Imagine a machine that would give you everything you could want, materially: a nice car, a nice house, all the food you can eat and endless entertainment. However, making use of it means cutting a millimeter of your body away every day. You’d get to use anesthetic so that it doesn’t hurt, but that little bit has to be cut away each day.
You could go on for quite some time like that and not even feel it. But eventually, those cuts start going into your vital organs and the things you need to stay alive. Our civilization is this machine. It sounded like a good idea at first, because we couldn’t see or feel what was being cut away. But now we know that this way of doing things has a finite life span. It can’t be sustained indefinitely.
Our comforts come at the cost of finite resources and we will eventually run out of them. They also often cost us our humanity because some of those resources are the freedoms and lives of other people. What comforts we have are at the expense of sweatshops, industrial agriculture, child labor, habitats, cultures, slavery, clearcutting, war, etc.
This interconnection of the oppression and exploitation of humanity and earth with our comforts and amenities and lifestyle is something that is not pointed out to us. Those who run this machine will simply take and take until they die and another group of soulless, greedy bastards take their place. Eventually, their money and power will prove useless to repair the damage. This machine will eventually kill our species, unless we either dismantle it or walk away.
Whatever we do, the same truth remains: this current way of life is killing everything that makes it possible for us to live. What we do with that information is up to us.
Civilization sounded like a really good idea for a long time. The problem is that we let ourselves believe that it’s the only way to do things and most people don’t even realize that we still have options. For a little while.
© 2015 William Suphan
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- What is “This System” That I Talk About?