What’s wrong with the world? My my, the problems seem
Don’t worry- I’m not going to pelt you in pity. But do play along for a moment.
To start I’m not going to list the problems in any particular order or by any particular category, so some may seem redundant. These are listed largely from an objective perspective.
· Disease: Heart disease and Cancers in particular
· Chronic pain
· Depletion of Earth’s resources
· Contamination of water: fluoridation (arguably), chlorination, chemical dumping
· Air pollution
· Ozone depletion (sunburns!)
· Land pollution: garbage/landfills, radioactive-isotope deposits (e.g. depleted Uranium)
· Difficult weather conditions
· Climate change (AKA Global Warming)
· Spread of lies
· Loss of sensory capabilities (blindness, deafness)
· Poisoning/Exposure to toxic substances
· Overmedication/Harmful drug use
· Malnourishment: includes undernourishment (lack of calories), vitamin and mineral deficiencies
· Eating disorders
· Creation of “super” pests and bacteria by chemical use (pesticides and antibacterial medications and sprays)
· Extinction of other species of life
· Discrimination against various groups of people and in various ways (I think you can imagine)
· Genital mutilation
· Rape; includes sex trafficking
· Lack of education
· Theft; includes cybercrimes
· Injury; includes paralysis
· Lack of transportation
· Attacks by animals
· Overcrowding of people
· Conviction of the wrongly accused
· Loss of habitats
· Corruption; includes questionable laws
· Child labor
· Daily mass slaughter of animals (i.e. factory farming; see note below)
· Sense of meaninglessness, purposelessness
· Mass fear and hysteria
Note: I didn’t mention things like “drunk driving,” “terrorism,” and pretty much anything related to money, such as “poverty,” because all the implications of those issues are listed. I think the implications of factory farming are present in all of these as well. But I think you get the point anyhow.
Some of these problems have been present since the beginning of mankind. Others have become more potent only in more recent years. For instance, I’d imagine that during the Paleolithic era heart disease and cancer were quite rare. Injury, warfare/murder (homicide), infections, attacks from animals, difficult weather conditions, and malnourishment probably took people out first.
Surely you have been directly afflicted with at least several of these. When you stretch that to include people you know, it’s probably most of them. Of course, all of them are relevant to you somehow. They are part of reality, after all.
One Way to See It (Objectively): Lies!
You could pick one problem to dedicate your life to alleviating and hope that maybe, just maybe, you make a dent somewhere.
But the way I see it, most, if not all, of these problems are held together by a few or perhaps even one common thread.
From a fairly-objective perspective, it feels right to say that “spread of lies” and “corruption” (which may be the same thing) contribute to many of these issues. At least in regards to America, think about drugs (prescription drugs, in particular), mental illness, food, water, and perhaps climate change- these issues are shrouded in falsehood.
What, did you really think carrageenan and [most] whole wheat bread are “all-natural” and “wholesome” and “healthy”? Do you really think all the people on Zoloft, Ambien, and Adderall desperately need them? Did you really think pizza was a fucking vegetable, school-lunch programs?! Microsoft Word doesn’t even spellcheck those drug-names! Let’s see: Monsanto, Ritalin, GMO, Clozapine, Viagra, Lunesta- oh, okay, we don’t know what Lunesta is. How wild and crazy.
And who can we most easily point fingers at for this? Big corporations and the [federal] government, because they act primarily in their own short-term financial interests. Some of the people involved those organizations may or may not get a big cut of that money, but they serve those interests likely to provide themselves with an income and possibly to keep themselves from being outlawed or killed… Because no one wants to be exiled to Russia (well, okay, maybe they do).
It doesn’t take much imagination or reading around to see the falsehood-promoting influence of government and business. When’s the last time you saw an advertisement or part of a television show and questioned its honesty—political ads included? Unless industrialization has not made its way to you, I hope it was quite recent.
Another Way (Subjective-Style): Heartlessness
What must also be considered in understanding reality, and which may also be the only thread from a subjective perspective, is a tad paradoxical (or ironic, at least): the force that connects all of these issues is disconnection. Disconnection, arguably, is the sole problem we have, and everything in the list is a symptom of that problem. You could argue this point from an objective perspective as well (I’ll let you take care of that one).
I am going to speak to my beliefs about reality from a subjective perspective (i.e., simply, my beliefs, uninhibited). The primary problem I perceive, at present, is that disconnection is incredibly and all-around pervasive in reality. Humans are disconnected from the natural world (outside!), from their bodies, from their food, and so on.
Particularly, between people there seems to be a lack of clear and complete communication. When we walk by strangers we hardly speak or even smile. When we do speak to strangers, it is purely for business reasons. This goes, quite often, even for people we have seen many times.
With those who we do speak to, we hold back. We try to pretend to be something we’re not, or at least cover up something we are. And if we do share, we aren’t always listened to—and if we are, we aren’t responded to. Knowing that you know that I know that you know what’s going on with me may seem a tad nit-picky, but failing to communicate that point does not often appear fruitful. And physical contact certainly is lacking as well. Whatever we do or don’t do, we leave these broken connections feeling like something is missing, or something isn’t working, or we just aren’t getting something.
