What Future am I looking for?
This is the kind of society I would like to live in. Free, Democratic, Compassionate, Intelligent, Progressive, Open, Joyous, Full of Life. Like that.
As opposed, I suppose I should point out, to the society I see now, in Canada - which, I will admit, is far from as bad as it might be - but on the other hand, equally as far from as good as it might be - as it could be and should be, I feel - and not only that, one which is currently going backwards rather than forwards in terms of good qualities, such as those above. I see a society which demands that its citizens spend the great bulk of their lives working at jobs they do not particularly like merely to survive, for which they receive enough "money" to pay for a house or apartment of some sort, and provide themselves with some version of the things the society sees as necessary for a life - food, clothing, car, tv, vacation for a few days each year, whatever. And there's not much "freedom" in all this for most of us - if you "choose" not to follow this path (not being independently wealthy), you are condemned to living under bridges, begging passersby for handouts - not an option many choose, or would. I see this all, however, as a highly unsatisfactory way to spend one's life, working for someone else to obtain the minimun things one requires for survival, with a few extra toys for those who manage to land one of the "better" jobs - yes, one ought to contribute some working time to support one's self and contribute to the things which comprise the common weal of us all, with the things to ease and improve our lives and give us the opportunities of a modern society - but that should not engage the great bulk of all our time in this era when we have such amazing technology - a few hours a week should suffice for this contribution to our collective support (with a substantial number of months off per year as well!), after which we are free to pursue such less mundane things as we prefer - time which should, to me, be spent in the true Maslovian sense of "becoming all that one can be" - which requires freedom from the workplace - time to think and read, and time to explore, and an opportunity to meet and talk with others who are also engaged in the endeavor of trying to find out what life is all about.
It is evident that many in our society are happy enough with the "work work work" system, and truly feel this is all they want in a society - and they should be allowed to spend their time thusly if they wish - I have no desire to force others to try to become something they don't want to be! - but equally, I am highly resistant - have been for several decades now - to the notion of others forcing me to be something I do not want to be, a cog in someone else's life or factory - something indeed very much less than I feel I might be, given the opportunity to make of my life what I will, rather than being a supporting player only in someone else's vision of how good THEIR life could be if I and many others spend our lives working working working - so these others do not have to do so themselves, can indeed live lives based on the totality of the product of the labour of many, rather than their own labour alone. A highly unsatisfactory idea, at least for me.
So - given that short preamble about where I am coming from - what sort of world would I like to live in, if I was drawing up plans?
- In the Future I see that I want to be I will be Free - that does not mean "free to do anything" such as kill whoever I want or steal your money or laze around on the couch all day drinking beer and watching tv while you work to give me money to do so - it means, I suppose, "freedom with responsibility" - I covet only my own freedom to wander my planet learning and growing, to wander my mind equally seeing what is to be found there, free from chains of either the mind or body - chains in which this society seems to revel - they are everywhere, from the law that says I have to assist creating the mind-chains in my children by sending them to the trolls' school for brainwashing every day to the trolls' cops chasing me around to make sure I stay properly, and very symbolically, chained inside my own car. It means freedom from the wage-slave economy, if I so choose - there must be a place for those of us who wish to live otherwise to do so, besides under the bridges of your cities in stark poverty. It means, for me, free from the million and five laws and regulations and customs and traditions we have today that try to channel every minute of my life and thought in my brain into acceptable patterns of behaviour and thought that the trolls desire - the great majority of which do NOT protect you from me in any way or vice versa, but serve merely to enslave me, attempt to keep me on the capitalist treadmill producing "surplus value" that the trolls can harvest every day, every month, every year, living lives of ease from the sweat and labour of millions. If you wish to be another man's slave, fine, that is up to you - I do not. In my future, in my world, you are free to do that - and I am free to not. In your society, the troll land, we are both slaves, if we wish to have a house and internet connection, we have no choice but to sign on the dotted line. (I expect that in your heart you no more want to be a slave than do I - and would welcome the opportunity I offer to be free. As the man once said - take that opportunity. Cast your chains off. Be free!)
- Democratic - pertaining quite directly to the determination of the above "freedoms" - I want a serious say in how we arrive at the rules of our community - for I do accept that we need to establish some guidelines to order our existence in communities somewhat, and many communities in larger states - I just object that I have not been consulted in any way concerning the endless restrictions I must now live under, and feel that most of them are much more burdensome and freedom-restricting than useful or freedom-enhancing, which should be the main reason we adopt such rules. The group passing itself off as a "government" in my country acts illegitimately - without my approval or the approval of most Canadians - in many, many ways - when it decides to borrow huge amounts of money and then demands (steals) my tax dollars to pay "interest" on that debt - had I been asked, I would have insisted that in MY country, the sovereign government, supposedly MY government, the government of We the People, creates the money itself, interest free, and does not just hand over billions and tens and hundreds of billions of dollars in loot to a small group of private individuals; it acts illegitimately when it passes laws, and sends its (not my!) police around enforcing them - laws that were never talked about during any election campaign, and are passed by governments who received 20-25% of the support of the people in an election, and on and on.
