It might be odd to say and seemingly unconnected, but when I consider what’s happening on Wall Street, or the halls of government, or the streets of any number of cities across the world, I can’t help but think back to our missions to the moon in the 60’s.
We had a clear goal, a common purpose and yes, it was for the wrong reasons (beating the commies into the 21st century, global superiority, etc) but I like to believe that some piece of every human felt good about doing something so exceedingly evolutionary, so extraordinary, that for one brief second it woke us out of our day to day existence, shook the foundations of all our belief structures and told our collective subconscious “we can do more.”
Because we can. As Bucky Fuller pointed out, we have the technology and capability to feed, clothe, house and provide for every human being on the planet our most basic needs. But instead of doing so, we buy into a belief of scarcity, of hoarding, of fear of losing what little we have. The half percent that sits high atop Reagan’s shining city on a hill is still human, and they’re still afraid too. Sure, they’ve been corrupted by years of power, wealth and gluttony, but they’re still human. We’re all still human. Our hearts still beat, we still yearn for better lives and still want what’s best for each other.
The central tenet of the current hypercapitalist argument is that without a reward, usually a fiduciary award, there would be no progress forward. Looking at the great accomplishments of history, I find that hard to believe. If we can put a man on the moon with duct tape and the technological equivalent of a commodore 64, we can find a way to pull the whole world out of the mess it’s in. We don’t need an evil empire to show up, we don’t need fear, we don’t need some failed idea of providing for ourselves or our family. We simply need to realize that value doesn’t lie in a collection of resources or monuments to kings and presidents, or goals given by a failed misinterpretation of Gordon Gekko. Value lies in looking past history, through the present and forward to the future and saying “we can do better” – not for our own personal gain, but for the betterment of humanity.
To quote the words of one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers, Bill Hicks:
“…it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.
Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”