Then we tell ourselves, It’s okay, I have to go do [probably relatively-unimportant task] anyway; or, I’ll be alright; I didn’t like her that much anyhow. And this is chronic. It happens all the time, relentlessly. And it doth hurt at this intensity.
I’m not trying to win pity for the loneliness contest. Rather, consider what it might look like if all of this were to play out on a global scale. Would the world look roughly as it does now?
What do you believe? Do you think there is honest, complete communication between countries at war with each other, or even between a government and its own citizens? Do you really think these entities see themselves as inextricably interconnected, meaning that the fate of others is also their own fate? If you do, please talk to me and inform me of your ways.
To me, this is an extension of how we relate to ourselves. Are you connected to yourself? Do you give yourself only those foods that you know will help your body? Do you go outside for fresh air and to move around (which you know your body likes to do)? Is your work meant to serve a purpose aside from income (unless that truly is all you care about, in this regard)? Do you make time for activities that you enjoy and help you to feel refreshed? Do you end each day smiling about how amazing life is?
I’m going to guess that at least one of your answers is “no”: I know this is the case for me. So now I have another question: if you aspire to be connected to yourself and to others but you aren’t, do you really expect that the rest of the world will live up to your aspirations? In a subjective reality, the answer is an absolute no.
I know, I’ve written about this before, and it can seem difficult to understand if you haven’t taken this perspective. But the more I immerse myself in subjective reality, the more I understand that I am responsible for everything that arises in my reality. I realize that from an objective perspective it sounds like I’m either ridiculously egotistic or have an excessive internal locus of control; but, that’s also the perspective by which my power to create change is far more limited, so of course it would say those things.
I’m not saying we should make no direct attempt at developing cures and cleaning the water supply and ending wars. What I perceive is that these things happen in conjunction with changes in consciousness. That means that every little thing you, as the dreamer, do matters. As you change, you will see the world around you change- and vice versa. I mean that.
This is not to say that these changes will occur by pure absence of awareness and by effortlessness, though things certainly are easier to do when you feel inspired to do them. This does not mean that you can sit on your bed and think up a better reality, and then watch that reality unfold before your eyes. It is helpful to know what you want, but to contend only with your thoughts to the exclusion of all else is another form of disconnection.
I believe that as long as I am relatively disconnected from other people things aren’t going to get much better. Likewise, as long as my outer reality remains fairly consistent, I am not going to change much.
Trying to write about this so that a person “out there” might understand it is a bit difficult. This is because, from a subjective perspective, there is no such person. The only person’s thoughts I can influence are my own—outer reality simply reflects those thoughts. “I” and “you” as I use them here really refer to the same entity.
Trusting the New
It’s frustrating, I know, to want change so badly and to get only incrementally different results, at best, from year to year. Fluctuation is one thing—chronic complacency is quite another.
If you want complacency, you must have gotten scared stiff somewhere along the way. If you don’t want it, it’s the biggest bitch you have to deal with. The two often seem to coincide: we want change- we really do-… But we’re scared of the implications of that change. More often than not, straddling these worlds yields complacency. Fear keeps us in our place.
I know it’s so damning to, time and time again, think you’ve finally found a solution and it just doesn’t pan out somehow. Maybe it hurts you more than it helps you, so you have to abandon it (well, or it eventually turns you to mush). Maybe it works for a short period of time, but then things somehow snap back to where they started. Maybe you feel particularly brave, willing, and energetic one day, but you just can’t keep it up.
Right now, subjective reality is the solution I’m banking on. It makes sense, for one thing, that a fundamental change in the way I see reality would coincide with my experience of reality. For another, this perspective endows me with far more power and responsibility than the belief that I am an object, and it removes a layer of abstraction (i.e. objectivity) which makes reality more difficult to comprehend. It’s quite a bit easier to deal with my own beliefs than a massive world of objects to which I have difficult-to-understand connection, at best.
It’s not that I can’t handle being with a conscious person full of independent thoughts, for instance. It’s not that I need to control them and make them dance on puppet-strings. But it is easier to speak to and care about someone when you see them as a reflection of yourself, manifested in a dream world. It’s easier to be both silly and honest, since this is just a dream and “future” is just a thought.
But, I simultaneously feel that how I act is of more
importance. This isn’t someone to whom I can so easily say “To Hell with you!”
when I’m upset with them, because they're a part of me. There’s more going on
there than the surface silliness: there’s something in myself.
At least right now, I like to think that subjective reality is a model that strikes closer to the essence of reality. Even if you do believe that you are an object, you cannot escape your subjective experience. You cannot deny that the course of your life is influenced by your beliefs. And if you believe that it’s not, that belief too influences your reality.