That does not mean I want to have my way all the time, or to be a dictator - but it means I do want my voice heard in the councils of the community, and my ideas and opinions acknowledged as we debate the things that matter - as I will acknowledge yours. I would suspect that at the end of the day we will be able to arrive at an amicable consensus of some sort in almost all matters of importance, for the things that advance the common weal, and stop the trolls from purloining our collective wealth, should not be overly controversial, and we all will go home happy. If a group want to start some kind of "free trade" deal that will benefit them - they will have to convince a solid majority of us all that it will benefit us all - such poorly thought out ideas, or others that quite obviously benefit only a few at the expense of many, will not likely be a problem with a full citizen's council - unlike modern governments, where such decisions are made in secret, behind closed doors in expensive, exotic locales, where most of us are denied admittance or any kind of voice, regardless of how negatively we are going to be impacted by such decisions - this is not democracy!!! I think most people would agree on a common tax to support a quality health care system for us all, for instance, with administrators under our direction - while few would support selling off our public assets at bargain prices to wealthy "investors", as is currently the fad in our governments. The system currently in place is, at best, a benevolent plutocracy (getting noticeably less benevolent each year) - it is ludicrous to pretend that allowing me a "vote" every few years between a couple of Tweedledee-dum "candidates" offered as choices by those who are running the country pertains in any way to "democracy", rule of, by and for the people, or that whichever of these puppets is eventually "elected" with the support of perhaps 20% of the people of Canada is in any way entitled to claim a "mandate" to go ahead with laws and other things the majority of the people are opposed to - regardless of the shouts of "majority government!!!!" from the corporate trolls, who own both the media and the politicians.
- Open, Accessible Media - many if not most of the problems we face today can be directly traced to the fact that most people are brainwashed into having a very unrealistic view of the country and world we live in. I understand this is a harsh thing to say, but any realistic examination of the situation leaves few other conclusions - but, of course, a central part of the brainwashing, which begins in the earliest years of schooling, is to ensure that people have no opportunity or desire to raise such questions. This is no accident - it is intentionally propagated by the ruling trolls who steal most of the production and wealth of society to maintain their privileged position. The solution to this problem will of necessity be multi-faceted and is going to take time, but a central component is ensuring that people have access to the truth, through an open media. Yes, yes, the "truth" has many definitions - but we must ensure that everyone who feels they have some idea of what that truth is, and wishes to express it, has access to the channels to do so. As the situation currently stands, the "world view" of the trolls (if we can call greed and stupidity and sneaking around in the dark plotting things and violence a "world view") dominates the media, and with no widespread dissemination of opposing views, and the pre-programmed beliefs about our society and the ways we live, most people accept that worldview - which is so very destructive. It need not be so. But getting away from it is not going to be easy.
- Progressive - progress, avoiding semantics, just means getting better - and that is what we should be striving for - a better life for all of us, as the years and decades go by, and better for our children, and then their children. And not just in our own home or community or even country - but the whole world. Someday the universe - but we need to clean up our own cave before worrying about the universe just yet. To some extent there is a problem with definition here - "better" might mean different things to different people - but it seems to me that we ought to be able to come to some overall, fairly embracing ideas that most of us could be happy with. I guess the main dividing line in our current society is "better - for WHO??" - quite obviously, those trolls at the top of the current pile have it pretty good, and if we judge by incomes, their lives are getting better. But what about most of us? Are our lives getting better? Do we have more security than a few years ago, or our parents had? Do we have more money overall, after expenses and whatnot? What criteria are we going to use to measure "better"? To some, the number of zeroes on their bank balance says it all, or how many of the newest modern toys they have in their house. To others, the measure of progress is how few hours they need to work per week to provide themselves with sufficient income to read and dream and think and write - about how to make things better. I would suggest that exposure to the brainwashing I mentioned before is a central component of how these "values" are formed. Nonetheless, I think we are fairly safe in saying that "progress" should at the very least result in improved conditions over time - more security, a better life, less effort needed to maintain that life - and I think it is fairly obvious that we have been going in the other direction for some years now, at least for most of us. Look at the health care system - free for all, for the most advanced treatment, for a long time - now there are waiting lines so long that people die before they get treatment, other people die in ambulances because emergency rooms have been closed and the ambulance has no place that will accept them, the government is talking about privatising large parts of it, which is going to further reduce availability of treatment as many people could not afford it, and the new Ontario government has just re-introduced premiums.
Not better - worse.
