Rant

Does wearing suits and blazers really make us a civilized people? Do our systems and institutions really make us a more organized and advanced society? Is this so much better than when things were a lot simpler and we were unencumbered by so many complexities in life?

What I don’t understand is why we have to put up with a job we don’t like doing during the productive hours of our day for five or six times a week just so we can scrape a bare minimum salary that doesn’t even come close to compensating the exploitation and degradation we experience in the boxed-up “careers” we have.

 Don’t ask me, I’m still doing it.

The Protagonist

You know there is something
wrong when you start
rooting for the bad guys
because at least they have
a sense of what they are
fighting for their words
resonate with the harsh
truth that they see but
we do not see as
we are saturated with lies
wrapped up in pretty
words and pictures that do
not seem to harmonize
with what we need
they keep feeding us with
what they want us to want
now we are lost and trapped
and groping in the dark

Is there a light?

Patches of Epiphanies {2}

It is very difficult nowadays to come across that rare moment of clarity, that dawning of comprehension, about what really is and what we are about. We are swimming in a deluge of noise and we try our hardest to avoid surfacing to silence. We find it hard to think, just shut up and think, because we preoccupy our minds with blabber. There’s not much time left to question and seek for answers about the world, the enormity of life, as we are too busy with the everyday tasks we put upon ourselves. There’s not much space left to allow discovery of the essential, the learning and understanding of the truth since we are too filled with trivial things. To find someone who is open to queries about the state of society or someone who will not dismiss a lengthy discussion about ideas and insights is to find a grain of sand among the rocks.

Reevaluation

It’s heartbreaking how money has torn us apart. I recently had a party with my closest friends and this event was quite difficult to put together because almost everybody was busy with spending weeks in overtime trying to earn extra or in hospital duty gaining experience for future employment. And at the party, work was such an inescapable topic of conversation, you know, the usual discussion of frustration about customers, bosses, salaries and bills. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun and enjoyed the party as much as we can. But it’s just sad that this, enjoying the company of friends, had to be so hard to make possible. I can’t even remember the last time we were almost complete in a gathering like this. All because we can’t make schedules meet due to the priority of work and money.

It is apparent that society has evolved into this money-making machine, constantly moving to keep the money coming and going. Our lives are indoctrinated with the norm that money be a priority in everything we do because we just can’t do without it. If we want to live a civilized life with proper food, shelter and enough basic necessities in order to survive, we have to have money. We could detach ourselves and live in the wilderness without money to sustain us, but if we still want to stay in touch with friends and society in general, it just seems impractical.

We have become slaves of the almighty money, growing up to believe that it is something of great value. It isn’t. Money is just a means of exchange, a way to distribute resources – a distribution that must necessarily be fair and equitable for all.

In the beginning no one owned anything. The land, its fruits, the minerals, water, everything is for everybody to share. And labor is the only thing that the people had a sense of ownership of. But because majority of our wealth is now “owned” by a few powerful individuals, we are constrained to give what we do have, our labor, just so we can have a bit of the wealth they hold hoard. Since money is concentrated in and controlled by the hands of these few, it has become a means to stratify the population and create class warfare.

Today’s society has inequality and injustice as the very foundation of its system. We, the working class and the poor who are the majority of society, spend most of our lives striving to earn money in order to survive. All our distressing effort, frequent overtimes, sickness from fatigue, loneliness from being away from families and unhappiness from the routine work – which is really not what we want to do in life but are forced to do because it pays the bills – are all for the bidding of the minority on top.

And worse is that these big shots have us believing that there’s no way around this inequality, that this is just the way life is. And if we want to prosper like them, we must sacrifice everything we have and be as ruthless as them while climbing the ladder, not minding the lives we trample on. And when we do get to the top, we’ll be as soulless as these profit-making giants.

But what can we do to break out of this unjust monetary system? I do not have the answer to how or if we can do this, yet. Right now, we are very much tied to it whether we like it or not. What we do have the power over are our own perceptions and decisions. We could try to open our minds and see that money does not have value in itself. Its worth lies in its use; it is just a means to an end. We can try to not worship money or material things so much, and instead find real value in our relationships with other people and with the earth. We can stop seeing money-making as our reason for living, and instead turn our priorities to loving and sharing – genuine happiness. We can change the system by starting with the change in ourselves.

Pass it on

I have always been baffled by how society works. In my solitude I often ponder on why certain things happen and how people think or act this way or the other. Asking questions has always been a past time when my brain is not occupied and seeking to understand has been an obsession. But there are times, genuine times, that I discover actual answers to the questions that I have barely formed in my head. These tiny pieces of revelation come in different forms – a short story, a novel, an essay, a film, a picture, a song – and the feeling of fulfillment in this unearthing is very compelling, it pushes me to write about it, to share the bit of precious insight.

The people behind these inspiring lessons have done more than enough in being able to substantiate and illustrate the most difficult issues to explain. The matters that most of us fear to touch because we are unable to make sense of them, as doubt or apathy sometimes beleaguer us, are brilliantly portrayed by these people. So in my gratitude to them, to give their work due credit and to further the purpose of their creation, I pass them on to you.

One of the ingenuities I recently stumbled on is this short film about a new kind of revolution, narrated by Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, directed by Ian MacKenzie.