Perhaps it would be helpful to understand that objective reality occurs within subjective reality. This means that objective reality is “real”-- it’s just that it is unavoidably filtered through your subjective experience. If you wish, you can forego the objective model and look to your subjective experience directly: this is not necessarily more of less valid than choosing to see reality in terms of objects. Still, I suppose it’s not within my means or even necessity to convince you of that.
I trust that the more I follow this line of reasoning, the more I will be able to act in accordance with beliefs about how I ought to live. This is because I will hold to accurate and empowering beliefs more strongly (in contrast with all the disconnectedness-gobbledygook I wrote about). The more I act like so, the more reality shall act like so. Sounds like a good deal, eh?
I do have existential concerns about this dream world, like becoming intensely lonely and insane, though these concerns fade as “time” goes on. I will do my best to hold this perspective fervently for some time (like a few of those “day” things), and from there on out I will change my beliefs about reality as I see fit.
Looking Up: Creating a New World
I do not know whether life is made up of choice. One perspective will say that life is entirely choice: others assert that there is no such thing. Of course, it is hard to incite people to action who are without choice, so I’ll suspend that caveat for a moment.
I know that making one apparently-good choice after another can seem futile. I know that making new choices can seem to go nowhere. And I know that, sometimes, it feels as though we are without choice, and instead are pulled through life by forces more powerful than ourselves.
There is a force that will likely take us where we want to go, and that is collective consciousness. By choosing to see ourselves as part of something larger- particularly, everything- we can take on that entity’s power, and thus become more able to create change than we ever could have alone.
The paradox of seeing the world subjectively and aligning yourself with collective consciousness is that it seems, from the outside, so isolating. But if you can get past this apparent damnation, you will understand that you are part of something so lively and beautiful, and you are a conduit for this beauty. Maybe there are no morals or other codes “out there” that you must adhere to, but you will quickly find yourself subscribing to standards far higher than those you did in your object-life-- even if these take some time to sink in.
I know that I can change, that you can change, and that the world can change—even if this isn’t in the ways we think we ought to. Life can feel dark, war-like, and hopeless. It can seem like a shame to be intertwined with so much mediocrity, short-sightedness, and greed.
But life also can glow with joy, appreciation, and love. You can step out the door everyday excited to be immersed in the whirlwind that is this world. And if that excitement is lost, you can smile with appreciation at the joy you once felt and the wonder underlying what you feel now—even if this smile is accompanied by a tear.
From a subjective perspective, the best you can do for reality are those things that make you shine. When you are challenged and you choose to rise up to that challenge in a way that feels best to you, you emit light into the world.
Live so that you feel all-around rich (this can include financial wealth, but it doesn’t have to). Perhaps you are resistant to your world improving because you believe that the increased abundance will make you- and everyone else- weak and lazy. Maybe you worry that if the quality of others’ lives improves, they will outshine you. Perhaps you have a tendency to use limitations as an excuse to stay right where you are, so you don’t have to do anything too crazy.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. I know, it’s hard to pull yourself out of patterns you’ve been running for a long time. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You don’t have to continue running on the momentum of fumes, which are seemingly endless in supply. People quit using highly addictive drugs, so why can’t you quit thinking and doing things that hold you back?
Perhaps you believe it is okay for you to do this, to hide away in your cave, as long as no one else is affected by it. But once you realize you are in a dream… Well, good luck keeping that one up. That won’t be impossible either, but it’s apt to be incredibly painful. Ouch.
Your pain does not lie within your individual ego- that is, your dream character. Nor does your pleasure, nor do your shortcomings, nor do your strengths. You may fall into the trap of thinking that you create only for and by your dream character, if you wish, but a dream character is indeed part of a larger dream. You may also use the dream to prop up a sense of, “It doesn’t really matter what I do, anyway,” but once again you may find it difficult to maintain that believe painlessly. Trust me… Well, if it feels right to do so.
I’ve continually had the sense that I ought to connect with and uplift the other characters in my dream. I don’t think I understand the dream all too well yet, but at least intellectually this makes sense because I know those characters share consciousness with me. In the dream the truth tends to equate with feeling, and I think I can trust this feeling.
Whatever you believe now, challenge those beliefs until you come to a conclusion that makes more sense to you. Then do this again, and again, and then do it some more. Entertain the thought that it might be okay to feel good and experience success (by some definition) for once- and not just in a fleeting sense. Reason with your opposition to this thought: how is one belief any more valid than the other, anyway?
Your feelings reflect what is true in essence for you; your actions reflect the full scope of your beliefs. If these two appear disconnected, change is needed somewhere. Don’t worry about achieving total congruence: just start where you’re at. Keep in mind where you’d like to go, but don’t let the thought damn you. This life is too short and this world too beautiful to be constantly damnable.
Now, it might help to enter some sort of virtual reality to understand all this craziness better. A good video game, perhaps? Or a lucid dream? J
Abby Martin on The Joe Rogan Experience: Episode 381- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbjrwJG54XA
Episode 529: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbM0aCeNGl8
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