Why is this happening? It's not a big secret, to those who have escaped the brainwashing - although the people of this country work hard and produce a lot of wealth, and altogether we have created a great country over the last couple of hundred years, over the last 30 years or so the trolls who run our society have increased their skim - the amount of wealth they take off the top of what we all produce, leaving the rest of us less and less to live our lives, and run our government. Their newspapers will never talk about this, of course, but it is nonetheless true. So in that sense, things are progressing well for them - but in my future, I want things to progress for me as well - in my future, things progress for all of us, for only when all of us have the oppotunity to progress, can I feel happy and secure in my own progress.
- Joyous - Joy is a difficult thing to describe sometimes - a satisfaction with one's life, perhaps, a feeling that one is growing within and without both - contributing to true growth in the community in which one lives - again, that growth not being measured primarily in "dollars in bank accounts", but in the freedom people have, the security they have, the opportunity to life a good life, whatever that means to them. I derive joy from doing some work each day to contribute to my community, without being tied down to slave-hours, and from having the opportunity to read and talk with others and learn and think and dream and travel a bit sometimes to see new places that give you new ideas and take another step, however small, towards achieving that dream, which is constantly being reinvented as I learn new things and add some of the wisdom of age to my earlier dreams - it does not matter really how far I travel along this path before I leave it - the point is the journey itself, the striving to learn and the taking of one more step - the search, the struggle, is itself joyful.
Working for my community means just that - NOT working as a cog-in-a-wheel for a large business so the trolls can pocket the "surplus value" above and beyond the pennies needed to support my threadbare existance at the end of the day from my labor they begrudge such cogs, but taking part in the day to day affairs of my community, participating not only in the decision making, but also in the exchange of goods and services which enable our modern society to function, and which we are trying to improve to make it work better for all of us. Producing the 1,001st brand of cornflakes or dish soap as a cog in a large factory does not give me any satisfaction, and spending the money they grudgingly give me for my labour and time so used on shiny toys does not ease my angst. Helping my neighbor build a house does, being a librarian and helping people find the book they are looking for to help them on their stage of the path does, being a teacher and helping young people understand their lives and the world does (I refer to something considerably other than the systemized jailers and trainers usually referred to as "teachers" these days, who deal with "consumers" or "clients" rather than students - many of them no doubt well-meaning, but acting within a machine they become as machines, their main purpose not to enlighten but to train in punctuality, neatness, obedience...), a lineman maintaining the electricity supply to my community, a doctor providing health care, many, many such things - personal things, man and woman as individuals dealing with other individuals, not man and woman as cogs, and it is this satisfaction that contributes to my joy in living. And in my future, we ALL have the opportunity for joy in our lives, real joy, not pretend joy in a tv screen laughtrack or the glittery false dreams offered in the display cases of a mall window. In this world - well, there is a sort of joy for the few, the trolls in their mansions and yachts, with their diamond rings and blond breasty women, although I suspect it does not run very deep as it seems very superficial and those living these lives very unstable, but drudgery for the many to support this luxury for the few, 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, 40 years or more of working life drudgery, tv and malls at night and on the weekend - a singularly joyless existence, it seems to me, with a lot of artificial smiles and forced laughter, but little that could be called real joy, which abides in the heart and does not demand it be exhibited. We could, and should, do better. In my future, the future I want to see, the future I will try to be.
- - as John said (and many others of course) part of that picture to me is "and no religion too" - I feel that we are free human beings in the universe, and THAT is all the Truth we need to know - there is incredible spirituality here, which probably led to the early religions as primitive people struggled for understanding, but we are now out of the caves of our minds, to some extent, and should be putting childish ways behind us. Spirituality is real, but it comes from the great mystery and complexity and beauty and interconnectedness of nature and the universe, not from some ghostly creator who watches over us all, judging like some "adult" Santa Claus who's 'naughty or nice' - how demeaning to what we really have, to our own innate power and sublimity of mind! I do not object to others believing in some embodied spiritual force if they wish, if they have not grown beyond that yet - but never again must we let such beliefs dominate our society, or impose them on our children - how barbaric to chain a mind so (the real barbarians had their excuses - we do not)!!. We cannot be free if we bow in obeisance to some imaginary "greater force" - and, not being free, we can hardly create a better future. The "Christian" religions - and to a lesser extent fundamentalist Muslims as well, based on the same monstrous "god" in whose name they ravage and kill - and not denying that many simple folk have believed in these beings and done good work in their names - have nonetheless, through corrupt, power-seeking leaders, been responsible for most of the brutality and carnage and suffering and oppression of the last 2,000 years, and it must end. The Christian people themselves are largely good people, as are most ordinary Muslims - but their leaders are largely moral-less power seekers, using that belief, that deliberately inculcated simplicity of mind that is required for belief in a "god" and blind obedience to the orders of those who claim to speak for that god, for selfish and personal ends. We must learn to believe in ourselves as the final judge of good and evil, and live accordingly - there IS morality in the universe - but the rules of that morality come from within our own spirits, individually, and the beauty and power and responsibility we understand to be in the universe and life, not from some almighty being.