This is one beautiful but problematic world.
On the one hand, we’ve developed a robust society with ingenious technological and scientific advances which has spread information and resources to the deepest corners of our stunning planet. Smart, resourceful and energised, our species is now interconnected as a global culture and every human is a part of it, regardless of their race, culture and individual identity. As it should be, most humans are compassionate, caring and creative creatures too.
On the other hand, our communities are plagued with ill-health, inequality, manipulation and disconnection – consequences of ideological warfare and systemic dysfunction. In many ways, this is a pained planet.
A huge proportion of people still continue to suffer, both in developing and developed nations. With this in mind, what follows are 11 toxic realities we’re waking up about, together. This is more or less our current state of affairs, a status we have the shared responsibility to overcome.
1 .Ecological Degradation
The science is clear: our earth’s natural systems are out of balance which is at least partly due to high emissions of greenhouse gases, induced by human activity. We are in a severe ecological crisis where collectively we need to make choices which effectively neutralise the impact we have on the earth’s biosphere. In some recent research conducted in Australia, and published in the journal Nature, it is estimated through current projections that the earth’s temperature will rise four degrees Celsius by 2100.
There are many renewable energy alternatives. The technology of printing solar panels has significantly improved. Engines can run on salt water. Potential free or perpetual motion energy technologies are being suppressed. Infinite energy exists in vacuum space. A systemic transition from non-renewable energy to alternative energy, from centrally to locally owned producers, is therefore necessary for both ecological and economic reasons.
2. Wealth Inequality
We are subject to widespread systemic dysfunction, some of which are the ramifications of capitalistic and consumerist ideological frameworks. It simply “isn’t free market capitalism”, as is officially claimed. The free market is a myth, the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer. For the bankers and corporations, the system is highly successful, but for the majority of the world’s population, including our governments, it’s enslaving us to debt and is having a detrimental impact on our personal and collective health and wellbeing. The argument that increasing global wealth ensures that it will trickle down to the most disadvantaged just isn’t supported by the evidence, whilst the bank bailouts and the US economy in general has been called “socialism for the rich”.
For example, in 2014, the richest 85 people own as much wealth as 50% of the poorest people on our planet, a division which will continue to increase. Poverty is at around 15% in the US and Europe. According to UNICEF, around 22,000 children die each day from poverty, whilst nearly 50% of children across the globe are subject to it. Homelessness is also rampant in the developed world. The list goes on, which clearly illustrates that disadvantage and inequality are not being resolved, they’re getting worse. In fact, some of the money spent on the US military could easily solve world poverty.
3. Multinational Madness
Globalisation, meaning the deregulated operationalization of multinational organisations, are evading billions of dollars of tax each year, which impacts the sustainability of local economies and increases the elite’s financial wealth. For example, in 2010 a study indicated that the super-rich were hiding over 21 trillion dollars in secret tax havens. Free trade agreements are also incredibly wasteful because our resources are being transported around the world instead of being utilised locally.
A specific example is that many nations sell their food abroad and similarly buy around the same amount of their food from elsewhere too, simply because the system makes multinational products cheaper. In addition, our food is sucked of its life with high processing. This by itself should encourage us to eat fresh and local produce which is free from making us sick. For more see the documentary ‘The Economics of Happiness’.
4. Unequal Distribution of Power
The monopolisation of power, correlated with the monopolisation of wealth, is making the ethical fight for equality more challenging. Private banking institutions control the world’s economies. Multinational corporations, many of which are subject to the command of the banking families, have so much power that they not just influence, but control political decisions. It is also alleged that these power brokers, particularly from the US, have an agenda of a New World Order, which Russian President Putin addressed in his recent provocative speech.
Our media platforms are also controlled by the elite, enabling propaganda and distraction to be easily distributed throughout our societies and into our collective consciousness. For example, in the US 90% of the media – which includes Television, newspapers, magazines, radio and books – is owned by six corporations. This makes a growing proportion of society cynical when considering any information which is filtered through these mediums.
5. Military Misbehaviour
Over the centuries, war and colonisation has been an ugly necessity for the expansion of humanity across the globe and the unintentional but inevitable interconnection of our global culture. In our modern and supposably transparent era, the motives for war have come into question and many ordinary citizens are convinced that the official reasons outlined by government are not true. It is argued that the ‘War on Terror’ is a scapegoat for the acquisition of oil, which is unbelievable when we have alternative technologies available right now to satisfy our energy needs.
