Coastal Post Online

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March 2002

They Hate Us : We Hate Ourselves

By Frank Scott

Our economic system turns nature into garbage and then profits by selling that garbage in markets. It rewards investors in the immaterial environment of finance, and punishes workers in the material environment of society. It measures wealth by tonnage of waste, and sees poverty as a necessary factor in the creation of such wealth.

This perverse system is not responsible for all our problems, but it's a major cause of most of them. While we hear about terrorism and population, the main reason for environmental and social breakdowns is the production of useless and wasteful goods, whose sale in private markets brings short term profits to a minority but long term loss to the rest of us.

Globally, billions go hungry while millions diet to battle fat. Millions can't afford health care, while other millions can afford doctors for their pets. While the poorest live in obscene squalor, the richest live in vulgar luxury, and the middle class lives in debt and doubt. These immoral contradictions of our illogical social organization are either unquestioned, or accepted as the nature of humanity. The gods seem to decree that billions go without life's necessities, while others get them in excess. Why? Because they had the good sense to be born into the home of a wealthy or affluent man, instead of a poor or working man. Hmmm.

Corporate capitalism and its private market fixation threaten the future of humanity as never before. In the past, its gains could make its losses seem tolerable. Even today, we're told that a downward trend will only be brief, until the next upward trend. But the idea that we'll all prosper in the future if we keep worshipping the private market god isn't even entertained by the minority who profit from this mess. The majority who sustain the loss are-slowly-beginning to question the corruption that causes so much pain. But we still contend with a mind management network that teaches us to interpret that pain as a personal problem, or the result of outside evil.

Among the myths supporting capitalism is that its market can be manipulated for the good of humanity. The invisible hand is said to be controlled, at least slightly, by creatures like finance minister Greenspan, or the murderously grinning frat-boy at the White House, or some Wall Street wizard who calls for lower, higher or stable interest rates to ward off the bust following the boom following the surge following the collapse. Sure.

These shamans at the temple of capital believe in their deity as deeply as any fundamentalist, but they are more dangerous than any fanatic god-squad. Their belief system is behind the murderous contradictions that drive people crazy and create disaster, everyday, somewhere on earth. That disaster is social, environmental, and at the same time very personal. It gnaws at the body and tears at the soul until flesh and mind become diseased with physical or mental illness.

Capital's contradictions are explained by blaming individuals. Our inability to cope, get jobs, gain credit, look good, or find security in an insecure environment are all seen as personal problems. We are taught to identify the internalized stress of daily life, experienced at work, at home, at the mall or on the highway, as our own difficulty, curable either by drugs, therapy, or training that enables us to stop complaining and start consuming. Our personal problems cost money to solve, and make profits for the peddlers of motivation cures, who merely act on what the system provides them: a market of self-identified losers.

When personal difficulties are combined with social and environmental problems like war, bio-genetics and pollution, the damage toll is enormous. But it is hidden, by corporate media that highlights success while barely noticing failure, and corporate government that controls consciousness with propaganda that falsely identifies problems, and obscures any hope for solutions.

We are despised by millions the world over for the same essential reasons that many of us despise ourselves. The anti-social organization that treats people and nature as commodities is the one that runs rampant over foreign nations, and in a slightly different way, over its homeland population.

The development of new forms of mental and physical illness, the increased consumption of drugs, the availability of weapons and the bloody hazards of the private auto transit system are among the contributors to devastating social stress that is labeled as personal experience. But an individual can never be removed from society, even if locked up in prison or in a mental straitjacket. No one has a "personal" problem if it is experienced almost exactly the same way by others who can't relax, look glamorously young, find rewarding work, or any of the other dilemmas that can make people feel ill. All of us have the same problem; the anti-social organization of individuals under capitalism.

Many foreigners hate us because they seem to understand that our system is destroying their external world. Many of us hate ourselves because we don't yet seem to understand that our system is destroying our internal world as well.

We can't define ourselves as a society only when we're programmed to wave flags in support of foreign murders. And we can't be individuals only when we're defined as looking, thinking or being wrong. The source of inner pain for millions of us is the source of outer pain for millions of others. If we begin to see ourselves as participants in a human race, and not simply as commodities in a consumption race, we may be on the way to creating a better world, both individually and socially. Once we stop hating ourselves, "they" may not hate our society anymore, since it will have stopped hurting them. And us, as well.

 

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