“This is not crazy. This makes sense. This is how to live.”

This second film is about the shift of civilization towards a world that is not oppressive but rather fosters a sustainable way of living.

“It is really up to us to determine at what point this wake-up point will happen.”

If you’re also searching for answers and seeking to learn more about life and the world around us, or perhaps pursuing the change you’ve been longing for, these sites might be of help: Curious, very curious

You cannot fight the world alone.

I see myself as a person of principle. All through the years growing up, I learned and tried to understand the world, the people… life. As I was aging, I picked up these ideas, these beliefs that molded me as a person and that I now stand up for. Maybe it was the way I was raised that made me like this – caring and not indifferent. I was taught not to be selfish, and right now I am not a fan of self-interest. I have always believed that we are given the opportunity to live not for own but for others, for a bigger purpose. As I am maturing, building up inside me is this feeling, this desire to change the world, to make it a better place. I want to make my life useful, to have an impact, to make a difference. I want to do so many things, sometimes it aches me that I can only do so much.

And in my absorption to this obsession, I didn’t realize that there are other people around me who were striving for the same causes, who are making noises louder than what I am making. I only had to be open to the world, open to others, to get into the crowd pushing for the changes I wanted to make. There are still a lot of apathetic people, but today I can see that more people are growing concerned for the society, for the environment, for a better and sustainable life.

I am only one person but I am not alone. Many are also fighting the same battle I am in. I know that now. In the midst the social, political, and environmental adversities in this muddled world, I still hold on to the hope for a better humanity. And if we continue to march, arm in arm, together towards the change we are aspiring for, and if we keep our hands and minds open to others who want to join in, we may have a chance of winning.

What is wrong with us, people?

We claim to know what’s happening in our world – pollution, climate change, global warming – but we do not truly understand these phenomena, this imminent doom of our own doing. Otherwise, we should have been putting all our efforts to even at least hold back our home’s rapid demise, but instead, we continue to run towards it. Maybe we really are just downright stupid.

I have just watched this mind-opening, heart-clenching and terrifying film/documentary called “The Age of Stupid” which was released way back in 2008.  It’s unbelievable that it didn’t get as much press as it should have in the Philippines, knowing that, in just an hour and a half, it explicitly defined our sad society and how it continues to build its eventual collapse.  Perhaps that just answered my disbelief: people didn’t want to face the truth. At the end of the film, I felt the urgent need to tell it to other people, to let them watch it as soon as possible, to let them feel that slap on the face, to let them hear that voice inside my head that says ‘we are doomed.’  So that maybe, there could still be that slightest, most minuscule possibility of saving humanity.

I just find it surprising that after so much effort, the final act of our existence should be suicide.

For centuries, mankind has always moved forward to seek progress and development, to build, to create, to improve, but all that growth has now taken its toll on our planet.  We strived to make our lives easier and better and but failed to take into account the consequences of a more convenient life. And now that the damage is more obvious than ever, we still keep on working and pushing for progress while shrugging off the drastic abnormal changes happening in our environment.  We feel the extreme heat and experience the harsh calamities, and then we pick ourselves up, resort to a quick fix, and we keep on going. We continue to turn forests into subdivisions, build concrete roads on mountains and put up malls on farms. All of these, along with us, just to be destroyed by the next hurricane or tsunami.

 

I think everyone in the future will perhaps blame us for not thinking to protect the environment. We knew how to profit but not to protect.

The cause of all this mayhem is greed, self-indulgence, or what is more accurately put as consumerism.  Maybe that’s why efforts toward ‘saving mother earth’ are so futile because, admit it, we are materialistic people. Society is trapped in a never-ending cycle of consumerism: businesses create demand for products = people want = companies manufacture = people buy = the products are used or broken = people throw them away = businesses create demand for new things… And the cycle goes on and on, and faster and faster. Then the earth suffers for all the waste and by-products that this process spits out.  The worst part of it all is that only a fraction of society gobbles up the wealth and power generated by this so-called progress, the very same people who started it all in the first place.  Now the poor are getting poorer and the working-class keep killing themselves to earn the money they spend for the latest i-phone or tablet, all proceeds going to those whose pockets are already full, and while everyone is busy, we keep on rolling towards dead end. This scene makes me wonder if we really are a learned and advanced society.

 

We wouldn’t be the first life form to wipe itself out, but what would be different about us is that we did it knowingly.

We hear the news, we watch documentaries/movies about the pressing issues of our planet, we learn segregating and recycling in school, we join a lot of environmental movements, we even make an effort to throw our trash in the proper bin. But this is not enough.  To create even a tiny dent to this enormous crisis that is upon us requires the entire humanity to cooperate.  Because we are so fast-approaching the peak of collapse, we cannot do anything to stop it. What we can only do right now is to slow it down. If we ever want this earth to survive, for future generations to live, we need to work together. We need radical action. And to know what to do, we need to stop shrugging off this problem, face it, learn about it, tell it to other people, not just a few, we need everyone. And we need to do it now. Immediately.

Now what does that say about us? The question I’ve been asking is: Why didn’t save ourselves when we had the chance? Is the answer because, on some level, we weren’t sure if we were worth saving?

 

*all statements in Bold font came from the film “The Age of Stupid.” You should watch it, it may be the first step.

[10/2012]