The people who run the world, you know people like you and me who live in the “First World”, have a particular view of the world. Even if we can see the scale of inequality in society and the collapse of nature, we do not connect ourselves, our behaviour or our community to those uncomfortable facts. We’d rather blame some one else – a politician perhaps. We’re “good” people, doing the best we can and the problems are a result of the system about which we can do nothing.
It’s past due time to wake from that comfy dream. The system at the top of which we sit is perpetuated by ourselves and it doesn’t have to be that way. Each of us makes a difference and the small changes in what we say and do can make the system better, quickly.
There are many people who have pointed out the issues and made strides to enlighten human systems. Most of them are unheard of, at least in our communities. They’re certainly not on TV or in the media regularly. The following extracts are from Michael Parenti’s Against Empire. Have a look at the first chapter Imperialism 101. If you’re a good guy who works hard in the Judeo-Christian capitalist world it’s not easy to read, but it gives a realistic perspective of the bigger picture which ties together the realities of the disintegrating systems upon which our lifestyles are built. Awareness is the first step to change.
Following are two extracts that put you in the picture. The first helps reveal the dark reality of “development”:
What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was “ahead” in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such “achievements” in mind.
The second hints at the change in priorities that our systems need to adopt:
Imperialism has created what I have termed “maldevelopment”: modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.
The answers are simple and known. While the transformation is necessary, it is not easy. System enlightenment starts with awareness and facing the challenge of transforming our mindsets and behaviour from hierarchy to holarchy. Expanding your perspective from linear, exclusive thinking to interdependent, inclusive thinking is necessary to transform behaviour and systems that nurture life. The transformation starts with each of us, with you.