? Not as free as you think. As our air gets more and more polluted, Earth's poorest citizens will be left to breathe in the effects of that pollution, not being able to afford to move to a less polluted area.
What else do these elite and powerful purveyors of half of the Earth's wealth aim to do? Why isn't it enough to have billions upon billions of dollars? Why aren't those funds being used to solve world hunger, combat global warming, research free energy, provide homes for the homeless, stop wars...wait...there is a damn fine investment...invest in stopping all wars. Why don't we set aside half of the Earths wealth for that? Except, hmmm...war is pretty profitable isn't it? And at the center of the programmed consumer mind, what we have is never enough...is it? Profit and power is the addiction of the disgustingly wealthy. But what if the real addiction is greed, just plain and simple greed? Is greed is the root cause of war? Is greed the cause of world hunger? Is greed the cause of people living in the streets? Is greed the root cause for the division between us humans? Is greed the root cause of choosing consumerism over a humanitarian mindset?
I see you greed...and I see you for what you are now...lurking inside like a rotting cavity on the human soul.
Where do we go from here? We must change the world...now. We must change our ways because the alternative is the depletion of all of Earth's resources and the exploiting of all of Earth's creatures. So...how can we change the world? How can we eradicate greed before it destroys us and our planet?
We need a revolution! A revolution of consciousness. In a world of drone jets and nuclear bombs, a show of arms from the average citizen is nothing short of pure stupidity. It's not anger that we must fight with, it is solidarity. Together we can do anything, together we can change this world. If we are ever going to have the ability to truly stand together, we must first terminate the programmed greed within ourselves. As long as we are the complacent and obedient consumers that we've been sociologically programmed to be our whole lives, as long as we keep battling each other for scraps while the world is poisoned around us, as long as we allow our fellow humans to starve while we feast like kings on our consumer holidays, we are our own enemy. Greed is the root of our problem. We must learn to release the greed within. We must learn to undo a whole lifetime's worth of programmed consumerism. We must battle designed obsolescence in our products, not scrounge up enough to buy the newest model. We must stand up for our fellow humans, not stand by and watch as their lands are devoured for profit. We must abandon our states of greed and see that greed for what it is, a weakness that is being exploited for the vast profits of corporations.
I think the answer may be so simple that we cannot see it. I think the answer may be so simple that it may even sound ridiculous.
Kindness is the answer. We must re-learn kindness. I'd wager that each and every one of us, we human beings, come into this world as kind and gentle beings. I'd wager that it's the slow assimilation into our culture of consumerism that has ground that kindness down and replaced it, in varying levels, with greed. Those black Friday Wal-Mart shoppers you see battling each other on the news, I refuse to believe those that those are human beings in their natural element, or in their right mind. Those are human beings in the human meat factory, much like the images we've all seen of cows and chickens hooked up to machinery and being sent down shoots to their inevitable (and profitable) doom. Those black Friday Wal-Mart shoppers are well trained consumers, pit against each other in the lifelong battle for “what is mine.” “Mine.” “Mine.” “Mine.” They are the seagulls in Finding Nemo....but only because that is what they've been taught. What better way to train a slave than to keep them pitted against other slaves.
I say we can do better. I say we must do better. And I say that the time to do better is now. Replacing greed with kindness is a choice. It is a choice that, made together, will change this world immediately.
We need a vast redistribution of wealth and resources on this planet...and that is impossible within a society trained into and overcome with greed. We can let go. We can change. Let us remember how to be kind to one another. Let us remember that we can be as one, one people, one voice. Let us remember that we have more than enough resources for everyone in this world to live in abundance. Let us cast off the chains of consumerism and move away from greed. Let us remember how to be kind, spiritual beings.
It's a choice. Everyday is filled with thousands of choices. Start to make kind choices. Start to connect with others on deeper and more meaningful levels. Join communities centered around kindness, there seems to be more and more of those popping up these days. Practice random acts of kindness. Donate some of your time helping someone in need. Hand out 10 $1 bills to the homeless. Organize a benefit for people in need. Donate things you no longer need to a place where those items will find those that need them. Start a pay it forward movement with your work or art. The list of possible acts of kindness is endless.
We must wake each other up. We need to break the cycle of greed, the future of the human race may very well depend upon it. We must remember how to live together and act in solidarity. We need a revolution. A revolution of consciousness. A revolution of kindness. Change the world, be kind.
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." Dalai Lama