This might also be an acquisition of power, as maintaining elite power structures is alleged to be a further motive. In addition, World War III is claimed by some economists to be a naturally developing consequence of the current global economy, whilst the lies and manipulation of government has amplified the lack of trust that society has for those in authority. War is undeniably a sore talking point for many of the world’s citizens.
6. Depletion of Resources
Earth is a limited system, yet there is a political push to continue to ‘grow’. This generally means economic and therefore consumerist growth. Yet our resources are limited and overconsumption is impacting our environment and happiness. Currently, 7 billion people consume the earth’s natural resources and in a 12 month period it takes 18 months to reproduce those same resources. Ultimately, we’re running at around 150% of our sustainability threshold. Unless we change what and how we consume, our resources will run out and the political ideology of ‘continued growth’ is damagingly unsustainable.
7. Medicinal Mayhem
For several decades, or even longer, there has been a ‘War on Drugs’, or said another way, a war on altered states of consciousness. The prohibition of particular mind-altering substances has been institutionalised across the globe, including some of which have been proven to have clinical medicinal applications. One potential reason for this is some substances are unable to be patented as they are in the public domain, undermining the potential growth of pharmaceutical industry profits. Another is because psychedelic adventure is notorious for freeing minds. In any case, the war on drugs has arguably been the greatest policy failure in our postmodern world because it has created more social problems than solutions, including criminalising a health issue.
There are alternatives: this crippling social crisis needs to be immediately revolutionised through an educated and regulated market approach. In addition, the medicinal treatment of physical and mental illness has been monopolised by the pharmaceutical giants, who have been compared to the tobacco industry in terms of their unethical practices. Our population is also overmedicated, especially our kids. It has also been alleged that these multinational organisations would prefer customers, not cures, regardless if it means their death.
8. Education Gaps
The education system in western society is designed to produce productive economic citizens. Our kids are being lied to in many ways. There is also little focus on equipping our new generations with the creative, personal, emotional, social and life skills required to properly function and thrive in today’s society. Emotional and social skills are a “different way of being smart” and are extremely important for kids to learn at a young age.
Arguably, one of the biggest social issues influenced by not having a holistic approach to education is the significant mental health disorders in our society, which around 1 in 5 people in the US and elsewhere have in any given year. In addition, many parents are dissatisfied with the public education system which has translated into an increase in home schooling. Even Prince Charles thinks that schools don’t teach kids life skills.
9. Scientific Dogma
Science has been a dominating bearer of truth for a century or two because the model of observing, hypothesising, predicting, experimenting and concluding is an invaluable approach to ascertaining the reality of reality. In fact, even though mistakes are routinely made in science, it’s been so successful that the scientific orthodoxy have beliefs which have developed into arrogant and closed systems of thought. They assume they have found the core answers to the question of existence, but it is counter to evidence generated from many scientifically controlled studies.
The leading metaphysics within scientific dogma is called Materialism (or some variation of it), yet there are scientific realities which do not fit the materialist paradigm. There are many independent thinkers, both experts and laymen, who haven’t been subdued by the orthodox rhetoric, so it has created a lack of credibility for the scientific establishment due to it being hijacked by the fundamentalists. Unfortunately, not even science is working to its full potential.
10. Personal Unwell-being
Secularised society – a system in which government affairs are separated from religious institutions – has its advantages and disadvantages. Rationalistic and pragmatic approaches are important to a degree, as is individualism and the opportunity to choose what religious affiliation a person wants to have (if any), yet when we live in a society which worships money, material, image, ego and power, many individuals are left wondering ‘what is the point?’ Therefore, without an innate mechanism to engage mainstream society in metaphysical enquiry, a cultural existential crisis is an inevitable and destructive consequence.
People suffer from their personal existential crisis, whether they even know it or not. This is reinforced by children’s happiness in the UK being at an all-time low. The US, UK, and Europe were unhappier than their Latin American counterparts, not even ranking in the top 20 countries. There is an unnaturally high rate of suicide across the globe, in which three quarters of deaths occur in low to middle income families. Eight hundred thousand people kill themselves annually, which accounts for 1.4% of deaths worldwide. Moreover, between 10 and 20 million attempt it but not succeed. In the western world, over 1 in every 10,000 people die by suicide and in the US and Australia 20% are subject to both mental illness and addiction, which is similar in pattern across the western world.
