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A hard place to be

February 17, 2014

A society based on competition, deception, egoism, and greed is a hard place to be.

Forget about equality and upward mobility, if you are born poor, your chances to become rich are slim. High quality education is expensive, grants are available only for a chosen few, and student loans will enslave you to the banks during a big part of your life.

If you are bright and excel in your chosen field you will at least be allowed to become exploited in a low-level job. You will be underpaid and feel overworked. If you are lucky to survive the recurring waves of layoffs, outsourcings, and downsizings you will be able to pay the rent and diminish your debts.

Yet, for advancing in the company pecking order you will not only have to be bright, prolific, assiduous, creative, you will absolutely and most importantly have to be competitive.

Competitive stands for: selfish, mean, brutal, sneaky, guileful, merciless.

You will find out that intelligence, creativity, focus, and discipline are not the most important traits in todays business world and that in order to advance your career you have to be a con-man, a charlatan, a poker player, a perfect liar, a calculating criminal, a coldhearted assailant.

You will have to destroy your fellow competitors left and right, you will have to be toady, fawning, subservient to your superiors, you will have to stab your trusting colleague into the back, you will have to forsake your loyal friend, you will have to conspire with the most monstrous sociopath.

You will have to forget a big part of the moral guidelines and of the ethical framework which you learned in your youth. You will have to abandon precious values, beliefs, ideals, and exchange them with the only values and beliefs, the only purposes of life that matter in the higher echelons of industry, finance, and politics: wealth and power.

Your path to success will be paved with the corpses of your eliminated competitors. But that will not bother you anymore because when you have progressed that far you will be numbed, battle-hardened, heartless, callous, you will have become a monstrous sociopath yourself. 

garment workers

The social order, which depending on the point of view is called free market economy, Western democracy, consumerism, or cutthroat capitalism, is not for the faint-hearted or high-minded, and if you still are able to feel something that one could call empathy, compassion, or love, the feeling will be very limited and selective.

There is a saying in Washington’s political elite ”If you need a friend, get a dog.”

The quote applies also to Wall Street, London City, and other centers of political power.

If there are traces of empathy, compassion, or love left in your personality, the emotions will be confined to your favorite mistress or your trophy wife, but be careful to keep the women away from your money, they are just waiting for their chance to rob and loot you. They are after all your soul mates and your sisters in mind.

You will not have time to think about the longtime consequences of your decisions, about your role in the grand play, about the future of mankind. You will not have time to draw from the wisdom of our ancestors, develop visions of a harmonious and sustainable society, or search for a lifestyle which doesn’t destroy nature.

Your mind will be occupied with the strategic moves to fortify your position and fend off the other players in your league. You will have to be slick, cunning, devious, insidious, and you need to amass as much wealth as fast as possible.

Your time in the higher regions of power could be limited, because younger and more vigorous competitors are after you. They are zealous and energetic, they try to replace you like you replaced your predecessor.

Did you ever wonder, why they call it dog-eat-dog society?

You will miss out on the most exciting experiences of life: the wonders of nature, the elation and bliss,  brought by a pure heart, the healing power of true love, the thrill of giving and receiving kindness, tenderness, love, but you will not suffer from that because one doesn’t miss what one doesn’t know.

You will not suffer and it could well be that you are in good health, feeling comfortable and complacent. You can afford the most healthy food, the best doctors, fitness trainers and lifestyle counselors, you can spend you leisure time in a private luxury retreat, surrounded by pristine, unpolluted nature.

What more could one expect from life?

That your pleasant, privileged life is payed for by your fellow humans which you left behind on the path to success will not bother you. They are the subjects, the poor masses, the human resources, they are a mere factor of production and market policies. 

children landfill

A society based on competition, deception, egoism, and greed is a hard place indeed. A dry and barren land where nature has been replaced by an artificial manmade environment, where the gentle green slopes and the magical forests have given way to roads, buildings, parking lots, industrial parks, mining pits, and landfills. But the battle-hardened, the cold-hearted, the men with the iron fists will feel comfortable even in such an environment.

In the trial that will never take place you will be accused of negligence, embezzlement, racketeering, robbery, you will be charged for the most serious crimes against humanity and nature. You will be unrepentant and defend yourself forcefully. This is what you will say:

To be competitive is part of human nature, and if it is not human nature it is certainly a key ingredient of the social climate. One feels it, smells it, inhales it from the first breath at the start of life, it is taught by  parents, teachers, peers, colleagues, it is displayed and demonstrated by everybody around you.

This is a society which has replaced cooperation by competition, community by individualism, the commons by private wealth. To be competitive, egoistic, greedy is nothing else than following the rules of this society.

The social climate is passed on from generation to generation. Long time ago there were stable and thriving societies based on cooperation, communalism, sustainability (the responsible use of natures resources), but they were destroyed by warrior societies which had to conquer new territories to make up for the reckless overexploitation of their own natural resources.

The ancient societies which were based on cooperation, communalism, and sustainability didn’t have weapons because they didn’t need them, they didn’t know how to wage war and how to kill. These societies were an easy pray for the roaming warriors.

This is simply the way the world works, this is why we live now in a warrior society which overexploits the limited resources and desperately looks for new territories to conquer. I didn’t create this world, I’m just a product of it.

And I’m not the only culprit, I’m also not the member of an exclusive clique of culprits, I’m in fact part of the majority, the overwhelming majority of culprits.

The oppressed are as culpable as the oppressors for the dire state in which we are, and if you think that this is a preposterous claim consider the following:

The social fabric is woven by all members, by the high ranking as well as the low ranking, by the exploiters as well as the exploited. Nobody forces the powerless masses to stare at the TV screens, computer screens, smartphone screens for half of their waking life, nobody forces them to waste their time with spectator sports and social media chatter, they are free to believe the lies of the rulers or reject them.

They don’t have to indulge in the fantasies of Hollywood, they don’t have to follow fashions and trends, they don’t have to flock like cattle to the supermarkets and shopping malls, they don’t have to fall for the empty promises and the siren calls of demagogs, they don’t have to vote in rigged elections.

The powerless and disenfranchised could organize, unionize, could sweep away the oppressors in a tidal wave of non-conformity, non-compliance, disobedience, and tax resistance. They could organize their own community support systems, their local economies, they could take over the corporations and turn them into co-ops.

If the people would be united, the rulers would be helpless and they would not be able to harass and persecute the dissenters because they themselves would have become the dissenters, isolated, greatly outnumbered, and outlawed by the united population.

But the population is not united and every time the rulers announce job openings for minions, sycophants, bootlickers, lackeys, a crowd of eager candidates will wait in line to get their chance. 

children scavenging

That will be your defense and the prosecution will fall silent because you are right.

The jurors on their part will be stumped, confused, disturbed, unable to discuss a verdict, unable to do anything than just disperse quietly.

In the trial that will never take place you will not be convicted but you will not be acquitted either. Nature will be your judge in the end and it will reach a verdict and sentence you as it will sentence all of us. The trials of nature take long and maybe you will live unconcerned and unpunished till the end of your days. You should be aware though that in case of your absence the verdict will be handed down to your children as it will be handed down to all of our children.

The sentence could be human extinction or alternatively a miserable existence and unimaginable suffering. Resisters, dropouts, activists, organizers, thinkers, visionaries, teachers, prophets will have to work hard and give it all to avoid this outcome.

They will have to foil your plans and oust you from power by all possible means.

child worker

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