Many people who know me, consider me to be abnormally fortunate. They call me Mr. Magoo, implying that I experience nothing but good luck. I think on some level this is true; because I try to follow my bliss and let small things slide off of me, I give the appearance of someone for whom things always work out. They ignore the fact that I’m being audited and facing insurmountable debt or that the years 2009-12 almost destroyed my marriage and myself and succeeded in destroying parts of my soul. Because I always seem to get by, these people assume that I don’t bother myself with worrying about money and other common problems.
There are a few people in the world who have billions upon billions of dollars. They can live their lives confident that they will never have money problems. There will never be a bill that they can’t pay, never an opportunity lost for lack of funds. They will never (assuming no world revolution occurs) go hungry or cold, or die for lack of insurance. The overwhelming majority of us are not so lucky. We need pieces of dyed cotton in order to have a roof over our heads, put food in our stomachs, and do the other things we need to do in order to survive. For many people, me included, this leads to almost constant panic. What if I lose my job? What if I get really sick? What if my house burns down? And so on. Although I may not show it on the surface, I lay awake some nights worrying about money. Luckily, I’ve learned to live with less, otherwise I think I may be in a mental institution (or, since I can’t afford insurance, probably living on the streets). Most of us are taught to be capitalists. Since one of the most important rules of Capitalism is constant growth, we believe we must constantly grow our material possessions. We will make barely enough money to pay for our apartment and car, but as soon as we get a raise, we will upgrade both of these, or maybe buy a big screen TV or new dinette set on credit. This is the society we live in, where we are constantly being told we need more, more, more and it’s hard not to fall for it.
This means that potentially productive members of society are forced to not only work a job that they probably don’t like, but also figure out other ways to make money. Despite the ups and downs, more and more people invest their money in this crazy invention called the stock market. Do people invest in companies they believe in, of course not. There are millions of people who dislike bankers, big pharma, or oil companies, but know that if they invest their money in one of these industries, they will make a profit. Do we know what happens to our money when we open a savings account or a CD? Nah, cause it isn’t important. All that matters is whether or not we have more money next month than we have this month. What does it do to a person’s psyche to constantly race with these decisions?
When I look at these problems rationally and try to come up with a realistic solution, I end up back at the same place I always end at- a world where we know and work with our neighbors. It’s amazing how much a loving and meaningful relationship can fill a void that no amount of money or ‘stuff’ can come close to filling. If we simplified our lives we would be able to work less. If we worked less, we would have more time to get together with our neighbors and organize. If we were able to get with our neighbors and organize, we could start producing things like food, clothing, and other things we need all by ourselves.
If we were able to even slightly head towards this type of community (call it communism, anarchism, or whatever you’d like) the facade of capitalism would slowly fade away. We would use less oil because we wouldn’t be commuting to work. We would stop putting poisonous food into our bodies because we would be more involved in producing it. Most importantly, we would stop taking these hard, disgusting drugs pushed upon us by big pharma and the rest of the rulers because we would feel that lifelong void finally begin to be filled. Maybe we would even stop bothering to go to the polls and vote.
As usual, I got the idea (and probably stole most of the material) for this blog from this blog by Bruce Levine.