An odd metaphysical thought (re)occurred to me last night while reading some of the day’s news stories. Maybe a contributing reason to why it feels like we’re experiencing more trouble in the world is because we’re actively wishing for it. Think about it for a second. There are now huge chunks of the economy (hedge funds, short selling, etc.) that thrive only if other people suffer. Other people have to lose in order for you to win, so you hope and wish for their failure. You root for others’ setbacks and misery to advance your own profits or goals. You hope the corn crop is a bust so that your shorting the commodity pays off.
It’s not just limited to the money. We’re getting in the habit of actively wishing harm on others. We actively wish misfortune on other points of view, other beliefs. Think about it. Weapons manufacturers hopes for increased violence to sell product (as long as it’s not their product). Politicians demonize victims to advance their own legislation. Our politics are more about putting the other guy/gal/party/ideology down than they are promoting what we believe in, so much so that we define candidates by what they oppose instead of what they support. How insane is that? We now value leaders based on how they’ll set back progress! (as long as it’s not the progress we want)
We’re so busy telling people who oppose our views that they’re doing it wrong trying to climb the mountain towards success that we fail to realize we’re all trying to go to the same general destination – happy home, happy family, happy business, happy community, happy spirits. Some people are so lost that they spend all their time trying to push other people down the mountain rather than focusing on their own climb.
The wonderful thing about a (mostly) capitalist society is this: you can choose what you socially support by choosing what you economically support. If you think that a news organization has done appalling things to boost their ratings, then never turn that channel on, never mention them in social media, and support competitors of their advertisers. If you think a culture of sports is the problem, then withdraw your support from them and their advertisers. If a company or organization does something good, does something constructive, then reward them with your business. Be especially vigilant about rewarding people of opposing viewpoints when they do something that’s good – recognize that even in your differences, we all share the same common hopes and dreams.
Most of all, swear by this simple mantra, this simple expression:
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.
That is our collective path to freedom, if we only have the sense to take it. You have the power in the choices you make every day.
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Great post . . . this “habit” is apparent in the art world also; artists negatively critiquing the work of other artists in the same medium and artists of one medium putting down the work of artists in other mediums. A supportive and constructive approach is far more productive and beneficial to all! Well said Mr. Penn!