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.