If you are not willing to learn,
no one can help you.
If you are determined to learn,
no one can stop you.
This slogan may go down as the best 5 word description of the great awakening of 2011.
For the first time in human history, ordinary people took to the streets in over 82 countries in over 950 cities more or less simultaneously. Even though the people appeared to have little in common at first, it quickly became evident that they were nearly identical in so many ways.
One of the most interesting documents about this similarity is a study prepared by Tomaz Kure of Slovenia. Tomaz compiled the dominant slogans that protesters were chanting in each country and listed them month-by-month starting January 2011 and ending December 2011.
In it, you can clearly track the protest’s spread from Tunisia to other countries as new voices join the list.
Even though the protesters themselves are very diverse, their complaints are eerily the same. Regardless of country, religion, political or economic system, these 12 topics appeared over and over:
- The power of banks
- Criticism of the capitalist system
- Stock speculations
- Lack of democracy
- Poor regulations
- Austerity cuts
- Corruption of elites
- Inaccessible education
- High unemployment
- High personal debts
- Environmental problems
- An increasing gap between the rich and poor
Could it be that human beings have an innate understanding that freedom, justice, fairness and compassion must not be compromised?
Is this internal compass powerful enough to overcome decades of unregulated power in the hands of central banks, large corporations and autocratic or plutocratic regimes?
The jury’s still out.
Check out Tomaz’s work. It is a fascinating read and I guarantee that you’ll immediately recognize yourself in the voices of others.
Politicians of all stripes love to hear themselves talk. It’s especially true once they’ve narrowed down what they’ll say to a half-dozen or fewer bumper sticker slogans. They call it “staying on message.”
To a politician, there’s no need to stray onto any topic that can’t be expressed in a few words. “No new taxes!” “I’ll work for the middle class.” “We can’t raise taxes on job creators.” “I support the America dream.”
They repeat this pointless drivel so often that they actually start believing their own bullshit. Dumb people believe it too.
But that’s wrong. America, indeed the whole of our planet, needs to begin having substantive conversations about the real and pressing problems that all of humanity faces. (A parrot can cover the ground that politicians currently occupy and they won’t cost as much to feed and shelter).
How are we going to deal with the fact that as a species, we have invented and created the technological means to render our physical labor unnecessary?
Remember slavery? It didn’t end because oppressive white people suddenly felt bad about how they were treating another human being. It ended because Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and it became cheaper to buy and use a machine than to feed and house slaves. Greed + technology put an end to it.
Remember the time before computers? Factory workers used their hands and eyes to measure materials, set up and calibrate tools of production, polish and assemble goods and much more. Now a robot handles it.
Postal workers sorted and delivered mail before the advent of e-mail. Messages now arrive anywhere in the world almost instantly.
Musicians used to go to recording studios to make records. Now they produce high-definition digital code that streams between devices.
Graphic artists used to use printing presses. Now they use Photoshop and practically nothing gets “printed;” the work is just viewed on computer screens.
Publishers and binders used to assemble books. Now many books exist only as bits of code, downloadable over the Internet. And the list goes on…
The point is that as a species, we’ve always figured out novel ways to make work easier, faster, more accurate and at lower cost in terms of time and raw resources. It’s what we do.
That has served us pretty well for thousands of years but we have now arrived at a point in our evolution where the effects are starting to work against us.
The truth is, most of us are not needed any longer. All of those jobs that have disappeared over the last 30-40 years are never coming back.
What politicians should be talking about is this:
How can we create a new economic system that is not based on labor (which is increasingly unnecessary) but one that encourages people to meaningfully contribute to society in exchange for economic rewards?
I’ll bet that answer won’t fit on a bumper sticker. It’s also a question that we can’t dodge much longer.
Here is another great animated video from the Royal Society for the Arts that essentially confirms Aung San Suu Kyi‘s assertion that anyone can create power for themselves simply by helping one another.
The video demonstrates that the human species evolves spiritually over time and that’s why we now stand at the dawn of a new awakening.
Based on recent worldwide events, it’s clear that citizens of all nations are “waking up” more or less simultaneously and starting to demand a new system, a new way of life, that overcomes the frailties and inadequacies of existing systems.
Governments, religions, economic systems and more are being re-evaluated in terms of their ultimate “real” worth not only to banking and industry, but to civilization, the environment and the entire spiritual universe.
Despite the mess we’re in, there’s still reason for hope.
This is an excellent, non-partisan look by the Royal Society for the Arts (England) at the global financial crisis. It objectively addresses several of the dominant explanatory theories behind the collapse and points out their truths and weaknesses.
While the author has not discovered any viable solutions yet, he does recommend that we start having mature conversations above the political sphere so that we might arrive at an acceptable means of dealing with this problem.
Ordinary citizens of the world are already having this discussion. I can only hope that politicians will eventually pull up to the grownup table , put down their silly politics and lend a hand.