11. Political Corruption
The democratic system is not democratic like it is meant to be. It’s a web of lies, manipulation, greed and corruption, with a lack of political representation of the real needs of the masses, including the removal of debt slavery. In fact, a recent Princeton university article which was published in the academic journal, Perspectives on Politics, has found that the US has lost its democratic eligibility and has fallen basically into an oligarchy. What this essentially means is that the democratic process has been overridden by a few powerful elite individuals. The public’s trust in the US government is at an all-time low, whilst they also believe that 75% of politicians are corrupt. Moreover, a highly dysfunctional aspect of current western politics is they embarrassingly avoid answering questions directly or truthfully. Our leaders lie.
A Reflection on Reality
In consideration of these leading social challenges, it’s seems unbelievable that this degree of global malfunction still exists, especially given the information, opportunities, technologies, skills, communication, collaboration, resources and moral character that we could use to alleviate it, right now.
No matter each individual’s philosophy on the nature of reality, most feel a calling to find love and peace for themselves and for their families and friends. That’s human spirit, and it will always be alive. The next step is that we all have the freedom, respect and resources to live side by side with our environment and each other.
So this is where we’re heading: as people change, paradigms change. Revolutions across multiple disciplines are inevitable, but when and how will they occur?
The Way Forward
Within the current debate, there are two potential options that are proposed for immediate implementation.
The first is to restore capitalism to its true and just form, an idea that is explored by 23 experts, including many senior economists and academics, in the multi-award winning documentary ‘Four Horseman’. In summary, it reports on “the destruction of the environment, the greed and incompetence of bankers, the corruption of democratic government, the origins of terrorism, the terminal nature of unrestrained capitalism and the spiritual death that is consumerism”.
The second is campaigned for by a few separate but somewhat parallel social movements. They are encouraging a scrapping of capitalism for a resource-based economy. Groups such as ‘The Venus Project’, ‘Zeitgeist’, ‘Anonymous’ and ‘Occupy’ all support an economic and political transformation so that our global allocation of resources is shared by all of the world’s people. They want radical and unifying change for our future, one without the holistic health issues of our current broken systems.
There are also social commentators which advocate this path, particularly the social engineer Jacque Fresco and comedian and activist, Russell Brand. Russell has a YouTube Channel called ‘The Trews’ and has just released his new book ‘Revolution’. He believes humanity needs to bind together to ensure political and economic change across our suffocating global society.
All these movements and individuals are aiming to wake us up so that we unite together to revolutionise our environmental and societal sustainability. They’re adamant that we live in a world where the dysfunction described above is resolved and the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual vitality of every human being is cared for and developed.
That’s a reality that we all need to help create.
3 Reasons Why Introverts Are Undervalued in Today’s Society
It’s undeniable that our society favors assertive extroverted personalities with strong communication skills and underestimates the quiet ones. If you are an introvert, you have probably learned it the hard way.
It could be that you felt unseen in the classroom as a child or teen. Or you may have watched your less competent co-workers get a promotion thanks to their social skills.
It feels unfair, but if you think about our society, it makes perfect sense. The consumerist mindset that has become our second nature inevitably affects the way we treat other people. It seems that everything, including our personal qualities and worth as human beings, is translated into some kind of market value.
In other words, to make other people see your worth in personal or professional life, you need to be able to ‘sell yourself’. Yes, this expression alone tells it all.
You need to know how to make a good first impression, say the right things, and be assertive. If you can’t do it, you are perceived as incapable and uninteresting – whether we are talking about a job interview or an informal social gathering.
But it’s not the only reason why introverts are undervalued in our society. Here are a few more:
1. They are less efficient in teamwork
Communication and teamwork skills are required for all kinds of jobs. It seems that without being able to work in a team, it’s impossible to do your job even if your duties don’t involve interaction with clients.
Introverts are much more efficient when they work on their own and are given a certain extent of independence. They thrive in quiet environments with few distractions and interactions. This is when a quiet person gets the chance to unleash their creative self and make good use of their analytical skills.
Most office jobs don’t give employees this opportunity. Office meetings, group projects, phone calls and all the other attributes of a 9-to-5 job make it almost impossible for an introvert to be productive.
