Monday, September 1, 2008

A Chance for Redemption

We swing wildly between states of utter-selfishness and over-enthusiastic concern for our fellows. We do so because we cannot help ourselves, our background programmed us with a sense of self preservation, but our intellect forces us to realize on how much we actually depend on others.

In exploiting our selfishness, some political parties weasel their way into our baser natures, offering us a chance at a better life by allowing us to be more inwardly focused. Less tax, less interference, and more luxuries. They sell to us, what was embedded deep in our consciousness so long ago. They're tapping into an old and dangerous meme, a set if ideas that are gradually dying out.

Of course, every time we succumb, the world enters into another of these depressing periods, where hunger and strive seem to rule. Mankind retreats into their corners, allowing great works of evil to wash over the planet. In the interlude, quietly, many toil away at subverting, or gaining positions. This pattern repeats itself over and over again, as each new age of selfishness starts promising enough, but turns on its own inherent ugliness. Given the focus, who would expect anything else?

The other extreme has its problems as well. Too small a group of people making choices for too large a group always ends in tragedy. Fools think they know what is best for the rest of us, and so many of us are total fools. What starts innocently enough, usually ends in disgust.

And so, we ping-pong, back and forth, between individualism and the good of the group, forever passing that sweet spot in the middle where we are not forced into regretting our actions. Mankind toggles endlessly, each extreme offsetting the failures of the past, without realizing that we can never seem to get off this crazy roller coaster ride.

The world has been so cold and horrible of late, possibly dipping to a new low point. In light of that, we do have some tremendous successes, like the fact that most of us came together for a sporting event recently, that was not derailed by all of the various non-related causes. Out of control marketing campaigns have come to represent one of our greatest dangers, disrupting our abilities to trust one another, and achieve some progress. Marketing is a tool, usably by anyone.

We're back to one of those periods where we might be able to reach a new high, a time that could be admired by generations to come, but only if more people come to understand that their happiness is dependent on others. Our failures, or even our most successful are not the true indicators of our prosperity. It's the size and health of the middle class that define the quality of a country. While it is continuing to grow, there is some chance; when it starts to disappear, we know things are changing for the worse.

The world has been bubbling and seething lately, but that energy is stirred up by a relativity small group of hateful people. Neither side is innocent, both are driven by rich people twisting their intent to fill their own selfish baskets. Both have shown no moral or ethical restrictions, no reason to trust either. Both should go, it is time.

In the middle, we need to realize that our health depends on everyone else's heath. That we are all the same, yet entirely different. We can help each other, but we cannot force each other into any behavior, no matter how much we think we are right. The world is so much smaller now; the only way it will survive is if we choose to work together to keep it intact. If we bend towards our overly selfish natures again, we run the risk of ruining what little progress we've already made. We can bring back a period of grace and happiness, but only if we're not driven with a gollum-like obsession to hord our miserable goods from each other. Is more battery-operated beeping plastic really worth living in fear? Do we need high protective walls to keep people from stealing our worn cloths and cheap jewelry? Does protecting our pollution belching, fuel sucking personal transportation really provide deep meaning? Don't we just get less and less, each time they leave us with more money to buy more crap?

We all choose the future, by allowing them to walk all over us. By standing idle, and letting them take what they want. By choosing not to turn and fight, or even to flee. If we want to redeem ourselves, our world, our societies, we have to start making better choices; ones that aren't based on our needs alone. In accepting less, we will get more; way more.