Systems create evil actions by preventing skepticism.
“It’s been difficult to see humans as anything other than selfish, greedy, environmentally destructive parasites. There’s strong evidence wealth equality increases environmental conservation, but it seems like we’ll never have either one. I don’t want to eat the rich, I don’t even care to be rich, I just want care for the environment and people.” — Corinne Davis
I spent a lot of years thinking the same things about people. When you have a lot of time driving and working alone and failing at stuff where nobody can see it and burn you down for it, you can allow yourself to realize how much human behavior is habitual and conditioned, especially your own.
Comedian Dave Maleckar wrote, “People do shit. They have reasons for doing shit; in that order.”
Blaming people for their failings as though they intended to be destructive or mean is one of the ‘features’ that have emerged in competition-based society. We elect bullies because we have systems that favor bullies, but then we blame the bullies for being bullies. We live organically, but blame ourselves as though we should be perfect machines. Responsibility has become a way to blame, rather than a way to evaluate our response ability.
Corinne is right: It is VERY difficult to see people as anything other than the ‘sinners’, ‘deplorables’, ‘consumers’ etc who ‘choose’ to follow what turns out to be the easiest path through their woods. It is especially difficult to see people as creative, generous and friendly when our language and media focus on problems and mistakes, increasing perception of complexity, fear and strife when cooperation and incremental successes could just as easily be promoted.
We should always look at people as part of their whole environment, and the environment we create for ourselves and others is the prime factor driving behaviors. Rarely do people intentionally build a closed community that is sustainable. Only cooperative and open interactions thrive over generations. Self-ish, protective and fearful communities always either burn from the inside out or they become a target of suspicion and desire for anyone outside their walls.
Humanity is on the verge of learning some very very difficult lessons, so I’m trying to cut us all some slack. We need to be response abled, and that takes a combination of skills, resources, time and cooperation with the environment and each other. We’re all getting shorter on time and resources.
Between technology (agriculture, civilization) and numbers, human animals and our artificial environments float downstream along the rivers of Time and resources.
Systems we take for granted (money, weather, energy, politics, education) are just beginning to be affected by past human behaviors. Up until now, humans could pursue any random want and not question the long term effects of our choices because our sins were washed downstream to the Future at the bottom of the approaching waterfall.
This is really only the beginning of the first real test of human intentionality. Passing the test will require cooperation on a scale that nations and peoples have never before contemplated. Collapse demands that humans learn not to just make alliances of convenience, but to break down walls and abandon traditional, highly profitable systems of superficial competition in favor of deep, cooperative, active future-protecting behavior. It sounds impossible, but then, so does the Platypus.
We live in interesting times. Let’s try to live with awareness that living is what people do, not what systems should be doing to us without our awareness or consent, and those who are stuck in the gears shouldn’t be blamed for jamming your frequency.