I shall use my voice, because it is all I have…I say:
"Bring them to me. Let them explain to me why so many suffer. Why so many go without food. Why so many go without clothes and shelter. Let them explain to me, and the nation, and to all of humanity, why some work their whole lives to get nowhere. For I’ve looked deep within, and I’ve found no reason why I have more than the man on the street. I don’t have a supportive family, making up for my miscalculations, as a result of my own choice. I find myself, luckily, with such support. But what of those who are not favored so? What of the person who makes one mistake, and sets in motion an irreversible downturn? Who amongst us is perfect, and without mistake? Who truly warrants such a harsh reality, with little to no help? What of the person who looked different than the others, and on top of the difficulty ‘normal’ life presents, had to endure endless harassment and humiliation by peers? What if no one explained to her delicate soul that the others were wrong in their judgments, and to stay strong and push-on? What if her spirit was broken before she knew she had one?
I call on all those whose paradigm of thought considers social ‘safety-nets’ as unfair, unjust, a tax burden to the ‘working-people’, to explain to me how the effects that these institutions aim at remedying is independent of our failure as a society to fully address all the factors that influence the success and liberation of a person. Explain to me how a person should be able to thrive independent of adequate education, which is as if to say the very institution is superfluous to begin with. Explain to me how a kid should thrive independent of a healthy and supportive family, or support from the community to help make up for the areas in which they were unsupported in their emotional, spiritual and intellectual growth.
Let them explain to me how so many are condemned to suffer on the basis that it is their fault that they find themselves as they do. Articulate for me how it is that we know so much about how people are influenced by ‘outside’ factors, yet are judged as completely autonomous beings? We might as well do away with most college departments, the research of which indicates without doubt how much we influence others with our actions; the interdependence, rather than the independence of things in which we find ourselves.
We can’t, as a society with a conscience, abdicate our duty to aid others in becoming the best possible being that they can. Their is no definitive point at which one transitions from ‘childhood’ to ‘adulthood’, even though our socio-economic system condemns the individual for being the former on the basis that he should be the latter. We are all children in some areas of our lives, needing growth, maturity, clarity, insight, further understanding, and so on i.e. we ALL need help, somewhere, sometime. To deny such complexity of the ‘individual’ is to reduce the criteria by which a person is judged to a single, or relatively few, traits, such as the degree to which they are ‘productive’, or ‘intelligent’, or ‘accomplished’, and determining their worth and material compensation on this basis alone without considering the manifold of factors that lay behind such a state of being, and what we can do as a society to aid all in reaching such a state.
Many of the problems that confront us are shaped in the battlefield that is our educational institutions. Those persons shaping our educational systems are seemingly under the impression that an artist would produce his most beautiful painting in a barren room with a gun to his head. While there are amazing spirits capable of transcending such oppressive scenarios, many are not, nor should be required to do so. Rather, we should aim at making circumstances for all persons such that their beauty shines through.
The options of classes available to most are becoming less and less each year, with the quality of teaching going down as a result of increasingly large class size, the instructors having further and further diminishing time to put into each class, each student, making class and the concomitant assignments essentially lifeless, and without appropriate feedback. All this, and for what? The guise of preparing individuals to get jobs with ‘practical’ skills, as if the subjects in school can be applied to problems without calling on the beauty of human creativity, which is being all but drowned out by the direction we are heading.
Furthermore, the shrinking options display a complete ignorance of the intrinsically ethical and moral considerations that accompany any activity. What of the value of a mathematics or science degree if the manner in which this knowledge be applied is to that of designing weapons to end lives? I’m not naive, and wouldn’t advocate not having a military, but the ends towards which it is used nowadays can’t be justified on moral grounds. The otherwise practical apparatus that is the military has been appropriated by a political and social class which doesn’t have as its aim the betterment of our society, and most certainly not the betterment of humanity as a whole. We’ll never be able to live in good conscience if we use our might preemptively, so as to strip others of their moral autonomy, and determine of them the status of ‘criminal’ before any such determinate act is committed by them. We’re all well aware of the absurdity of punching someone in the face because they looked at you a certain way, yet parallel behavior is accepted of our political leaders as legitimate by many. As one of the deepest and most tragic insults to humanity, we lock humans away for no justifiable reason, while their life-force decays behind walls. We do it here in America, and we do it all around the world.
The complicated nature of international politics simply mirrors that which transpires between persons within our own borders. The official doctrine of relating to persons as ‘individuals’ reflects an abdication of personal responsibility in the unfolding of events with another. The one who comes out on top merely has more power than the other, either possessed beforehand, or acquired in the midst of the problem, but hardly ever due to being in the ‘right’, and never offers up a definitive argument for his position, nor is it demanded of him by our society.
The laughing stock that is our presidential ‘debates’ reflects the impoverished dialogue of everyday life, and the fear to go any deeper and challenge ourselves and others to refine our beliefs so as to act more consistent, more inline with something resembling truth a little more closely, to act with decency and consideration, to embody compassion and understanding…
In short, every aspect of our society has to be looked at anew, and with the aim of bringing about the best state possible within each domain, as it relates to the whole. The absurdity of judging the success, of say, the agricultural system, on the basis of productivity, as determined by a quantity such as mass, units, volume etc., ignores first and foremost that it is FOOD that is being judged, which necessitates a different criteria than the productivity of say, cars. We wouldn’t judge an empty shell of a car, or one that would break down after a short drive despite being brand new, as being a legitimate car warranting the price-tag, social expenditures etc. Nor should we allow food to be shelved and sold as such without making every effort in the growing process to ensure the greatest density of nutrition, digestibility etc., and full transparency as to the growing, distributing and labor practices so that it may be chosen in good conscience. Despite the popular use of doing so, food’s purpose is not to fill an empty space in your belly, but to nourish the mind, body and spirit. The junk ‘food’ presented as the real thing will not suffice, no matter how much it is ‘enriched’ with clever marketing.
I look forward to the day when a vibrant social discussion takes place as to the purpose or aim of all the things that bring joy to our lives, and allow them again to do so. Let our places of education be that of inspiration, liberation, creation and fulfillment, to name but a few. As with this writing, it’s at least a start…”