Transcending Capitalism

Me: “What do you need to live?”

Also me: “You don’t need any thing.”

Imagine a world where you weren’t bombarded by the advertisements of senseless items and illusory status’ that accompany such products. A world where our talents as incredible humans wasn’t reduced to the purpose of getting more money in order to accumulate buying power. We are not seeing our worth. Ask yourself what does the word profit mean? And what can one profit from in this life? There are literally thousands of people that own things they do not use. How can we as a society make this right?

            Yes, it was a joke when Larry David plays Bernie Sanders and explains that he’s the type of guy that owns only one pair of underwear. It’s funny, but only because there’s little reason to have an excessive underwear collection, and just as funny as it would be to only own one. We can wash our clothes, however we typically only wear only one pair a day and at best six or seven in a week’s time, why then do so many people concern themselves with creating meaning from living in excess. How do these collections or lack thereof define the kind of person we are?

            There are children who only have one winter jacket, women who work six days a week and have the same two pairs of slacks and one bra. And still there are other individuals who may not work, could have some financial assistance yet still stand in lines to buy some brand new piece of technology without enough food in their refrigerator for dinner.

            This line of thinking is currently undergoing name construction. Socialism is one of the colors that has been thrown at the wall to try and frame what I am speaking about. It’s about the common good, sure. It’s about non-waste and getting away from the corrupt and greedy ideology of consumerism, but there’s more.

Clue: You fill in the blanks- all of them. There are tons of progressive movements gathering people into this kind of thinking and they are hopeful it will take on by the powers of what is called, the collective consciousness.

           Currently, we have a self-proclaimed democratic socialist spreading his ideas and pushing for progress, but just one utterance of this word, “socialism,” is followed by formal and grave resistance.

Why? Generally speaking, people don’t live under rocks. Unlike cavemen hunting the same game, we buy our food in excessive packaging and big brightly colored sale signs, so why then do we act with such depravity. In varying degrees, we are all contributing to and relying upon the communal structures of a society. Aside from what some bipartisan individuals would have you think, socialism has little to do with poverty. With society as its root word this isn’t about letting the people down. We socialize our kids and dogs and we scan social media all day long.

Is the old aphorism true? We know what is good for others but not onto ourselves. We make sure that the children share, but not us adults. If we tried this perspective on for just a moment, the consumerist mentality dissolves into what is clearly a conditioned reaction to the relentless stressful and emotionally trigger-happy tactics used in politics, business, and advertising.

We don’t need much to live.

       There is something tangible when our thinkers come together and find ways for everyone to work together achieving goals that are important to the community and environment.

            Can freedom exist in socialism? And can something called collective efficacy better describe what we are all striving for?

I mean we all know and love the moments we are liberated from social constraints and we beat the system, whether it’s a day off or seventy-five percent off. This system doesn’t represent the people at its heart, which is why it feels so good to get around it. It doesn’t call for our participation in the way it was originally intended. It doesn’t leave us feeling involved in our collective and individual longevity and wellness. A person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated but America we are not yet there.

            As consumers, shouldn’t we be asking more from our investment in the things we spend our good earned money on? Products should be made with more ingenuity and integrity, not cheaper materials. They should last longer, not shorter. We have already spent so much money on goods over our lifetime, regardless of how old we are, and where is the return on this investment if all we do is continue to get in line and buy more of the same? How can we continue to sacrifice this planet we call home? We must understand whole-heartedly that things are not as important as our environment. It is as necessary to have air, water, plants, insects, birds, fish, and mammals as it is for us to have brains, hearts, lungs, and stomach.[1]

            This is the beginning of a conversation, where I am telling you to wake up.

The original goal of industrializing manufacturing was to alleviate humans from the constraints of work? READ THAT AGAIN.

Before machines whole families would sit at home making shoes, furniture, candles, clothing, etc. It was designed to have more goods at lower costs. Yes, machines and engineering cost money, but after the initial boom, more people benefited from larger production and less people were required to participate in the manufacturing process, which in turn provided more goods to more people at cheaper prices because everyone had access. Let’s fast forward and take a closer look at one product like, wheat. How is science best used when it is focused on creating chemicals and additives so that all of this excess production is for longer profitability in extended shelf-life?

Why can’t we see the true value of something: wheat feeds the hungry.

So, why then are there starving people in our nation.

            However, many of you have been sold on the idea that without work you are nothing. Brothers and sisters, you are missing the point. Find new ways to become useful: to your family, to your home, to your community, to your schools and organizations. Come up with your own organizations. If you think you know a better way, from where you’re standing you probably do. We have to be louder than the corporations. #thetimeisnow

            I‘m not telling you how to live — what I’m saying is, I want you to live.

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[1] Alan Watts, Does it Matter.

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