2. They don’t like to be in the spotlight
Sometimes it feels like we are living in a society of attention seekers. Today, you are expected to go public about the most personal matters, such as your relationship and family life.
People share their most intimate thoughts and feelings on social media, post updates about the most trivial events, such as what they had for dinner, and upload countless selfies.
Introverts are among those who still value privacy. They are less likely to showcase their lives online or share the details of their personal affairs with the whole world.
At the same time, the quiet ones don’t like to be in the spotlight at social events. An introvert will never interrupt you. They will listen to you and talk only when they have something important to say. This tendency to avoid attention can be mistaken for insecurity and even a lack of intelligence.
3. They prefer to be real than to be ‘nice’
If you want to make a good impression on others, you are expected to be nice. But what does it mean to be ‘nice’ anyway?
In an introvert’s mind, it equals saying things you don’t mean. Quiet personalities will never bombard you with compliments or say meaningless social pleasantries just to win your fondness. But if an introvert said something nice to you, then be sure that they truly meant it.
Small talk is another component of social relationships most introverts struggle with. To them, it embodies utterly dull, uncomfortable, and pointless conversations they can perfectly do without. For this reason, introverts are often mistakenly believed to hate people.
The truth is that they don’t – they just crave stimulating, meaningful conversations and choose their social circle more carefully than extroverts.
In my book, The Power of Misfits: How to Find Your Place in a World You Don’t Fit In, I write about the reasons why so many introverts feel inadequate and alienated from other people in today’s society. It all goes down to social expectations this personality type has to deal with from a very early age.
But the good news is that every introvert can overcome the negative effects of these expectations and find the right path in this loud, extroverted world.
The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix
More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.
One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.
Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.
What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?
Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.
What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?
Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.
The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening
With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.
You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.
Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies
Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.
The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.
The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.
This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.
Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.
Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”
To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.
This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.
In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.
There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.
Wake Up Neo — You Are the One
Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.
Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”
This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.
By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.
If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?
All my work is open source and I encourage it to be reproduced. I only ask that you give me credit, and include links to follow me — as listed in the EXACT FORMAT above — in an effort to help me build a formidable following of people truly intent on learning and creating positive change. If you are not willing to do that, you are NOT permitted to use my work.
This Clever & Controversial Artwork Will Help You Think Deeper About Society
True artists are what I view as the antithesis of entertainers…
You see, an entertainer is concerned with popular opinion and giving the public what it wants to see. They intoxicate us with mindless amusements to help us escape reality and the everyday stresses of life. But artists, on the other hand, they give us what we need to see; by challenging us to to think deeper about the nature of reality, and the society in which we live, and they do this through the transcendent language of art.
With that said, I decided to collect some of the most thought provoking artwork from around the internet and offered my own little commentary on them…
Some people are hungry for food — Some people are just hungry for attention/Artist credit: Sergio Ingravalle
We are all so blinded by our ignorance and rage, that while we blame each other for our mutual struggles like fools, we’re ultimately getting screwed by the same elitists/Artist Credit: Lubomir Arsov
Despite what they might say, most people don’t actually want to see a reflection of reality — and therefore the Truth — Most people just want to see a narrow minded illusion that comforts their sensitive ego and impulsive feelings/Artist credit: Angel Boligán Corbo
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” — Attributed to Pericles/Artist credit: Mana Neyestani
Is Facebook really fighting fake news or are they engaging in authoritarianism and censorship?/Artist credit: Luis Quiles
In a society as toxic as ours — where a climate of hatred, ignorance and fear insidiously infects the bulk of the population — In order to safeguard our health and wellbeing, we must stay connected to whatever it is that gives us an authentic sense of peace/Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)
In spite of overwhelming historical evidence proving powerful people have engaged in child sex abuse, and it occurs in the shadows of every element and class of society, many of us pretend not to see, which is a shameful betrayal of our children/Artist credit: Lubomir Arsov
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” — Attributed to John F. Kennedy/Artist credit: Mana Neyestani
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All my work is open source and I encourage it to be reproduced. I only ask that you give me credit, and include my social media profiles — as listed in the EXACT FORMAT above — in an effort to help me build a formidable following of people truly intent on learning and creating positive change. If you are not willing to do that, you are NOT permitted to use my work.
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